10 things that I liked in 2018

Written on 31 December 2018, 12:50pm

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In the last day of the year, it’s time to look back at the year and highlight the things that enjoyed in 2018. For reference, here is the list from the last year.

1. Two books: Daemon and Freedom, by Daniel Suarez. Absolutely brilliant, I don’t know how I missed them for so many years. Here’s an excerpt:

The Code book from Simon Singh was probably the runner-up – a few months ago I ordered the printed version and read it again after 5 years.

2. My new notebook: Huawei Matebook x Pro. Say what you want about Huawei, but they came up with a brilliant device. Miles ahead of the premium-priced Macbooks, it fundamentally changed my workflow. Never been a tablet guy and probably never be, so the combination of an iPhone + an ultrabook like the Matebook works best for me.

3. WorkFlowy: an exponent of the makers (*) culture, WorkFlowy is a dead-simple, cross-platform note-taking app. The hierarchical structure of the notes makes it compatible with mind-mapping and I found myself using it in a variety of ways. For instance, I drafted the outline of this post in WorkFlowy. Others wrote books with it:

(*) the makers culture: Peter Levels https://levels.io/ https://makebook.io/
https://twitter.com/ajlkn https://carrd.co/

4. A place: the Austrian Alps in the summer time. I had the chance to spend about a week in the mountains. The combination of mountains, clean air, outdoor activities and clear blue sky is amazing. Just have a look:

5. Security. 2018 was the year I learned a lot about security. Went to a few classroom training sessions (CISM, CISSP, TLS), passed some challenging certification exams, and realized that (IT) security is a fascinating domain with a lot of brilliant people.

The IT industry rocks (as one of the security guys that I follow said today), and on top of that, the security aspects make things much more interesting to watch.

6. Simona Halep: not only for finally winning her Grand Slam, but also for having the capacity to remain competitive for a long time: never dropped out of the top 10 for over 5 years and currently number 1 for more than a year (with a brief 4-weeks interruption). Well deserved and very inspirational.

Simona Halep, Roland Garros 2018, Simple Dames, Finale, Photo : Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

7. Two series: Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. I enjoyed watching Breaking Bad when it was released on Netflix, and found the Better Call Saul a very good continuation of the series. Now that Better Call Saul is over, I went back to re-watch Breaking Bad – it’s amazing how a few years and another prequel change the perspective.

https://breakingbad.fandom.com/wiki/Mike_Ehrmantraut

8. Jurgen Klopp. He joined Liverpool 3 years ago and built an amazing team around him. One can learn a lot about leadership just by listening to his interviews. Humble and determined, he’s a perfect fit for Liverpool and you can sense how everybody around the club loves him.

https://twitter.com/stuffIfc/status/1079432962062671873/photo/1

9. The iPhone X – because the dimensions are finally right, and, more importantly, because its camera allowed me to take some amazing photos throughout the year: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dorin_moise

10. Tesla Model S. Finally, I left this at the end because it offered me some very mixed feelings. As I said in a recent post, the car is really amazing and it offers an experience that you will not find anywhere else. But the quality of the support services is disappointing here in Belgium. I hope that things will improve, even though I’m not holding my breath.

Here’s for a brilliant 2019 and remember, in the end it’s all about getting better.

The tools that I’m using #4

Written on 8 September 2018, 01:10pm

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It’s time for a new post about the tools that I’m using. See previous editions:
2013
2014
2016

As usual, most of the applications are still there, but there are some changes. More importantly, I merged Productivity and Work into a single section since I no longer see a good reason to separate them.

Productivity and work

  1. Chrome
  2. Dropbox
  3. f.lux
  4. Logitech SetPoint
  5. Sublime Text
  6. Total Commander
  7. + LastPass
  8. + Workflowy
  9. + Pocket
  10. + BitVise
  11. + WizzMouse
  12. + Ditto
  13. + Freedome VPN

Gone are the anti-virus/anti-malware apps (Avast, MalwareBytes), along with the KeyTweak (I got a new notebook and I no longer need to tweak the keys). Also gone Beyond Compare (even though I’m still using it from time to time), and OneNote, replaced by Workflowy (Google Keep currently under evaluation) F-lux is at the borderline – still there, but I don’t know for how long. New entries: Wizz Mouse, because it makes your mouse wheel work on the window currently under the mouse pointer, instead of the currently focused window. Workflowy because of its brilliant simplicity and LastPass + Pocket because I forgot to add them 3 years ago. BitVise – because it’s much better than Putty + WinSCP combined. And finally, Ditto, a clipboard manager. Clear privacy issues, since it stores your clipboard forever, but it saved me a few times. Speaking of privacy – Freedome VPN is now in the list, since you can no longer not have a VPN nowadays…

Entertainment

  1. Neflix
  2. FastStone Editor
  3. WebShots
  4. + Photolemur

VLC and FastPictureViewer are gone, Photolemur is a new entry. And WebShots is still awesome!

The open spaces kill creativity

Written on 3 January 2017, 11:16am

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Two Medium posts sharing the view about the workplace productivity: the open spaces are only good for paying less rent.
They both refer mainly to IT jobs.

Most startups nowadays are obsessed with the open office environment, and it’s nearly impossible to find companies that do not implement this type of layout. They’ll claim it’s because they want an “open and transparent culture”, but if you know anything about the subject, you’ll know this is the worst possible setup for actual work, and doesn’t improve communication or culture.
Why I only work remotely

Did you know the average developer only get two hours of uninterrupted work done a day? They spend the other 6 hours in varying states of distraction.
But here’s what happens during the two hours they have to themselves. They warm up. They check logs, issues, and wrap their heads around what needs to be done.
They dive into the code. Their pupils dilate. They enter what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a “flow state.”
If you’ve ever been “in the groove” or “in the zone,” that’s what this is. A happy state of energized focus. Flow.

But employers, for the most part, don’t listen.
They continue to cram their teams together into noisy open plan offices.
They continue to pepper their teams’ days with meetings.
They expect their teams to be responsive to emails or Slack, further dashing hopes of ever reaching a flow state and getting some real work done.
Do you think Tolstoy could have written War and Peace in an open plan office?

Live asynchronously