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Here's what keeps me busy at the moment. What?

🏖️ Hammock Season

One of the best benefits we get at Stack Overflow is “the Sabbatical”: If you’ve been with the company for 5 years, you get 4 weeks of extra vacation that you’ll have to use in one block. This allows you to completely disconnect from work (which is probably as good for yourself as it is for the company, as this way you can be sure that you’re not a single point of failure) and take a generous amount of time for whatever you want to do.

I joined Stack in 2019, and I’m pumped that I can now take my sabbatical. May is packed with public holidays in Germany, and this allows me to turn my 4 weeks of extra vacation into a 5 week super-vacation that’s full of long weekends I get to spend with my family and friends. People constantly ask me what I’m planning to do with this time. I thought about this for quite a bit in the months leading up to the sabbatical. Should I tackle a large project? Go somewhere else? Pick up a new hobby? Ultimately I decided against all of that. I wanted to take the time to take a healthy break. Experience the summer holidays vibes that usually only children, teenagers, and teachers get to enjoy. Do nothing. Get bored. Go with the flow. Do as I please. I have a tendency to worry too much about making the most use of my time, which really only ever makes me feel guilty once I sit down to play some video games or take a nap or do fuck all for a day. I didn’t want to have any of that stress in my sabbatical. Instead of coming up with things I wanted to do, I thought about things I wanted to get out of the sabbatical: relaxation, spending quality time with my family and friends, get outside, be lazy, enjoy the sun, learn one or two new things, and get a few chores off of my list. As long as I get any of those things, I’m happy. 2 weeks in this concept is working out really well - I’m completely disconnected from work, I do the things I want to do, and I just go with the flow.

It’s fabulous.

🎨 Color schemes

I’m still working on a quirky pet project I had in mind for years at this point. It’s got to do with terminal color schemes and is the most fun pet project I’ve had in a long time. I’m fiddling around with it pretty much daily. Coding this thing is fairly straightforward, but getting the ✨vibe ✨ just right is rather tricky (and fun, not gonna lie). Watch this space, I hope I’ll have more to share soon.

📚 Reading

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately.

Elixir in Action, 3rd Edition by Saša Jurić

At this point it might not be too much of an exaggeration to say that I’ve read pretty much every Elixir book out there. Elixir remains the programming language that fascinates me the most and that I’m dying to learn and use in depth. So far I’ve used every excuse to get my hands dirty with Elixir and Phoenix, spinning up multiple small pet projects (that never went anywhere, but hey) and prototypes. The language and ecosystem tickles my brain in a challenging and fun way. As someone who grew up on the object oriented paradigm and drowned in the OO kool-aid early in my career, using functional programming for real feels refreshing (and harder than I anticipated!). As someone who’s constantly thinking about system design, architecture, and how pieces fit together, OTP comes with a fascinating amount of rock-solid concepts to build robust, distributed systems baked right into the platform. “Elixir in Action” by Saša Jurić is probably the best book on Elixir I got to read so far. It’s concise, clear, deep enough and covering all of the interesting bits.

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Kubernetes Up & Running, 3rd Edition by Brendan Burns, Joe Beda, Kelsey Hightower, Lachlan Evenson

I’ll admit it: I’ve gotten to this point in my career without ever having had to use Kubernetes in anger. I’m very comfortable with containers, provisioning cloud infrastructure, automating deployments, and even using container orchestrators - it’s just that I really never got a solid chance to use Kubernetes itself beyond small experiments. It’s time to fix that - and since we’re embracing k8s as the default deployment target these days, it feels just right to fill in all the gaps I have by reading up on k8s cover to cover. The book is great, especially if you’re already somewhat familiar with the underlying concepts and are now trying to connect all the dots. I’m happy I picked it up.

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Dune by Frank Herbert

Looking for something to satisfy my craving for SciFi and being pumped after watching Dune (Part 2) I picked up Frank Herbert’s classic. The plot and the rich world-building are top notch, and reading the original makes me appreciate Villeneuve’s movie adaptation so much more. However, I start feeling that reading the book becomes a bit of a chore. There are quite a few long-winded passages that don’t seem to add too much to the overall plot. Sometimes it’s a little hard to follow (and I say that as someone who knows what’s coming, after watching the movie adaptaion), and overall I’d wish for a slightly faster pace. It’s a popular classic for a reason, but it’s not the easiest read for sure.

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🎮 Video Games

Not a lot of gaming lately, but that’s okay.

Final Fantasy XVI

Still playing, but it’s a challenge. I’m a big fan of the series, and if I wasn’t, I’d probably have stopped playing already. The game’s got potential, and every now and then this potential shows, but for the majority it’s a game that looks good and feels dull. Tons of loveless fetch quests, combat that rarely exceeds button smashing, boring NPCs, linear story-telling, and leveling and crafting systems that just feel tacked on to give the illusion that you’re playing a role playing game here. Bummer. But I’ll probably finish the game regardless.