Review of the Year – 2008

Well what a year it’s been. As usual, the blog pretty much revolves around my professional life, but as time goes on the line between work and play gets ever more blurred. A lot of my best friends are people I am working with, have worked with in the past or are part of the Lotus community. The internet has really revolutionised that side of my life

2008 has been a year of change and continuous work, but in a good way. Until May I was still contracting, which in conjunction with the IdeaJam development work meant I was really doing insane hours. By May I was pretty much exhausted and decided that I should give “proper” consulting a go. It is without doubt the best decision I have made since leaving my “permie” life back in 2000. Life is so much more fun now, I get to choose when and, to a large extent, where I work. Coding has never been such fun! There is no way I could have taken the leap without the support of lots of friends who have been kind enough to pass work my way. Gradually I am building up a nice collection of clients. Financially things are a lot tougher than contracting but I am really going to try and hang onto this lifestyle as long as I possibly can.

At the same time as finishing the contract, preparation for ILUG started in earnest. It was such good fun to be more involved this year with the bigger venue, more attendees and all of the work that entailed. I happened to be looking in Flickr at all of the ILUG 2008 photos yesterday, there’s over 600 pictures up there that record a really great few days back in June. It was also the first time I’ve done any public speaking since back in university days, terrifying but bizarrely good fun. It was that experience along with UKLUG later in the year that persuaded me to make more of an effort with the speaking in 2009.

Talking of which, UKLUG continues to grow and improve. It has a lot of the same spirt as ILUG, thanks to largely the same people being involved in the organisation (not forgetting the incredible Turtles). The big difference is that Warren and Kitty do a whole lot more of the work. The next UKLUG should be bigger and better again, with planning already under way. The various Skype chats never shut down and continue to add to the incriminating evidence against each of us involved. 🙂

The rest of the year has really disappeared into various different projects for clients doing some really cool techie stuff and some blasts from the past. I hadn’t done any “proper” Notes client work for probably ten years but found it surprisingly good fun to do some again. But as ever most of my work revolves around web development, web services and reams of Javascript. Of course IdeaJam has been the constant throughout the year. We’re gradually building a product to be really proud of. Out on the public site you see the pretty front end bits that Bruce is so good at designing, but I would estimate that more than half of our time is spent working on the back end to make the application easy to install, look after and support. 2009 certainly looks like it’s going to be an exciting year on the *Jam front.

Setting aside the work element of life which seemed all consuming at various points throughout the year. I did manage to get some travelling in this year with trips to Florida (of course), New York, Dublin (with stops in Edinburgh and Belfast along the way), Amsterdam and Belgium. Not as much as I would like but something has to give in the battle between life and work.

And that is really the theme of the year. I suspect that a lot of people would find my year intolerable; where’s the relaxation? The mythical “work/life” balance? This is, from my point of view anyway, the joy of being a developer, I can spend most of my time doing something I love and make a living with it. Long may it continue.

I hope you, dear reader had as good a 2008 as you could hope and that 2009 brings nothing but good health and happiness.

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