Category: Work and play

rotterdam-suburban-art.png

Yesterday afternoon I took a look out of the Rotterdam office window, and this is the inspiring view that greeted me.

kpn-rotterdam.png

My latest assignment as full-stack developer is at the exclusive KPN Technologies high-rise office in Rotterdam, and the view of the Erasmus Bridge from my desk on the 12th floor is pretty amazing.

Life at a startup is fun and challenging, although the future is unpredictable and success is the ultimate goal of all we do, I am having a wonderful time working here.

screenshot-www.alii.care-2020.11.04-15_35_58.png
Check it out for yourself

platform-for-clinical-knowledge.png

We make clinical knowledge accessible. Medicine is a knowledge industry. By bringing the latest scientific insights into practice doctor can provide patients with the best possible care.

I will be starting a new job tomorrow at a small startup in Utrecht, and I am very excited to join this young company as employee #6.

As senior frontend developer, I will be crafting new and interesting features, honing my user design skills to new levels, and helping them to professionalize their web platform.

The best part though is that I will be an active member of a very enthusiastic team with various backgrounds in the health sciences.

alii.jpeg

The platform to create better medical protocols and guidelines.

"It is our mission to help hospitals structure the medical knowledge their specialists need and create easy-to-use protocols that can be integrated in the EHR. The use of flowcharts and prediction models makes it possible to deliver personalized health care. With the structure to keep protocols in sync with the latest publications and guidelines, we ensure that you keep knowledge at the heart of your care organization."

I always claim that you are never too old to learn new stuff, and I feel very privileged to be able to pursue this variegated path of new knowledge wherever it might lead me. See you around ...

I would say that the hardest part of my job is bridging the gap between what the requirements actually mean and what is technically feasible. As if this is not enough of a challenge in itself, let's make it even more volatile by throwing in political discussions and human emotions to ante up the challenge with even more interesting constraints. On the one hand we have the facts and figures, and on the other hand we have human nature creating bumps in an otherwise smooth road to success. Finding the right balance between creating the perfect platform and meeting the expectations of the outside world is fun yet challenging.

big-day.png

With more than a year of preparations under our belts, the devops team managed to pull off a successful launch of our state-of-the-art telecom platform. This is a great accomplishment of which we can all be very proud.

COIN is growing quickly. You are a qualified senior full stack developer who wants to take the lead building our new state-of-the-art cloud platform. If you are interested I can tell you more!

Senior Full Stack Developer

full-stack-developer.png

The other day I organized an inhouse workshop for my company in order to introduce my colleagues to the scrum methodology and the role of the product owner. Hopefully, the people picked up on the ideas and concepts I explained and how we should work more closely with the stakeholders in building products that they will love.

product-owner-workshop.png
One of the slides.

As luck would have it, I've managed to land a fantastic job as full stack developer at a telecom company:

COIN_logo.png

Not only is the type of work super interesting and the open culture conducive to creativity and innovation, but believe it or not the office is a mere 10 minute bike trip (2.1 kilometers) from my house.

Who is COIN?

In the hopes of landing an interesting and challenging assignment, I sent out the following notice in English and Dutch:

gishtech-small.png

Looking for an enthusiastic full-stack web developer for a certain task, project or whatever?

Specialties include: Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, Bootstrap, HTML/CSS and Website Design.

As freelancer I offer professional services for an attractive price.

More information can be found on my website: http://gishtech.com and github http://github.com/kgish.

Op zoek naar een gedreven full-stack web developer voor een bepaalde klus, project of whatever?

Expertise in Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, Bootstrap, HTML/CSS en Website Design.

Als freelancer bied ik professionele diensten aan voor een aantrekkelijke prijs.

Meer informatie is te vinden op mijn website: http://gishtech.com en github http://github.com/kgish.

Curious if and how many reactions I get back, fingers crossed.

europeana-website.png

After a dry spell I get to be productive again. I'm pleased to be working on this amazing website as Ruby on Rails Developer in the Collections Development Team.

This is pretty challenging stuff and gives me the chance to work with others on a noble pursuit. Namely:

"Providing a platform that allows you to explore great achievements from the past to achieve great things in the future."

See also: Europeana's vision for the future.

Looks like it's back to getting up early again, well actually not that early. It's a great feeling having work and a new purpose in life. Much better than sleeping late and having nothing to do all day but golfing and hanging around the house. Tons of new stuff to learn, but like I always say proudly: I am never too old to learn new stuff.

sprinter-duivendrecht.png
Waiting for the train.

The total travel time is: 10 minutes by bike, 5 minutes wait for train, 40 minutes in the train plus 15 minute walk to the office equals 70 minutes, 40 minutes of which I can relax and read a book in the train, so not that bad I guess.

nextail-walking-to.png
Walking from the train station to work.

Being so busy the whole day takes some getting used to, but I can really appreciate my free time now like enjoying the evenings and playing golf in the weekend. My golf game is suffering but let's stop taking this sport so seriously and enjoy it as an extra form of entertainment.

nextail-building.png
This is the building where I work.

| 1 Comment

Looks like it's back to work for me. After a short period on the dole, I've managed to get myself hired as a release manager at Blokker Holding in Amsterdam. They've launched a new state-of-the-art ecommerce platform called Nextail and I will be responsible for the software releases. As I always say, you're never too old to learn new stuff.

Zarafa.png
My new job is at Zarafa in Delft.

Here is my first release.

Driving-back-and-forth.png

I spend a good portion of my waking hours just sitting in my car. About two or more hours each day. Sometimes it is more and sometimes less. During winter even the highways are blocked by heavy traffic, and in the summer I can fly like a bird since most people are away on vacation. On average I am spending more than ten percent of my conscious life driving to and from work. I pass the time by listening to my music on my mp3-player, catching up on the latest news and talk shows on the radio, preparing myself mentally for the day ahead or re-living the day's activities in my head. The daily meditation and mental retrospective. What did I do well, what do I need to improve, what is the purpose of life, is there such a thing as reality, am I really the center of the universe, those kinds of thoughts.

"Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work."

- Total Productive Maintenance

Home-office.png
At home I can escape and do some work in the attic.

As a true leader of people, how much is it your responsibility to motivate the team for which you are the responsible manager?

One is often told to go out and motivate the team to work harder and be more productive, or else. However, it is a hard fact of nature that true motivation has as its source an inner awakening of energy. It cannot be forced upon people from the outside by snapping fingers and spewing threatening words.

People have to motivate themselves, no one else can do that for them. If that inner source is missing no amount of ranting, raving or showering of inspirational words of wisdom will make the slightest difference in the world.

So what is the true leader of people supposed to do? Remove obstacles, open up the road ahead, give a clear vision of which direction to go, and foster a sincere conviction that each individual's sense of belonging and intellectual creativity will greatly influence the world around him or her.

It's all about working toward a common end result of which everyone can be proud. The prouder the better, true motivation leads to satisfaction, to be part of a proud group of top-notch experts.

The team is composed of a collection of unique personalities and expertise areas, working dynamically together, to motivate and thereby achieve so-called impossible goals.

That's what motivation is all about.

My job is to ensure the fast, predictable, and uninterrupted flow of planned work, delivering continuous value to the business, while minimizing impact and disruption of unplanned work, thereby providing a stable, predictable and secure service to all of our customers. This is quite a mouthful and is an almost impossible challenge which for me is the best kind of challenge one can ever ask for and be lucky enough to pursue.

I was asked to give a talk in London for the yearly DevOps Summit. There were many interesting presentations and I had the opportunity to do some networking, meet people from other companies and share ideas.

Devops-summit-london-2013.png
A large international crowd showed up.

The title of my presentation was Walking the Tightrope, during which I recounted my experiences ramping up an agile software development team and the challenges working with a more plan-driven operations department.

While I was in London, I could do a little sight seeing. Actually, I arrived a bit later in the evening, so I dashed around the nearby area and had a very quick look. Here are a few pictures that I took.

Paddington-station.png
Paddington
English-pub.png
English pub
Mini-room-tudor-hotel.png
Tudor Hotel
Hyde-park-1.png
Hyde Park #1
Hyde-park-2.png
Hyde Park #2
Hyde-park-3.png
Hyde Park #3

Each day during my commute from my home in Gouda to my work in Amsterdam, I spend anywhere from two to three hours a day sitting in my car. In the beginning it took me awhile to get used to the long haul, but after a while I could take it in stride and relax. Now after more than a year, it is starting to get on my nerves again having to spend so much time locked up behind the wheel, when I can think of better things to do.


View Larger Map

Typically I try to leave the house by 7am, meaning that I (hopefully) arrive at the office around a quarter past eight. At the end of the day, although I'd prefer to get out of the office earlier, there's often a last-minute meeting to attend or an unexpected emergency to tackle. I then cannot leave until after 6pm and (hopefully) get back home around seven-thirty.

Driving-to-work.png
Driving to work in the morning.

Driving-home.png
Driving back home in the evening.

I would say that the best way to approach things is with an open mind, but that is easier said than done. It's not as easy as it was in the good old days, things are more complicated now.

You've got to get things done, and there's not much time to think it over, make sense of the situation, understand what is going on before making important decisions. The deadline is approaching quickly, watch out or else.

So there is not much room over to hesitate, just get the job done or else. Don't panic, just do what is expected, whatever that is.

Talking with people isn't that easy, and figuring out what they actually mean compared to what they want to say is a challenge in itself. Try to be patient and understanding.

Step in their shoes, listen carefully and do not be afraid to expose yourself, that is what it is all about.

So you're in the middle of having a terrible argument with someone. You are absolutely convinced that you are right, and the other person's story doesn't make sense at all. You wonder how he cannot see your point of view. You've posed your views a number of times perfectly clearly and beyond a shadow of a doubt.

This is when you have to move from certainty to curiosity. In order to come to understand better the other person's side of the argument, you need to be curious and ask yourself how they can possible think that way. Put yourself in their shoes, understand their background and where he is coming from.

There's some kind of information that the other person has of which you are not aware. So rather than focussing on how irrational and crazy this person is, get curious and try to figure out what could possibly be the reason that their view can make any sense.

Certainty means hitting our head against the wall in hopeless and frustrating repetition. Curiosity opens the door and let's us enter into the other person's story.

The goal anyway is not so much attaining absolute certainty as getting closer to a mutual understanding that makes all parties involved feeling better.

First of all I would like to understand better what all of the commotion is about. Alot of people running around complaining and things are about to get out of control.

There is the emotional aspect and there is also the pragmatic intellectual aspect that need to be kept in balance with each other. Many people are upset but it is still unclear what the root cause might be.

All hands on deck, and even more.

At this moment in time that does not seem to be the case nor will that be the case within the near future. So what is there to do and how should one react? Each and every situation has its own particular reasons, so let's focus on the most important matters at hand.

The key is to remain cool, calm and collected, also known as the three C's. I learned this very important message from my parents when I was a kid, and it has stuck with me ever since.

Such sound advice is just as applicable back then as it is now.

Stop being angry. Be aware. Remain postive. Try and be a better person. Mediate and use relaxation techniques. Be yourself no matter what.

Whatever the situation might be, it's time to resolve your life according to the following 3C protocol: Cool, calm and collected.

Sdu-parking-lot.png

It's been a long day and I figure it's time to go home. Most everyone has left already, and as one can see the parking lot is mostly empty. Too bad that I still have a long journey back home and won't be there for at least an hour or so. When I finally get back home I will be happy and relieved that it is weekend again.

Sdu-Information-Solutions.JPG
That's my office on the 5th floor, 2nd window from the left.

After a long hard day at work, it's time to turn my back to the office building, get in my car and drive back home. Tomorrow it's off to the other side of the world, California here I come. I will probably not be missed.

Today is my last day as a so-called free man. If being unemployed for the last few months can really qualify as real freedom. Bumming around and trying to find goals day by day is not my favorite activity.

Tomorrow I get to join the ranks again of those fine upstanding working folks out there. Get up bright and early, learn more stuff and meet new colleagues, and have some purpose in life again. Renewed and invigorated, you're never too old for that.

Having so much time leftover has certainly improved my golf game immensely at least. Looking through my records for this year, not counting all the match plays, I've managed to play more than ninety rounds, with an average score of 81.4. My highest score was a lousy 92 and my lowest score was an inspiring 71, which I had twice.

However, playing good golf isn't everything, and it certainly doesn't pay the bills. Back to the real world for me. I wonder how much my golfing skills will suffer, I hope not much.

With more money in the bank, I can buy new clubs and other golfing paraphernalia, which in theory might help improve my game. I will drive to work and my golf clubs will travel with me everywhere. Who knows when an unexpected golfing opportunity might arise while I'm on the road.

I was late and had a train to catch. Because of the heavy rainstorm that night, by morning the subterranean walkway to the platform was flooded several centimeters high.

Nature was challenging me yet again with one of her creative obstacles.

In order not to miss the train and arrive at work on time, I had a difficult decision to make. My quick deductions narrowed down the choices to three possibilities:

  • Turn around and go back up, take a longish detour and make a mad dash around to the opposite entrance to the train station which was still dry, taking five additional minutes.
  • Take off my shoes, then my socks and roll up my pants, wading carefully though the water in my bare feet, which would take an extra minute.
  • Take the dare, make a large leap and just run as fast as I could through the water hoping not to get too soaked, which would result in no delay at all.

Most of the older people had calmly positioned themselves to the side or were reclining on the stairs taking off shoes and socks, while the younger folks were making large leaps and just going for it. A couple people had turned around but were standing in mid-step, motionless with their backs to the water wondering if what they were doing was the right choice.

Being young at heart and not wanting to risk being late, I made two cautious steps backwards, ascending slightly, and not thinking I took the running leap.

This was risky business but invigorating at the same time. It reminded me of the good old days as a kid when running through puddles was so much fun. The great part is that while doing running through the water, you get to splash all of the carefully wading people and soak them anyway.

By the time I arrived in Amsterdam my feet were completely dry, but the adventure remains to this day fresh in my mind.

Too often one is so consumed by a jungle of intertwined thoughts that the beauty of the nearby surroundings is completely foresaken.

Having tried to solve an especially complicated problem for the last couple of days already, I needed an escape. I decided to take an extended lunch break this time by walking further than normal along the canals of Amsterdam. It didn't matter where as long as I stopped tackling that ornery mountain of code for a bit, return to normalcy.

Keizersgracht.jpg
View of the Keizersgracht where I work.

The walk was alright I guess, getting away from it all. When I crossed the last bridge on my return to the office, I was at once struck by a wonderful, serene scene of peaceful movements. The gentle splashing of the tourists in the paddle boat is what woke me. Right there in front of me and I had missed it completely when walking earlier the other way. I took this picture so that I would not forget the awe of that special moment.

Mo more than five seconds after I snapped this picture using my mobile phone, the answer to the problem came to me in a flash. Better get back quickly before I forget.

That's the building where I work in the distance on the left right about the middle of the photograph.

Also for the sake of completeness notice on the right of the picture the girl bicycling ever so swiftly going to who knows where.

Random entries

Here are some random entries that you might be interested in:

Recent Assets

  • rotterdam-suburban-art.png
  • screenshot-www.youtube.com-2022.05.10-19_26_11.png
  • delphi-ruins-greece.png
  • 2022-hr1-27-golf-team.png
  • 1980-thea-and-kiffin-snow-small.png
  • escape-room-gouda.png
  • kpn-rotterdam.png
  • NYT-Ukraine-960x600.jpg
  • 1976 El Gabilan Salinas High Year Book Golf Team.png
  • 1976-El-Gabilan-Salinas-High-Year-Book.png
  • ik-geef.png
  • safe-and-secure.png

Recent Comments

  • Long time no see: I remember them, as well. I remember Donald was my ...
    - Charles
  • Bridge to the moon: Yes it was a drawing and my older brother told me ...
    - jpmcfarlane
  • Bridge to the moon: Wow, that's quite a coincidence that we both sent ...
    - Kiffin
  • Bridge to the moon: Hello I was in my teens when Gemini 4 went up that ...
    - jpmcfarlane
  • Back to work: Congratulations Kiffin, I hope it is something you ...
    - KathleenC

Golf Handicap

Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2448 entries and as many as 1877 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

My mother passed away 3-27-2018 ago.

Started Gishtech 04-25-2016 ago.