January 2024 In Review

My first monthly review in the new format since I mentioned in December that I would move from publishing weekly to monthly instead. Quite often January is a slow and sleepy month that drags on and on. This year I found that a lot happened in January and I was surprised how quickly it passed.

Personal Stuff

In my goal not to be a fat boy at 35 I shifted around 5kg (or 11lb) by not eating crap like we did over the christmas holidays and by going for walks or getting on the stationary bike most days. I’ve still got a fair bit more weight to shift but I’m happy with this as a starting point and I’ve found that eating more healthily most of the time means that sweet treats tastes absolutely amazing when we do have a treat day.

January was a great opportunity for me to re-connect with a lot of people. I caught up with a mentor from my time at the Catalyst programme in Southampton Science Park, some former colleagues and friends. I got the chance to hang out with my good friend Dan Duma who I met during my PhD studies.

It was also an opportunity to make new friends and acquaintances and I had some networking meetings and calls with people I’d met on LinkedIn and through the Ness Labs community.

We got the opportunity to go up and visit my parents in the Midlands and hung out there one weekend. It was one of the colder weeks in January so it was lovely to be in a cosy setting and their cat Bertie took a liking to me

We had planned to go out for to a Thai restaurant that we really liked and had been to before but when we arrived there the lovely owners came out to tell us that they had a power cut and they couldn’t cook – luckily it was lunch time and they were hoping to get the power back on before their fully booked evening service. We ended up going to a cute little pub nearby instead and Mrs R still ordered a Thai curry!

While we were up north we also got to meet up with one of my school friends for breakfast which was great fun.

Some stuff didn’t go so well: we lost a close family friend earlier this month and Mrs R’s family dog which she’s had since she was an early teenager.

We also had to take our cats in for some dental surgery which was carried out under general anaesthetic and I found that very stressful even though the vet reassured us that the risk was very low and it all worked out fine.

Work Stuff

It’s been a pretty hectic month on the work front. I had 8 annual personal development reviews to go through with my team. I love chatting to my team about what went well and what they want to work on this year so that was actually quite an enjoyable experience.

I oversaw a migration from Linear to JIRA which we decided to make due to a need to move to a more controlled and rigorous development process and so that our product team could make use of JIRA Product Discovery for ranking and sorting new feature requests effectively. I’ve written some scripts for automating a lot of the migration and preserving things like attachments and comments which I am in the process of open sourcing. It’s still a little bit half-baked for now but I’ll post again when I’m done.

I spent a lot of time helping out with annual reviews of internal policy documentation around security, cyber-risk and software lifecycle which was a dull but very important task.

Entertainment

We set a goal of trying to get to the cinema twice a month this year since we have cineworld membership that costs about the same as 1.5 standard tickets. At the start of the month we went to see Anyone But You but we haven’t made it back since. Maybe February will be a better month for Cinema trips!

We binged our way through the latest series of Queer Eye this last week (I say binged but we watched one episode a night which I thought demonstrated restraint) and I really enjoyed it as usual. I’m excited that there will be a new series but sad that Bobby will not be returning, his interior design work is superb.

This month I’ve been reading Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks. I was reminded by Kev’s recent review that the Culture books have been on my reading list since forever. So far I’ve found it a little difficult to get into and I keep falling asleep with it. However, I am about 25% of the way through now and I’m determined to keep going.

New Process

My new review process is to write a weekly note in obsidian that summarises each week and then write a monthly review note which summaries my weeklies. Then I can publish a blog post based on that. So far I’m enjoying it and I think I’m putting a lot less pressure on myself if I have a slow week where there’s not much to write home about. I think I’ll probably stick to this new process for now and see how I get on.

What will February Bring?

It will be interesting to see how the next month pans out. I have the funeral for the family friend I mentioned coming up later this week. I’m hoping to keep meeting up with people and networking as, finally nearly 3 years since the COVID lockdowns stopped happening regularly, I’m getting into the swing of having a social life again.

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  • Miron

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