My 2019 in Review

This year is coming to an end and so I want to take the chance to review the year and write down what happened this year. On the technical side as well as personally.

Months

Let me start with each month:

January

2019 has started the same way the new decade will start too. I studied for exams, wrote exams and finally, after the exams, did some practical work in the company where I am doing my dual study.

Otherwise I did a lot of body weight training with Runtastic Results in January. The app is now called Adidas Training. I wrote about my experiences with Runtastic Results on my German blog (einGeek). Unfortunately I gave up with sports at some point during the year and now I only do sport irregularly. Maybe it’s time to restart more seriously again in January 2020?

Another thing I started in January is self-hosting some services on an Odroid HC2 at home. Among others my Nextcloud, Miniflux and Gitea are running there. The home-based hosting of services, which only I use, saves costs, because I can connect a 2 TB hard drive easily and also, for example, transferring files to the Nextcloud instance from home is much faster than it was previously with a Nextcloud running in the Hetzner Cloud. Access from outside is not as fast as before, but still acceptable, especially since my internet is twice as fast as before since January.

February

In February there was still practical work in the company.

At the end of February I was in Lisbon for a few days by myself. Lisbon was very nice, the weather was good and I walked around a lot and saw a lot of things, but after a stressful semester and the practical phase in the company I also relaxed a bit before the next semester started again. I have also published some travel experiences on einGeek. Somehow it is nice to read through such articles again, even if you have already forgotten most of the things and are reminded again. It already feels like an eternity ago, even though it was not even a year ago.

Also sometime in February I started to drink whole meal powders, motivated by the poor nutrition that resulted from the lack of opportunities for good food in the neighbourhood of the company. Instead of eating junk food at lunchtime, I wanted to drink a complete shake, which not only filled me up, but also gave me all the nutrients my body needs. After choosing Huel (German post) in February, I will switch to another brand, probably in February 2020, after my stocks are empty.

March

In March the new semester started and so there was again a good opportunity not to pay attention during the lectures but to continue working on other projects. In March I got a new domain just for my blog (jlelse.blog), merged my different blogs and finally started blogging more.

I’ve been thinking a lot about email: about a messenger that uses email, why you should pay for email and why you should own your email domain. In April I finally even switched from Fastmail to my own mail server. So far, it runs without much trouble and effort. Altogether I am very satisfied with it.

I also started to develop my own tool to get very simple statistics for my websites (only which page was viewed and at what time). After I had already implemented some features in Java, I came to a point where I regretted the choice of Java and instead looked at Go and rewrote the whole code in Go again. The tool has been running very reliably on my server for some time now and I get Telegram notifications with the number of views every day at 12 o’clock.

April

April was really not exciting. I attended lectures, continued working on kis3, set up my mail server and tried some Linux distributions. And I asked the question why there aren’t more remote conferences when remote work is so popular.

May

In May I turned 20 years old and thus left the teenage age. I also gave my blog a dark mode and a blogroll. Apart from that I still attended lectures.

June

In June, as the semi-annual exams approached, I started blogging a lot more. Not only did I share my own experiences, but I also started sharing links that I found interesting and gave my opinion on them.

The closer the exams came, the more I procrastinated. Somehow I sometimes find it difficult to focus on things that I don’t really like to do. Learning for subjects that don’t interest me at all is very hard for me.

But after I finished the exams, I got myself a new desktop computer. I still like the ASRock Desk Mini A300 very much and it sits nice and discreet on my desk. Although it is small, it has much more power than my old computer or notebook.

July

In July there was a practical work phase in the company again and I went to work. But now I also had to start working on the final project of my apprenticeship. I like programming a lot, but the rest of the development, planning and documentation is not my favorite activity. But what has to be done, has to be done.

Furthermore, after my old watch suddenly stopped working, I bought a new smart watch, a Samsung Galaxy Watch. I really like this watch, it tracks my sleep, it records my runs and of course it shows me the time. I deliberately chose a Galaxy Watch with Tyzen instead of another Smartwatch with Google Wear OS: I don’t like the Google Assistant and Bixby is so unobtrusive that I practically never come into contact with Bixby.

I also started to think more about my own life again. I went for walks a lot, wrote a journal and tried to approach the “issue women” more strongly.

One day I spontaneously went camping on an island with my best female friend (German post).

July was also the month when I started to get interested in IndieWeb. As a first step I added support for IndieAuth, Webmention and Microformats.

August

In August I was on holiday with my family, where I had to bring my own WiFi. But the holiday was special, because during the holiday I got closer and closer to my best friend, now girlfriend, by writing via Telegram. After our weekend trip in July we realized that somehow there was more than just friendship between us. Eventually we decided that after I came back from my vacation, we would just try to start a love relationship. After more than 3 years of knowing each other now, we were not only best friends anymore, but a couple. You never know how things turn out.

Almost immediately after my vacation I also had my first business trip and was in Poland with the other apprentices and the trainer.

September

In September the new semester started again and I bought a Microsoft Surface Go for notes during the lectures. I used the Surface Go less for notes in lectures than I had anticipated, but that was also because I had fewer normal lectures and more team projects and other types of classes. At least I used it to prepare for exams, OneNote is a pretty helpful tool and I wrote my seminar paper with Word. Although I actually use LibreOffice whenever possible, Word was the better choice here.

Apart from that I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend in September and the following months. Some things are just more important than computers, internet and programming. I am so grateful!

October

October was a normal month. I wasted life time in boring lectures and was busy with other things on the side.

November

In November I extended the features of my blog even more and started blogging even more. For example, about the operating systems I use. Blogging helps me put thoughts into words, document experiences and learning processes and share things that interest me.

Otherwise, I worked on my final project of my apprenticeship, continued to attend lectures, and created an Instagram archive on my website.

December

December was pretty stressful. Since all the professors said they would rather not do exams but team projects and homework, and because they wanted to be done before Christmas, I had a lot to do at home and there was no sign of boredom. Most of the work is done now and in the new year there will only be one exam and one more assignment. And the final presentation for my apprenticeship graduation.

Sometimes I have the feeling that only when I am really under pressure am I really productive. When I know that a deadline is approaching, I can concentrate fully on my work for a whole day. But why don’t I start doing my work before then, when I have less stress?

Highlight

The biggest highlight this year was definitely the beginning of my relationship. It feels so good to have a person at your side who you can trust completely, who is always there for you and who makes you forget about time whenever you are together. I have experienced so many feelings and made new experiences that were unknown to me before. And I have certainly crossed my comfort zone more than just once.

Summary

Overall the year seems to have been very eventful. When I think back to January now, I’m surprised that it was really only one year, because somehow it feels like more. But I am grateful that so many positive things have happened to me this year and that luck has generally been on my side. I have to say, I’m pretty happy right now.

Next year

Next year will be again, maybe even more exciting than this year. I will finish my apprenticeship at the end of January and start my bachelor thesis in summer or autumn. Hopefully I will gain more beautiful experiences, learn new things and become more adult (in the sense of wise and experienced).

And to accompany this process, I will now write a monthly review of my experiences, insights and achievements.

Jan-Lukas Else
20 years old student who writes about everything he cares about.