Dec 30 2011

It’s Not the Critic Who Counts: 2011 Part 1

Published by jfrank at 3:23 pm under magnolia, open source, python

This has been a big year for me. So big that you all get a year-end recap of it because you are here, reading my blog. Except it’s too big to write in one post. So if you didn’t think you were going to get personal stuff mixed in to this mostly tech blog, now is the time to unsubscribe.

One of my favorite quotes is this:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat – Roosevelt

What this means to me is that I am getting comfortable not with success, but with failure. And with failure, slowly, haltingly, comes some measure of success.

cloud surfing

At the beginning of 2010 at my job at Mentor I enjoyed moving some more systems to AWS from an acquisition’s internal server farms. I closed out six years at Mentor; an excellent chapter in my life that I was sad to see end. I miss my co-workers, and agree with Barney “Twitter is such a poor excuse for seeing them every day.”  When I put my notice in, most were happy for me, some could hardly believe what I was doing. Others didn’t actually believe that I did not have a position to go to at another safe corporation. They kept asking what my real plan was, and I kept replying: “I’m taking a year off to study, to grow, to try new things.”

Technologies used: Bash, Railo, AWS API’s, Python

life changes. no really it does!

quit my job in March,
moved out of down town in June,
rented a big old house a week later,
became a foster parent in July,
and enrolled as a fake student at PSU.

it slices, it dices. well no, actually it only slices.

I had a poor experience with a cloud dashboard company and built as a response. It makes snapshots for AWS volumes on a schedule. So simple. Happy dance. It broke even almost immediately, and although it doesn’t make tons of money, there is a lot of room here for growth. A customer is asking to pay for me to develop new features for it currently so I may revisit it and roll out new things. I wanted to build this as compartmentalized as possible. One of my design goals was that the front end know as little as possible about the backing AWS services as it could. So it talks exclusively to the middle python tier, even though it is powerful enough to accomplish both functions. This means that if I needed to I could scale those components separately, and keep the user facing process in a separate linux user/group as the process that talks to AWS and has the security keys.

Technologies used: Java Magnolia and Railo templating front end, python web service backend,  AWS SimpleDb storage. Scaleable! Stateless! Cloud!

on being a fake student

Being a fake student is the best! When you take a one credit class at PSU you have access to super high speed internet, a research library, and a place to go work. I spent a large part of my year hacking code in Food For Thought cafe, next to artists, musicians, and hippies. But that’s not all. I also have access to the new(ish) Rec Center which has a pool, spa, rock wall and all the normal workout stuff.

Oh, and my one credit class? Yoga. So stressful.

Next post: Basic Tools of Science and Flying Helicopters Upside Down

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “It’s Not the Critic Who Counts: 2011 Part 1”

  1. Honeyon 30 Dec 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I am so glad that you are you. Congratulations on an awesome year, taking a risk, and being bold. I’m very happy for you, although I do miss working with you. :)

  2. jfrankon 30 Dec 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Yup, having no yoga partner frankly sucks. Thanks for the note.

  3. Wanon 26 Jan 2012 at 1:48 am

    I always told my kids if you have a choice, never do easy, always choose hard.

    At least this way you have a chance at reward. And even if you miss this chance, feeling good about failing is better than feeling bad about doing easy.

    Good on you, do not be afraid!

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