September 2021 Retrospective

Summary

Finally, I’ve released my firewall feature to Mudmap. It’s a small step towards having a more fully featured application for pfSense users.

Highlights

  • Deployed a big feature to prod
  • Took on a lot of learning for my day job - cutting into Mudmap’s time

Goal Performance

A review of last months three goals. See August’s Retrospective

Release firewall rules page

  • Appraisal: I’ve done it, finally!
  • Rating: A

After what feels like a lifetime I’ve pushed a big feature to Mudmap. Even saying that makes me shudder, it’s a bad thing - features shouldn’t take so long to deploy. Regardless, I am happy its out and glad to move on to the next thing. I keep asking myself why it took so long. I think it comes down to two main things; time and complexity.

Time

It is just me working on Mudmap, and I already work a full-time job. On one hand, it’s amazing what you can accomplish over time as your small increments compound. On the other, if it was my full-time job those increments would compound much faster. Acknowledging this fact is important but it’s only half the battle. I also spend more time than I should on things which do not add value to the project. Battling with tooling issues or lack of foresight for issues that would cost me precious time later, are especially damaging. As I won’t be quitting full-time employment any time soon, time or the lack thereof will be a continued factor in the velocity of release.

complexity

I have definitely made things more complex than they need be in certain aspects. In hindsight, it is obvious but only now do I possess such clarity. Further, pfSense is a complex beast in itself and building an API plus management dashboard for it isn’t trivial. I cannot decrease the system complexity of pfSense but I can reduce my own systems. It starts with more time allotted to design and proof of concept work instead of ploughing headfirst into things I think can work.

Write a Mudmap blog post

  • Appraisal: I have it written just not published
  • Rating: C

I can deploy what I have written to prod, but it feels half-baked or even nebulous in hindsight. I’ve decided to sit on it and maybe leave that post as a forever draft instead. As a result, this is unfinished.

Recommendations

After years of pestering by Amazon, I finally trialled Prime. Before I mention the show I really enjoyed I want to say two things about Prime Video which suck.

  1. Paying for movies and shows (in addition to the yearly subscription)
  2. Search absolutely sucks

When I searched for a show that my daughter was begging me to watch, all I could remember is that it had “princess” in it. So I searched for “princess”. No results. Tears ensued. A week later, my wife found it - “princess and the dragon”. Now what crappy search engine cannot return “princess and the dragon” when searching “princess”.

Onto my recommendation. Clarksons Farm is hilarious and well worth a watch. I’d also recommend watching all episodes from season four of The Grand Tour - I haven’t laughed like that in a while.

Wrap up

The first half of September was me working really hard to push out the firewall feature with the second half mostly devoted to things unrelated to it. My job - the one that pays my bills - is still important to me and must take priority when needed. We’re moving to a new platform, have several big features to produce and need to upskill all at the same time. For me personally, as soon as I deliver my current scope of work, I could be seconded to another team to aid their work on the container platform. So this has required me to commit some of my in and out-of-hours work to Kubernetes education. In between that, time has also been spent increasing my proficiency in Go for potential job opportunities that (have) and may come up in the future.

What can I do better?

  • Plan and prove that features or ideas are going work/fail before jumping in. Patience

What have I done well?

  • Deployed without issue a long awaited feature

Next month’s goals

No goals, or rather I am taking the month to freestyle the next thing to do. Not setting goals is setting a goal to fail, or something like that, but I need a month to relax my mind. My wife has had some health issues, COVID garbage is constant and working from home whilst homeschooling ain’t easy. But, that should all ease off towards the end of the month, so I’m taking until then to just experiment.

Analytics

Mudmap

Check-Redirects

Twitter

I really haven’t been playing the Twitter game much lately. Struggle thinking of things to say!