Dear 2018, you won’t be missed!

A year is a significant period of time in human terms. There is plenty of opportunities for good and bad times. But when we look back at it, we usually have an overall feeling of how good or bad the year was.

Most of my years tend to be either good or average. But 2018 was one of the worst ones I can remember. Sure, plenty of good happened too, but an overall stream of stuff that’s not too great, made it into what it was.

Just a few points that made it so:

  • Lost a few family members. I guess this is kind of expected, the older everyone gets. But still.
  • Nearly lost or got separated from more family members (for a variety of reasons, like health conditions, car accidents, government paperwork, etc).
  • Apparently, nearly kicked it myself. Although it didn’t feel like, but the doctor was pretty sure and I don’t have any reasons not to trust his professional opinion.
  • Had to celebrate my 40th birthday sober as a judge. That’s a first one in a quarter of a century, I think.
  • Had to attend the first funeral in ages (my friend’s father passed away).Had one of those “knife in the back” situations. Which was probably more of my own doing or perspective.
  • Had a whole roller coaster of financial surprises. Mostly downstream though.
  • And on and on it goes.

The stuff at work has been crazy. We’ve been delivering more and faster than even before. (Gladly we managed to nearly double the development team starting in the second half of the year.) When I’m thinking about it all, I often get the racing scene from The Fate of the Furious movie playing in my head. With the only exception that our race didn’t start this year. Think of it more like 3 minutes 15 seconds into this clip:

Even towards the last few days of the year, 2018 tried to give me both a flu and a severe toothache. Gladly, I got nearly immune to this year’s treats.

Overall, one of my favorite movies scenes helps to summarize this year. Imagine that the year 2018 is sitting behind the desk here, and that’s me who’s talking from the shoes of Gust Avrakatos:

With all of that, I’m happy to report that I’ve pulled it through. Once again, huge thanks to all my family, friends, and colleagues who helped and supported me in a variety of ways. Additionally, special thanks goes to all bartenders, waiters and waitresses, and alcohol manufacturers, without who this year would be absolutely impossible.

Here’s a huge cheers for a much better 2019! Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. And I’ll see you on the other side. Enjoy!

Vim tweaks and updates


Over the last few weeks, I have significantly changed and updated my Vim configuration.  I’ve been using the editor for decades, and yet I every time I revisit my setup, I am amazed at how far the editor progressed and how wisdom the Vim community shares via themes, plugins, configuration tweaks, etc.

Here are some of the highlights this time around:

  • Switched from Pathogen plugin manager (and Ansible bits) to Vundle.
  • Added vim-devicons plugin and a patched font that supports them.
  • Switched from Syntastic to ALE for faster and better syntax checks.
  • Improved the code completion configuration, tags, and such.
  • Added a whole bunch of plugins for developers.

I am still getting used to some new shortcuts, catching up on the documentation, and trying things out.  But if it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your own Vim configuration, I suggest you do so.  Things are moving and evolving faster than you might think.

It’s been quiet around here


I have to admit, it’s been quiet around here for the last few weeks… even months.  There is no one specific reason – it’s more of a combination of a few.

The main one being … you guessed it: WORK!  I’ve been extremely busy at work lately and didn’t have a spare moment to even read the feeds, let alone blog on my own.

The rest – just contributed: this year being rich in friends and family visiting Cyprus, me moving to a new phone, Facebook changing their policy on publishing to profiles via third-party tools, and even Instagram Importer WordPress plugin suddenly not synchronizing any more.

This is not how I like my blog.  I like it to have fresh links, posts, and pictures on a daily basis.  Or at least weekly.  Going on for almost two month without posts (with one or two exceptions) is not acceptable.  So, I’ll be back.  Now.  I promise.

This blog will not contribute to the “blogging is dead” myth. :)

Four years at Qobo


Last week marked my fourth year at Qobo.  Here are the blog posts that cover my first, second, and third years.  And with one more now, I think it’s starting to fall into a trend of crazy years.

Yes, indeed.  The last year has been no different.  There were all the usual components:

  • A tonne of projects!  We’ve done more in numbers, complexity, and variety of projects this year, than before.
  • The team is growing.  And while not everybody stayed, we’ve found some new great people to join the team.  Overall, we are more now than we were a year ago.  And we’ve also expanded the roles.  We have dedicated quality assurance and support people now.
  • New office.  There is an office story every single year.  First we moved the Nicosia office, then we opened a Limassol office, then we opened a London office.   And this year we’ve moved the Limassol office to a larger space, as we couldn’t fit all the new people any more.
  • Technology.  Over the last year we have almost doubled our infrastructure (thanks a lot Amazon AWS).  We’ve played with Docker containers.  We’ve moved from HipChat to Slack (somewhat a forced move, but it was interesting from the technology perspective, as we have a lot of integrations).  And we have grown our Qobrix platform and some of the applications built on top of it significantly (over 160 versions released in a year).

I’ve learned so much, it almost seems that even the last year was a lifetime away.   I’ve enjoyed working with everyone on the team, and even with most of the clients (evil grin).  It’s unbelievable how much we have accomplished this year.

I also think that the next year will be even more interesting and challenging, as we’ll probably need to shift from the current mostly startup-like operation to a more of a settled and predictable one.  Chaos can be very productive, but it’s less so with more people on board.  So I’m excited to see what’s gonna happen this year.

Cheers and thanks to everyone who has been around this year!

The blast from the past


There are very few things that make you think of time and remind you how old you are like that email that I received another day.  Red Hat Bugzilla sent me an automated email about the update on the bug in Fedora 3 (!!!) that I commented on … in November of 2004.  Yeah, that’s good 13+ years ago.

This is so long ago, it’s almost unbelievable.  Back in those days, I was working at PrimeTel and even had a slightly different spelling to my surname.  Oh, boy.