December 22, 2015

Happy New Year

2015 has been a really great year.

Family and Friends

I've been fortunate to have all kinds of fun with friends and family this year. Here's a list of the experiences I shared with friends and family this past year. This is what it's all about: Bringing in the New Year with my Parents in Florida, Skiing at Wintergreen, a weekend in Lancaster PA visiting Hershey Park and Train Museums, Sailing with friends every summer weekend in the Chesapeake Bay, and then grilling out and relaxing at our new vacation house, Picking Apples at Graves Mountain Lodge, and a great trip to Pittsburgh for a friend's wedding. Pretty amazing. And the best part is that I get to do it all over next year.

The Boys

My boys are at really fun ages of 5 and 7.

7 year olds are inspirational; I think adults would do well to try and be more like 7 year olds! Ben is mature enough to understand almost any subject; it's amazing what he can understand. He's full of curiosity and open and excited to experiencing new things. It's been fun watching him interact with his friends at school. I'm really excited about the progress he's made with reading. Ben is like a sponge when it comes to information. He loves to absorb as much as he can. He's very close to the point where he'll be able to start reading more advanced books by himself. When that time comes, then I'm excited to see what he'll get into!

As a 5 year old, Zack's confidence and personality has really blossomed. He's got a little 5 year old "posse" at school. When he gets together with his friends in his preschool it cracks me up. Zack is amazingly compassionate about others. And I'm continually impressed that already at the age of 5 he seems to have mastered the art of comedic timing!


I'm extremely proud of Kathy for teaching herself woodworking and, not only that, but completely furnishing our vacation house by herself!! I still can't believe all the furniture she built this year: 2 beds (queen size and a king size), beautiful shelves, an awesome country style dining room table, and an amazingly comfortable day bed that converts into a chair. Not to mention about a dozen other knick knacks! She's blowing me away with the woodworking.

Oh yeah, and don't forget that all the while, in addition to the wood working, she was preparing delicious healthy meals, planning fun trips, building a great group of friends, taking care of sick kids, decorating 2 houses to the level of professional interior designer, volunteering at both the boy's schools, and managing the homework and extra tutoring for the boys! I honestly don't get how she does it all.


Work has been nice and steady. I've been really fortunate to be able to work from home. This has allowed me to really focus in on my passion for learning new technologies and software techniques. I've recently learned a new "enterprisey" skill (Oracle/Fuego BPM) that will hopefully allow me to stay on with this same customer when the contract is up for renewal next fall.


I've really enjoyed the two MOOCs that I've taken this year: From Nand To Tetris, and Introduction to Functional Programming.

For anyone looking to really understand how computers work at the lowest level, then I highly recommend From Nand To Tetris. You can either take it as a self paced course, or look for it to come available on sites like Edx and Coursera.

Now that I've been using clojure for a while, I've noticed a lot of references to Haskell. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the Fp101x Introduction to Functional Programming teaches functional programming concepts using Haskell. I'm afraid to say, thought, that now I've become with obsessed with digging deeper into the world of Haskell ... which seems like there's a good chance that it might take my whole lifetime to grok!

In addition to the MOOCs, I've also enjoyed learning a bunch of new libraries on the side. I'm particularly excited about discovering React.js, Docker, AWS, and Kafka.


In the past year, I feel that I've tightened my focus on what I'd like to achieve from an entrepreneurial perspective. I've been able to really focus on specific projects. As a result, I feel like I've improved my success rate a bit.

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I read a good number of self improvement type books. I've experimented with a ton of self improvement techniques in the past, and, to be honest, I've failed at a lot of it. But I think I've made 2 important realizations this year:

  1. Focus only on one thing at a time
  2. Meaningful Improvement takes a meaningful amount of time

The biggest success I'm most proud of for 2015 is that I've completely quit drinking alcohol. This has freed up a lot of time and relieved a lot of unnecessary anxiety of stress in my life.

I've also started to workout regularly. This will be my #1 focus of 2015. No matter what other projects I'm working on, I will make sure to get a workout in every day.

I've also been more consistent with my blog this past year than ever. I've written at least one blog post a month for 5 months in a row. I'd like to get to the point of having weekly posts in 2016. The main reason I enjoy writing blog posts is that it helps me remember what I was up to in the past.

I've made good progress on a side software development project to organize all my photos. I've created a web app that will import photos from google plus and my desktop. The idea is that eventually it will track all my photos in addition to the pictures my parents and wife take as well. I hope to expand on it so that I can use the app to ensure that I can keep track of (and have a backup of) all photos of the boys. I'm excited to add onto it so that friends can use it as well. I might even be able to charge a little for it in 2016, we'll see.

Looking Forward

If 2016 is even half as good as 2015, I'll be happy. I hope that you have as much fun looking back on this past year as I have.

Here's to 2016 and more opportunity and growth!

Tags: marketing software