round green clock at 2:20

Writing software is a creative endeavor

A few books I’ve read and in fact the majority if not all of them (from decades old Mythical Man Month to Agile Estimation and Planning or more recent) all repeat the idea that the act of creation of software is a creative endeavor in the artistic sense of the word. My years in this domain for sure confirm it and furthermore, as with any “art” if it’s not done with pleasure, it’s not worth doing.

I wanted to write this post based on a discussion with former colleagues from a previous common employer which I shall not name who had the nerves of calling to the office a big batch of employees in full pandemic rise of COVID-19 only for the reason of a top-management visit, though the same employer had 2 recent infections in the ranks of other fellow colleagues. Of course, my friends were angry for being imposed to take a risk they do not want to take and because of the “slave” mentality of the employer.

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DIY surveillance with Ivideon and PNI

I seem to have a crush on Ivideon in combination with ONVIF-compatible devices (most under the PNI brand which has proved reliable in the past years for my offline DVR that I keep at our work-in-progress home at the country-side, on my father’s land, donated a few years ago to me).

These days I went off on a small house project to mount a few speed dome cameras at my in-laws house, at the country side also. The reasons I wanted to do the project was because my in-laws recently contracted a FTTH service (Fiber To The Home) from one well known provider in Romania (Digi/RCS&RDS).

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Two years of Manjaro Linux and counting

I grew up fond of the Linux operating system for a long time. I’ve been in my 20’s a die-hard fan of Debian and I’m still a die-hard fan for it whenever I’m put in the situation of installing a production-grade environment, tending to trust the community process that goes on there to validate the packages before they arrive to the “stable” repositories.

Long time ago, I was also a Gentoo fan, because being the owner of an dual-core Intel back in the time, I needed to effectively squeeze every CPU cycle out of the machine. I couldn’t afford switching PCs on an yearly basis. So I spend days if not weeks compiling and recompiling KDE until it fit my purpose.

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30 years of democracy, a documentary about the burden of being free

I was born in 1988. So I’m 31 going 32 next year and pretty much all my conscious life I’ve been part of the “new-found” democracy. I’ve seen my parents live, suffer, adapt through the changes in economy, even caught a glimpse of the inflation and how money was loosing value as each day passed by.

One typical journalism organization in Romania, called Recorder, recently published a 3-hour documentary on the 30 years of democracy and the burden that we’ve been through, as a nation, to sustain that idea. It’s well worth your time and I won’t spoil it here giving away the plot and history that it shows.

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My Beautiful Dacia, a story about a country and its car

I finally got over to watch “My Beautiful Dacia” (or in our language: “Dacia, dragostea mea” a 2009 documentary about the history of the Dacia car manufacturer but most importantly a mirror image of the country itself and how the different eras (communism and post-communism) have affected this brand’s capability to stay competitive in the car market.

Today, Dacia is recognized as a good and cheap brand of cars that will last you a couple of million miles. With a price tag around 12k euros in Europe (at the time of writing) is well within reach of most pockets. It’s amazing to see how this feeling of reliability has kept past the decades, as the same was said about the previous 1100 and 1300 models. It’s humbling to say the least to the efforts made by Romanian workers (and owners) to keep this brand alive to this day (2020) and for the years to come.

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The Rise and Fall of Nokia, a modern documentary on smartphones

I grew up in the mobile phone era. Go back almost two decades ago and it was the year 2002. I was saving money to buy myself a Nokia, after having owned an Alcatel. One of the most popular and still a motive for many memes today, the Nokia 3310 was the mobile phone that pretty much everyone had and they had it for years. Fast-forward 2010 or 2015 and people still held 3310 close to their heart.

A few weeks ago I got the chance to watch an interesting documentary “The Rise and Fall of Nokia” (by BBC) about this Finish unicorn company that pretty much revolutionized the mobile industry. Not in the sense of Apple (with touch-screens) but in the sense of making the mobile phone sufficiently easy to carry and “humane”.

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Sleepy town center of Ramnicu Valcea

Today late in the day we had to hop on in the car and go towards Ramnicu Valcea, the nearest town to where my in-laws have their house. My wife was not feeling good, maybe going down with a cold. She had a runny eye and it was bugging her for the whole day. Late in the day, she could not take it anymore so we went out to find a pharmacy.

We parked at River Plaza Mall. It was quite free in comparison to other days I’ve been there. Probably because it’s 23 of December and night. Malls in this country tend to be overcrowded, like we don’t have anything else better to do. Anyway, since we were very close to the town center we went upwards to an X-mass fair. The decorations attracted my attention, they were of very good taste, simple, light, not too dazzling (in comparison to Mioveni which is the most decorated city of all or Bucharest in some former years).

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An year in review, my 2019

One of the hardest, longest, most tiring years I’ve had in my 30 years or so. Not even 2018 and our marriage could be compared to 2019. First of all, our son grew to 2+ years, becoming a toddler. With that, a whole heap of attention that we need to dedicate to him. It’s also the year I’ve changed two jobs, seeking something that keep me thinking. Passing through jobs I came to realize that happiness doesn’t stand in having challenge at work but in resolving small challenges at home, in your free time, on your own projects (technical) but also spending some time with your toddler now and then (I will admit I’m the geek-ish kind of father with not so much interest for goofing around).

On the bright side of things and financially, we were able to keep above sea water and pay-off some debts, including closing some credits. While the mortgage is an impossible one to pay up-front, small personal debts were shutdown this year. For me, that’s a good start for 2020 and I hope it gives me the piece of mind to wind-down and chill.

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The software industry needs to learn to go slow in order to move fast

When I was young and deciding what career path would I take and when our teachers would ask what do we want to pursue, I’d always answer something along the lines of: “software engineer”. Twenty or so years ago I had much esteem for the trade. The principles of automating repetitive tasks, freeing someone from the day to day burden of repetitive chores and of course, of their salary, leaving them naked in the street, unable to feed their family, hunting for mice to survive seemed such a good investment of my time and skills.

Of course, I’m joking! Jesus! But the software industry is not and the reason that is happening is because pretty much any other industry, be it automotive, manufacturing, even sending satellites to space (and trust me, I know) is full of repetitive tasks that can be easily coded to perfection.

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Biking in Toulouse

Street market in Toulouse, over the boulevard

I haven’t had time these days to blog anymore. Since leaving my previous employer, a former “prestigious” mobile game creation company I’ve searched for other jobs, mainly going through an French telecom business, where the frustration were so high, from day one, that I quickly sought new challenges (searching again) after the first week.

Anyway, while I can’t say names and I will try not to tie this blog to any employer, directly, I’ve found a good (and exciting) job at a contractor in the space business. For which travel was included. The two weeks I’m here in Toulouse should be enough to understand 2 projects formerly under development here and to bring them over for upgrade back in my mother country (Romania).

The 2 weeks here meant that I’ve had the chance of a weekend over here. While rough at first, since the chosen hotel (MetrHotel Basso Cambo) is really well placed near the metro, the bus station directly to work, a Lidl, McDonald’s and KFC near, it took me a few days to accommodate so I didn’t have the urge to visit the center (old town) of the city.

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