2015 in review

09 January 2016 Tagged: misc

In December I decided that starting to write year in review posts each year would be a cool way to look back and check how productive I was during the year, and if I manage to do this for more than a year it’ll at least be fun to get a local perspective on the past when I’m older. The thing is that writing this in December seemed wrong so I left it to January, and then put it off without any reason. Anyway, let’s do this.

I had a dissertation to write and a bunch of free time. I had done most of my work for my masters dissertation, but I needed to write the actual document, and was trying to avoid adding more features to the actual work because I wanted to wrap it up and start looking forward to getting a job. So I got more serious about refreshing some algorithms and working on some white board type problems. Historically I’ve sucked at these, being able to complete most of them but taking more time than it seemed that they should take but I thought that was what I needed to do and I guess it wouldn’t hurt my chances to practice them.

In the beginning of January I went to a Snowtrip to Andorra with some friends. I managed to hurt both my knees due to trying to ride harder than I should at first but I never slowed the pace and think it was worth it. The trip was the expected 10/10 that snowboarding is except for the 19 hour bus trip. After resting for a couple of days, I went off to Disneyland Paris with my girlfriend for a whole week. I consider it the best week of my life so far. Everything was magical and perfect like it should be. So that was great.

In the end of February I went to Sinfo which is a student organized event in my university which had a hackathon weekend that I participated in. There were multiple challenges available, made by different companies. I chose to go with Unbabel’s challenge, which had a pretty sweet prize, plus I had an idea for an integration, plus I thought I could get a summer internship out of it. I ended up placing second, which still got me to go surfing with Unbabel plus an internship in the summer. I also liked a lot of the talks I got to see. There were also a lot of company booths around so I did some looking and talking but nothing really got me interested.

Some time after that someone put me in contact with this guy who works at Google and was an alumni and I guess he got a bonus if he could get someone hired so he put my CV in and I practiced some more algorithms things because that’s how those interviews go. I ended up doing two rounds with them but in the end I think me being nervous coupled with not being able to jot things down when I was thinking made that stop at that stage.

In April I went to Miami with my godfather, which was loads of fun. I made us go to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral which took almost a whole day but we almost managed to see some cool reptiles at the Everglades and a bit of Miami itself which is interesting. I got a lot of good memories from Kennedy Space Center, and saw some really cool things. I bought a poster of a shuttle launch, and a t-shirt. And we missed a Space X launch by a couple of hours.

I interviewed at a couple of places for different types of positions, and got a couple offers but at around May I was talking with the Unbabel guys and we mutually decided that if I was going to start working somewhere after the internship, I might as well start working there. Plus they were going to migrate off of Heroku and into AWS and had nobody who had experience with System Administration or DevOps things and since I had the computer lab experience I could instantly be the owner of that project. But I had to start working in July instead of September. It was a no brainer, and I decided that my dissertation was much less important than what I would learn doing that by myself. The work itself has been great and I’m responsible for the whole infrastructure, deployments, maintenance of all the servers and services we have. I also do a bunch of programming on the core applications when features are needed, but mostly to optimizing slow things. I like doing the systems and operations thing a lot though and I’m thinking I’ll steer my career more in that direction.

When the summer was wrapping up I started waking up at 6:30 to work on my dissertation before work because time was ticking and so those were some interesting weeks. After presenting my dissertation in front of a lot of my friends and my parents (there was a jury in there too), I maintained the schedule but started waking up at 6:45 to go to the gym before work. I’ve been feeling great doing that and hope I can maintain the habit going forward (doing it for almost 3 months now).

After the summer and meeting a lot of cool people one of the summer interns there asked me to talk about our usage of Ansible and AWS at a tech event he organizes in Coimbra so I also gave my first tech talk this year. The city is also quite beautiful and I found my favorite restaurant so far, Zé dos Ossos. Was a cool weekend with the girl.

I had an idea for a python package based on the way you call Fabric scripts which I open-sourced and received a couple of stars in github, and after that a startup idea which I’m still working on (I think the name is awesome).

Unrelated to school or work, I’ve been practicing the Olympic lifts for more than a year now and I feel like my technique grew a lot during this year and improved my 1RM’s consistently so that was great. Also started working out with my dad when I go home like once a month in a crosstraining box which is always great fun. There were also two races I went to, one in Algarve with my dad and some people from that box and another in Cascais. Both of them were those types of 10-15 km obstacle, mud, climb shit races. They’re fun. We do surf at Unbabel (weekly before, now twice a month) and I can do a little of it but I still can’t turn on the waves and don’t have a good feel for the sea, it’s hard to improve with the frequency we go but I think I’ll eventually go on a surf trip to really try and improve. It is great fun nevertheless, I always have a blast and afterwards I’m really tired.

I read very little this year, a mixture of dissertation, work, gym, and programming put it lower in my list of priorities which is a shame. I did started listening to podcasts on my to/from work and I went through the whole of the roman history and a couple of python programming and DevOps podcasts just with half an hour a day. I should improve on the reading part.

That’s most of what I remember from this year. It was a cool year with a lot of new things.