A Sentimental look at 2009

This has been a fun year. Fast. Its zipped by. Things have happened, some good, some bad. I've been absent from this blog for a lot of them. Circumstances have changed. Attitudes have changed. So, what am I blathering about. 

  • Two very good friends had live changing operations this year. One to free him from crippling spinal pain, and one to stop memory-eating epileptic attacks. Both have recovered far more than anyone thought, and both seem to have regained a far better quality of live. Both have walked through the vale of tears, and I'm really happy they're not there anymore. Life doesnt get much better.
  • A very old friend lost his wife. He and his teenage son have been through hell this year. 
  • Next to these my own medical travails pale into insignificance. Morbid obesity is a lifestyle choice, and one borne of lack of control. I already have the tools to fix this. I need to extract digit on this. 
  • This year I threw myself back into working for a single customer for an extended period of time on a really complex project. And although all the signs were that I'd hate it - finance, City of London, Domino code, compliance environment - as usual, I was wrong. The team is fantastic, the work is good, if someone mindbending at times. Matt White and Andy Harris worked on a lot of this code, and its amazing stuff. Awesome in fact. I bow in their general direction, whilst of course filling my pockets with gold.
  • This year I cut down dramatically on conferences. You see, what a lot of people (especially IBM) fail to recognise, is that folks who stand on stage and pontificate on subjects dear to their hearts, usually do it at their own cost. Even a stage-pass for Lotusphere only gets you in for free. And for the last five years, I've been so busy preparing my stuff for stage, I've not actually seen anything else of the conference. I've actually been spending thousands of pounds actually running around supporting a multi-billion pound company, who for a number of good reasons and a few bad ones, feel that they dont have to support Domino ISV's. Does this make sense to you?
    Self-funding conferences, whilst good from a product marketing point of view, are bad from a finance point of view. In a shrinking domino market, with IBM doing no direct marketing of Lotus here in the UK - something had to give. In my case, it was my health, my mortgage, and almost my marriage.
    So I took a self-imposed break from conferences, only really supporting UKLUG and being dragged back to Lotusphere.
    Do I like it ? I miss some of the fun - but I don't miss not having a single walking moment in my life, and I don't miss the continuous deadline creep. I listen to my very intelligent and hard working friends sweating blood and tears over their presentations, and don't miss that a bit.
    Will I present again ? Possibly. 
  • This year, I've blogged far less. I'm still doing amazing technical things, but the day job and the other day job at HADSL are my prime focus now. 
  • The Marykirk Raft race consumed a lot of time over the summer, and for my sins, I've been voted Chair this year. This is a monumental task, and requires huge amounts of diplomacy.
    Okay. Stop laughing. No. Really.
    Yeah. I'm learning new skills here. Its a huge amount of fun, and far far easier juggling the complete nutcases I had to deal with in a previous committee position.
  •  I moved blogs. Why ? Well, I needed to crank up Notes to create a blog entry on my somewhat customised/broken version of Blogsphere. And its difficult to get network access if your mobile broadband and iPhone provider - are complete crap. Its getting better, but in the meantime, I thought it best to learn some new technologies. 
    Squarespace rocks. I've only really scratched the surface so far, but I'm really happy with it. It costs money - but so what.  
  • I went walking with some good friends around the craggy bits near Port Rush in Northern Ireland, and really liked it. More of this 'walking and talking' crap will happen, I'm sure of it. I badly need to get fitter, and this will be one major component in my new regime.
  • Far more leisure time will happen next year. Far too little of this happened this year.

And next year?

  • I learn how to migrate major league (huge) domino applications into the Dot-net arena, get my C# back up to speed, certify myself in MS SQL and suchlike. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get away from Domino anytime soon - but until IBM take Domino seriously here in the UK, I cant rely  on it for my future.
  • Far more motorcycling fun, and far more use of the Bankside Gym. You'll see far more of me pounding the riverbanks of the North Esk too.
  • Far easier travel. I intend to install a rail-gun in my garden capable of launching me (in a batsuit) over 500 miles to the London office. Not only will this be eco-friendly, but it means I'll never have to travel via London Gatwick airport, nor London Bridge station ever again. 

So yeah. Out with the old, in with the new.

I wish you, my patient reader, a very Merry Christmas, and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!