My 2018 in review

What a year, huh? I said this in my 2017 review post, and it feels even more fitting this year. Once again I changed jobs — this time of my own choice — only to find out a few months later that my employer was about to be acquired again. But these changes, and some changes I’ve made in my personal life, means I start 2019 in a much better place than I started 2018. Hopefully this means good things for the rest of the year. It’s always nice to start on an upward trajectory.

So what about 2018? I had set a goal of writing 100 articles across Blog Fiasco,, and other non-work sites. I ended up with 97, which is close enough, I guess. 100 articles seems like a reasonable goal, so I’ll keep that for 2019. Now that I’m writing for Lafayette Eats, that will help give me more and varied posts, which should make this sustainable.

Article publication pace for 2016, 2017, and 2018. 2018 was fairly steady on pace for 125 until August when it dropped to around 80.

Blog Fiasco

This blog still exists, so there’s that. 80 of my posts in 2018 were on this blog. Page views for Blog Fiasco went up by 26% over 2017, which puts 2018 slightly below 2016. The unique visitors went up by a similar amount, and the comment count was up 38%.

Top articles in 2018

These are the top Blog Fiasco articles in 2018, along with their 2017 rank.

  1. Solved: ports on ThinkPad Thunderbolt dock doesn’t work with Fedora (published in 2018)
  2. Date-based conditional formatting in Google Sheets (published in 2018)
  3. Using the ASUS ZenBook for Fedora (22)
  4. Solving the CUPS “hpcups failed” error (1)
  5. Installing Lubuntu on a Dell Mini 9 (published in 2018)
  6. Hints for using HTCondor’s credd and condor_store_cred (4)
  7. Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life (7)
  8. Book review: Forge Your Future with Open Source (published in 2018)
  9. I will (pending approval) have a new employer (again) (published in 2018)
  10. HP laptop keyboard won’t type on Linux (8)

After several years at the top of the heap, my “hpcups failed” post fell to number 4. Not bad for an article I published in 2010. But this year’s 7th-most-read article was published in 2008, which goes to show the value of using a quote as the post title. I don’t think it’s a particularly good post, but it gets a lot of search traffic. I’m encouraged to see that half of this list are 2018 articles, compared to only three in 2017.

Top articles published in 2018

These are the top Blog Fiasco articles that published in 2018.

  1. Solved: ports on ThinkPad Thunderbolt dock doesn’t work with Fedora
  2. Date-based conditional formatting in Google Sheets
  3. Installing Lubuntu on a Dell Mini 9
  4. Book review: Forge Your Future with Open Source
  5. I will (pending approval) have a new employer (again)
  6. Linus’s awakening
  7. It looks like you’re writing a resignation letter, would you like help with that?
  8. We can’t replace Facebook with personal websites
  9. “You’ve been hacked” corrects behavior
  10. It’s hattening!

Other writing: December 2018

What have I been writing when I haven’t been writing here?

Stuff I wrote

Lafayette Eats

  • 6th Street Dive — In an area of town without a lot of restaurant options, this is a good one.
  • Core Life Eatery — It turns out that vegetables and fast food can get along.

Red Hat/Fedora

Stuff I curated

Red Hat/Fedora

Other writing: November 2018

What have I been writing when I haven’t been writing here?

Stuff I wrote

Red Hat/Fedora

Lafayette Eats

  • Amer’s Grill — A local Mediterannean restaurant gets subjected to my discerning palate.

Stuff I curated

Red Hat/Fedora

I (will, pending approval) have a new employer (again)

Note: this is an entirely personal post and does not represent Red Hat or the Fedora Project in any way.

This is not a repeat from August 2017: my employer is about to be acquired. The news that IBM is spending $34 billion to acquire Red Hat came as a surprise to just about everyone. As you might expect, the reaction among my colleagues is widely varied. I’m still trying to come to terms with my own emotions about this.

Red Hat is not just an employer to me. I’ve been applying for various jobs at Red Hat over the last eight years or so. When I got hired earlier this year, I felt like I had finally obtained a significant professional goal. I’ve long admired the company and the people I know that worked there. I saw Red Hat as a place that I could be happy for a very long time.

But I don’t have a crystal ball. So sometime in the second half of next year, I’ll be an IBM employee. Leadership at IBM and Red Hat have said the right things, and the stated plan is that Red Hat will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary. I have no reason to doubt that, but the specifics of the reality are still unknown. It’s a little bit scary.

It makes sense that we don’t have any specifics yet. The plans can’t really be formed until the folks who would work on them can be told. So almost everyone is just coming up to speed, and the next few months will start bringing some clarity. And even more has to wait until the deal actually closes.

My first reaction was “oh no, my health insurance is going to change again.” After having roughly five insurance plans in the last five years, the idea of updating my information with all of my providers yet again is — while not particularly difficult — kind of annoying. My second reaction was “couldn’t they have waited a few years so I could accumulate more stock?”

So what does this all mean? I really don’t know. Ben Thompson is not optimistic. John “maddog” Hall is taking a positive approach. But most importantly, my friend and patronus Robyn Bergeron is reassuring:

So for now, I’ll go about my day-to-day work. Fedora 29 released on Tuesday. We’re hard at work on Fedora 30. In a few months, I’ll know more about what the future holds. In the meantime, I’m proud to be a Red Hatter and a member of the Fedora and communities. Here we go!

Other writing: October 2018

Where was I writing when I wasn’t writing here?

Stuff I wrote

Red Hat/Fedora

Stuff I curated

  • Forge Your Future With Open Source — VM Brasseur’s excellent book on becoming an open source contributor is done. I reviewed this book and I can tell you it is absolutely worth a read, even if you’re an experienced contributor. Buy it on Amazon (affiliate link) or directly from the publisher.

It’s hattening!

Pretend I wasn’t too lazy to edit the text.

Remember how I told you I quit my job? Well as this post publishes, I’m starting my new job. I’ve joined Red Hat as the Fedora Program Manager. I’ve been a Fedora user and contributor for a long time, so it’s great to be paid to be a part of the community. And Red Hat is a great company. I’m really excited about what’s to come.

Stay tuned here and the Fedora Community Blog for more updates on what I do as the FPgM.

It looks like you’re writing a resignation letter, would you like help with that?

I just signed out of my accounts for the last time. I never thought I’d end up working there, but the company has changed since the “GPL is a cancer” years. I saw it from the outside and after they acquired Cycle Computing, I saw it from the inside, too.

I want to be clear: the problem isn’t Microsoft. In fact, it’s a great company to work for. But the role I was placed into after the acquisition was not a good fit for me and I was not a good fit for it. I tried to find a more mutually-agreeable position within Microsoft, but then an external opportunity came along. I couldn’t turn it down.

So for the next two weeks I’ll be funemployed. I have so many things I want to get done and I expect a full two-thirds will remain on my to-do list when I’m done. And I’m totally okay with that. I’ve never taken time off between jobs before, and I think I’ve earned it. And even if I haven’t earned it, I’m doing it anyway.

But as excited as I am for the time off and the new role that follows, I’m pretty sad about leaving great coworkers behind. I met some awesome people at Microsoft, and I will miss working with them. And even more than that, I’ll miss the great Cycle Computing team, with whom I’ve worked very closely over the last five years. It wasn’t always easy being a bootstrapped startup, but we did awesome work together and I’ll miss the team. I hope I can stay in touch.

My next role isn’t a national secret, but you’ll understand if I don’t talk about it publicly until I start in a few weeks.

Other writing – January 2018

Where have I been writing when I haven’t been writing here? Not much, but did set a new monthly page view record with over 1.2 million views in the month of January.

Happy 10th birthday, Blog Fiasco!

When I published my first post 10 years ago today, I didn’t really have a plan in mind. I wanted to separate my personal writing and my professional writing. I didn’t expect the blog to become the sensation it has, with literally ones of viewers each day.

Kidding aside, I’m glad I’ve kept this going for so long. This blog has helped my writing. It has made me friends. It has chronicled by proxy the course of my career. Ten years ago, I was a junior systems administrator who wrote mostly about what he learned on the job. Now I work in marketing and largely write my opinions. Along the way, my technical posts have gone from “here’s this specific thing I learned” to “here’s my take on larger issues.”

I’d like to think that counts as growth of some sort. In these past 10 years, I have published 671 posts. Some of those are a few sentences to describe site updates. Some are thousand-plus word discussions of severe weather warnings. Posts have received 655 comments (plus some 1.3 million spam comments).

To my ones of readers, I offer my sincere thanks. It’s gratifying to know that I’m not just talking to myself. Here’s to another decade!