The silence between – Journeys of a not so young anymore Software Engineer

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Heroku release phase, rails db:migrate, and command failure – Bibliographic Wilderness


Sorry y’all, for the silence between.

What happened, why no new post in ~1.5 years? Well, the answer is quite simple: Life happened. First I was at a new job that was honestly quite stressful and took all my headspace, not leaving any space for blogging.

And then, I manged to injure my arms – how exactly I don’t know. It might have been a long time coming amplified by some unusually straining things I did that week. That was more than a year ago. I took 6 weeks off between jobs not doing anything hoping it will be better again soon. It wasn’t. Aside: Worst 6 week stay-cation of my life: at home, not programming, not writing & not playing games 😱 Of course, there was also Covid happening, welp.

Anyhow, I also did lots of physical therapy, saw specialists and did exercises every day for half an hour on a busy day to up to 4 hours+ on a free day. Good thing is, it was neither carpal nor cubital tunnel syndrome. I experimented with voice typing. Lots of stuff, this shit is scary.

I got a couple of breakthroughs – end of Summer 2021 my arms didn’t hurt more by the end of the week any more (as they did after a work week the entire time before). Before Christmas my pain got less to a degree where I could play games again.

And now? I still have varying degrees of pain, but now it’s mild pain and I feel like I can control it due to a variety of measures (braces, exercises, setup, it having gotten better). You gotta imagine, the first months of this I would sometimes get inexplicably strong pain jolting through my arm just because someone gave me an orange and I tried to hold it in my hand. Yeah, it was that bad.

So, I’m happy that I can do some gaming and some open source again. As well, as some writing. There are probably dozens of blog posts trapped in my head, half of which I have forgotten again. See, turns out I really do love software development. And so, while I was handicapped doing it or well was happy I could get to my day-to-day work but not in my free time, I thought about it – a lot.

So, let’s see how many posts I’ll manage to write and how much you’ll enjoy them.

A note on open source & responsibilities

With the last 1.5 years being mostly “I’m unable to do almost any open source or blogging”, I’m really happy that I changed my relationship to it. I used to feel guilty. I maintain big libraries, people depend on them. I need to fix bugs and have them be in great shape. That kinda feeling.

And well, I do still feel guilty. At the end of the day, I owe folks nothing. I provide free stuff. Take free stuff, fix free stuff and be happy. At the end of the day, my health and my life comes first. Doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty sometimes or like I really need to fix something up, but it doesn’t eat me up and I’m fine. This would have been different

The expectation that maintainers are there to fix stuff whenever and face backlash when they don’t is what drives many people out of open source. I thankfully haven’t faced this backlash a lot, but it’s still a problem. Be better, everyone.

War in Ukraine

Now is a weird and arguably bad time to revive a tech blog. Russia’s unjust war of aggression on Ukraine, his threat of nukes and the unimaginable suffering of the Ukrainian people along with their bravery is on all our minds.

Well, I’m not sure if it is on yours but it for sure is on mine. This hits close to home for me. One of my closest friends was born in Ukraine. I have been to Ukraine for 3 years in a row pre-covid (2017-2019). I was planning to go again.

I gave talks at the wonderful Pivorak meetup in 2017 & 2019. Each time I had one of my closest friends with me and we had a little mini vacation in the wonderful city of Lviv that I want to visit again. Hell, I even have a favorite cafe in the city, I know the city and truly appreciate it. I’m not sure if calling many members of the Pivorak meetup (Anna, Oxana, Volodya, Anton…) “friends” is an exaggeration, but they’re definitely people that I’d excitedly run toward whenever I’d see them hug them and chat with them for as long as I could. And, I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever get that opportunity again. And… that is scary.

It was probably the best run ruby meetup I’ve ever seen, with curios, nice, humble and super active people. Hell, they even ran their own ruby learners workshop. They were shocked that people had forgotten the war in Ukraine and were afraid of Russia… little did we know.

I didn’t only see them in Lviv, some came to Berlin and I also saw them again at RubyC in Kyiv. Kyiv, where I walked across the Maidan square and past the memorials of the brave people who died during the Maidan protests, trying to pay my respect to each one of them.

So, with this background this is hard for me. I feel helpless as I can’t really help them. I don’t know what’s going to happen and what it will take for Putin to stop this war. Well, what I can do (and did!) and you can do as well is donate to support the Ukrainian people. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a software developer and have more dispensable income than most. Consider donating it through whichever means to organizations helping Ukraine. You can find donation links for instance here.

Sorry if this section is a bit more incoherent than usual, but I’m really lacking the words in any language to express how I feel.

So, with all that – why am I blogging/doing tech stuff? Honestly, I often don’t know how to help more. I’ll donate more, I’ll continue to speak up. I can’t think about the war 24/7, it’s hard and yes it’s privilege that I don’t have to think about it 24/7. As my current favorite author Brandon Sanderson said, we deal with these situations in our own way. He writes 5 extra novels in 2 years, I’ll focus some of my mind on open source and blogging. And also, I’ve been waiting for my arms to get better for so long – so I’ve been looking forward to this.

Before I’ll close this “short” interlude blog post, I have one more thing on my mind. Please do not confuse Putin & the Russian government with the Russian people.





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