So you’re going to write a year end review……..

Dec 30, 2017 | Rambling, Small Business, Social Media

As the title would suggest – a year end review. I have started this piece a few times and trashed each one. One was too technical. One was too emotional. One just wasn’t clicking. All that tells me is this needs to remain unedited. So you get what you get…….in no particular order.

2017 was weird on a lot of fronts. On a personal level I found myself making peace with a lot of “things that go bump in the night” – those things that, when you should be sleeping, tend to come and cause more questions and angst. From a poorly paraphrased conversation with Atanas Entchev I once said “It’s not personal it’s just business” and he remarked back “It’s all personal – it’s your business”. So there was much reckoning on the business front and I started acting more like an entity that makes money. 2016 was the year I learned to say no and 2017 was the year I looked at a job for two things: income potential and how much difference would it make in the world. Some prospective clients were told no. It was just that easy. No. Some jobs where there was only going to be “break even” potential did get work done because their mission was too great to be ignored. I also separated myself a bit more from the business. Randy made an appearance. Randal stayed at work.  I did completely miss another work anniversary where I should have went “Woooooooo 11 years in business”…..

On the personal side of life it was a bit brutal.  A good friend of mine just up and died. So I found myself in the pouring rain one day in April standing outside his house as he was wheeled out in a body bag. No final joke. No:

“Hey we need to get you to a hospital”
A Hospital…. what is it?
“It’s a big building with patients but that’s not important right now.”

Anyway – I’ve been working with his girlfriend attempting to get things wrapped up. Death is a messy business if you don’t have a plan for it. I knew people that suddenly passed – but never someone that didn’t have at least a clue something wasn’t right. He just went to sleep. I also found myself questioning every bodily function after he died. I burp and “Oh man – I’ve never burped at 8:36 PM – I wonder if that’s a sign I’m about to die”.

One family member had multiple surgeries. So many in fact we had to have “the talk”. The talk where you are the executor because it can get messy if the surgery doesn’t go as planned. The executor – because you are the one guy that doesn’t let emotions get in the way to make a decision. Which isn’t entirely true – BUT…….hey no one reads this blog in my family.

All of that really left me (if you bounce up a few paragraphs to the personal part) going “What the hell am I doing?”.  Some self examination is good for the soul. There was a lot of that. A lot. A lot of changes. Some say I got less grouchy. Some say I got more grouchy. Eh – maybe a little bit of both. Overall I am trying more. Trying what? To be better. Mom tossed her #metoo moment out one day. So for those who go “man everyone is a bit touchy these days”. I will agree – but – sit with your mom and have that talk. So changes. Lots of changes.

I did wrap up in July the “year of Canoeing”. So I had to be in my canoe for at least an hour a month for a year. If I got out once I knew I’d stay out for 3 or 4 or more hours. I did it. It wasn’t easy but I did it. This year? Ride my very old mountain bike in one new place a month. So I expect a road trip or a few as a peddle around the area. Maybe I get a new bike.

On the work side of life – I made the decision to remain off any boards of any Geo related things and instead throw my energy into QGIS. Why? I like the community. I enjoy the software. So I’m going to do my best to integrate more and support the project and spread the word. To that end I started working on writing a plugin a few days ago. I know what I want to do. I’ve got a decent enough understanding of Python to make it happen…so Why Not? I also found myself neck deep in postgis. I finally “get it” – and so I’ve been just enjoying that piece of software. Wrote my first nested sql statement and had it run “first time”. I was so excited I accidentally deleted the entire directory where the script was sitting and had to re-write it. Nothing like a plan. On another side note – I had to use ArcGIS multiple times this year at a client’s location. What did I learn from that: 20 something years of using the software and I still can sit down an just start using it when I haven’t touched it in half a year.

With the help of several we have QGS.US back up and running. I need to work on that more in the next few weeks. I’m inspired and want to have an event of some sort centered around QGIS.

I did hold a “foss4g” mini event in Knoxville. It went better than I’d hoped for – except for the financial end. I gotta work on “Make sure things are paid for”….but – worth it. I held it. I started a small thing. We’re doing it again in 2018 – I just have to figure out “when”.  Show up if you can.

I ended up on a massive road trip to Boston to the FOSS4G event there. I can’t say enough good things about that. I met people. I talked. I got to meet some long time “heroes” in the FOSS4G world. It was a week of wearing myself out. Boston FOSS4G committee – thank you for the event. It was massive. It was fun.

I also started “rebuilding” the QGIS class after a year off. I’m three chapters in to having a QGIS 3.0 class. New exercises. New Data. New Pricing Scheme. What would that be? I have no clue as of yet but I’m aiming for organizations because that’s the only time I have success in training. Read above where I covered “income”. But do remember “make a difference”. I’ve toyed for doing the class for a small donation also just to upset the apple cart.

So what did we learn this year kids?

  • Life is short – make a difference
  • Love your neighbor even if don’t subscribe to any major religious institution that yells that concept.
  • The past is the past – it’s isn’t going anywhere but you are.
  • Get involved in the Open Source Side of life kids – if you aren’t you are missing out. You may not get the chance to use it at work. Use it at home. Load Linux. Load QGIS. Contribute. Write documentation.
  • Do one kind thing a day.
  • Read Geohipster!

Get busy – 2018 is coming.


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