Photo by @danielcgold / Unsplash.com

So, what’s up?

Don’t worry. This is not one of those end-of-the-year/end-of-a-decade posts.

I’ll do that next week.

I’ve taken the habit to reflect, reminisce and gather up my thoughts a few times a year. I did that a few months ago in October, and before that in June.

As I’ve perhaps mentioned, I’ve been on an extended leave of absence since April. I spent the summer finishing up some projects, focusing on my well-being and spending time with family. August and part of September were spent mostly on finishing up the financial, legal and business dealings with my previous company.

The plan was to leave a sizable investment within the company, but in the end, we divested that investment. I also felt it was easier to move on when you don’t have historical baggage.

Once that huge project was completed, I finally had time to look at what’s ahead of me.

My youngest son turned two recently. We go to the seaside often to throw a pebble in the waves and admire the views. This is him, properly dressed for his adventures. I’m happy I’m able to spend time with him every day. It provides a frame and perspective to everything else in life.

School is (still) positively challenging

School is about half-way through now. I say about because there’s still plenty of lectures and assignments left and the final thesis on top of that. The assignments (both post- and pre-module) are plenty, and they do require quite a bit of work now. I enjoy it quite a bit.

I’m using Grammarly to check and optimize my texts, and I’m at about 900,000 written (and checked) words since April this year. My vocabulary is lingering at around 3,000 words week-over-week.

I usually work early in the morning, or when possible, during the day to complete the assignments. I have my three-monitor setup at home (2 * 34″ 4K UHD, and 1 * 27″ WQHD), and it works great.

I still do notes by hand, on paper. The first Muji ink gel pen I got as a gift from a friend ran out of ink the other day.

Coffee & finding a rhythm

I’ve enjoyed excellent cappuccino’s around my home town, Helsinki. I usually drop one or more kids off to school or kindergarten and then allow myself an hour or two to write, and complete projects I’m working on.

It’s been relatively easy to find a rhythm. We try to go to bed early – around 9 or 9.30 pm – and get up early as well – around 6. In recent weeks, I’ve woken up at 5 without much struggle.

I’ve also attended several meetings, events, and conferences that sort-of implied in their invitation, that you better dress properly. So, that’s been fun.

Sometimes I brew coffee at home, too. I guess that over the years I’ve acquired all possible devices for making coffee. This is the Bodum Presso coffee maker.

I also borrowed all my Nintendo Switch games to a friend, when I realized I never play anymore. I can heartily recommend Wolfenstein II and DOOM – both are excellent. If you have the time.

Mostly, it’s been fun

I’ve delivered quite many sessions, too. The above picture is from SharePoint Saturday Brussels from October. I was invited to deliver the keynote together with Maarten Eekels, and we had a blast! You can find our slides here.

There isn’t much sun in Finland between September and late April. We took off to Dubai for a short holiday with the family.

It was beyond great. The warm seawater, great food, and schedule-free days are just what we needed. During a late lunch, I spotted this sign.

And that kept me thinking through the rest of the holiday why I got started in IT to begin with.

I’m a sucker for LEGO, and I was happy to see they had the new LEGO Technics Land Rover Defender available. It took a few more weeks of negotiation with the family, but it’s mine now.

My VPN refused to connect from Dubai to home. IPSec/L2TP traffic was blocked, so I circumvented that by spinning up a virtual machine in Azure, and remoting through that to home.

Right after we got home, it was time to head for Microsoft Ignite 2019. It was held in sunny and hot Orlando, Florida.

We also started our Azure-focused podcast Ctrl+Alt+Azure with Tobias Zimmergren, so I brought my travel kit with me to do record a few episodes with him.

The second book I made with ShareGate was also released during Ignite. You can get a free digital copy here!

I was also a guest for Maarten’s Cloud Journaal podcast. You can probably tell, it was fun too!

Back home, I spent a few evenings building a better podcast recording studio. I blogged about the gear here.

I also let myself indulge a little.

I put some extra effort into my gym training. I set a few goals in September, and one of those was that I’d need to be able to lift, pull, and move 100 kg weights with relative easiness. Perhaps I’m not quite there yet, but getting pretty close! Satisfied with the progress.

We got snow in Helsinki, too. It’s gone now.

In November, I did a trip to Prague for the European SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure Conference. I was the program chair for all Azure content. That’s me on the right to kick things off together with Tracy O’Connell, Elio Struyf, and Donald Hessing.

My bag broke, also. Thanks, Czech Airlines.

And finally, I joined Microsoft. More about that a bit later, when I settle in my new role.