English summary of march-september '09

Translation Note: The Engels version of this content is being displayed because the Nederlands translation is unavailable.

Hi guys, over there on the West Coast,

I finally finished putting my 'diary/blog' posts on this website. But they're all in Dutch. To close it off, I thought I'd write a little summary in English - but instead of addressing "dear diary", I thought I'd address you guys.

I just wanted to say thanks again for letting me stay for an 'undetermined' amount of time. It was pretty good to have a place where I could just 'be' and relax... having no idea where my future would lie. You've been pretty relaxed housemates and made me feel comfortable staying there.

Although... in hindsight, I have not really spent my time in Washington making my plans for the future more solid. I always fall into the same personal trap, and am pretty stubborn at it too... The trap is called "let's first finish this stuff before I make more determined plans for the future". And that 'finishing' took the larger part of March and April, even though I thought it would only be the first few weeks of my stay with you. (It always goes like that.)
The thing that needed to be finished first, was the setup of BCCO's new hosting situation, and the move of about 20 websites to their new locations. It was the constant stumbling over "hey, this can be done better / more secure, I need to look into this", that made the whole project take nearly two months...

... so at the end of April, when I'd invested so much time anyway, I thought I'd just invest some more. Because if I did, 'setting up a Linux/Xen virtual hosting server nearly by myself' could be something to put on my resume. And actually, 'being a board member of the BCCO foundation' could be, too, if that foundation would present itself a little better to the outside world...
However, it was time to not sit around in the USA anymore and to get back home to the Netherlands. If only to be able to personally arrange some financial stuff...

I'm now living in my attic room in Utrecht (in the apartment that has the other rooms rented out to 2 other people). It's slightly larger than the room I had at your place - has a desk and a good chair, my laptop, a bed and lots of junk spread out on the floor Wink

And guess what?

I'm still largely in the same trap I made for myself Wink

I did finish off that whole BCCO server thing. It's humming along happily, hosting websites without problems. It's in the hands of the designated Linux admin now.
For the rest, I dove into drupal.org, when trying to update my own website (Drupal is the web programming system / CMS framework that I want to get myself paid work in). That is like a playground for a programmer with an urge to 'fix' things, because so many contributed modules have stuff that doesnt fully work yet...
By now I've been in the Netherlands for nearly five months already, and only now have I finished off my website, polished all stuff* to work as I want, and published all the content (weblog texts and pictures) from the past 14 months.

* mainly multilingual stuff (and PostgreSQL stuff) that had bugs, plus a brand new module to 'filter' certain subjects on this website by default.

Luckily, I have actually done a little bit more in the past month than just that...

I've spent nearly al of August doing paid work, in Drupal. (The exposure I've given myself on drupal.org has helped me a little.) I got into contact with a one-man Drupal/website development company that's situated close by my current home, half by coincidence. He sometimes has too much work for one man and then hands some out to me. The work I've been doing has paid little, but that's my fault, not his Smile because I've spent lots of time dong 'nice general code' so I can publish it on drupal.org (for 'the greater good' and personal exposure). Probably more paid work is coming my way, but it's hard to say how much and when.

Also, I have my own ISP now! Smile
There were some people from abroad who wanted to colocate a server with XS4ALL here in Amsterdam (because XS4ALL is just one of the best ISPs that ever existed - but their prices for shared server hosting make you faint). After some thinking I told them "how about I take care of the hardware and you rent a virtual server on it?". Spent more than a week fulltime on it, but I'm pleased with the result. These guys are happy, and I'm... not making a dime off i, just running break even... but it may come in handy in the future. Because I'm now able to host any kind of Drupal customers or other custom internet services on my own server.

During August I've also been approached by three recruitment companies who were looking for a good Drupal programmer to put on a project somewhere - four projects in total. All three times, I didn't get the project -- which is partly because of the economy (many people rooting for few jobs)... and once, a guy told me he couldn't place me with his clients, because of the 'loaded subjects' he found my name to be associated with, on Google.

Oh well. I'm determined to continue on this road. That's also a reason for me to spend so much time on "putting content on this website". As a visible sign to a certain few mofo's that I am still living, that my life does not revolve around "that subject", and that their slander is not going to get me down or afraid of them. Fuck'em - I'll keep living my own life, with people who know what I'm really about.

I think I need some extra content on this website, and a neat website for BCCO, which might ease the concerns of the people likely to hire me (like the guy who turned me down because of my 'google results'). It's a tricky road I'm following, but I prefer it to going into hiding. You can't hide from clueless lowlife anonymous-internet bigmouths anyway... plus I shouldn't have to. So that'll take about a month before I get that finished (barring paid work that is coming my way in the meantime) and after that I'll get off my ass and approach more companies to see if they can use my 'leet Drupal skillz.

The verdict is still out, on whether this is a wise approach. But I'm determined Tongue (And I'm content living in this attic room that costs me nothing, so I have some leeway, despite the fact that I was totally broke at the beginning of August.)

On yeah... that rental agency that owed me more than 5000 Euros... they paid the bailiff one term and then were unresponsive again. The matter is still in court, because these guys told the court at the last minute (instead of me a few months before!) that some calculation was wrong. In two weeks I hope the court will tell 'em to stop stalling and pay me the money they owe me *sigh*.

Anyway. Maybe there'll be some real news in a month... or two... or three... Wink