Getting a life?

I've just been so very busy with everything.

So, first off: work. I've continued working my day-job almost full-time, and that has reflected on the amount of free time I have. On the weekdays I never have the time nor the energy for anything productive, and weekends must be shared with everything else.

Despite all that I got some great work done on Tracker v3 earlier this year. I should write a separate blog post about it, as it is a big topic. But in short I ended up writing my own schema and code generation instead of FlatBuffers. Now initially the messages are serialized as JSON, but I have plans to move to a more effective format when I get everything else done. I also spent time figuring out an actor system called Akka.Net, which I also used for networking initially. Akka can be thought as a message processing framework. Unfortunately the networked performance of Akka isn't very good, and the message-based communication seemed to get too complex when combined with (potentially branching) asynchronous communication. I had a good prototype, but moved on to a "simpler" custom service and networking implementation focusing on request-response model. I'm basing the networking code on Tracker v2 and made some good progress, but it is still in progress. My biggest challenge currently is that I would have to decide on what kind of internal architecture I want to support, and have A LOT of open questions and pending work (oh god, will it ever be done???):
  • Support service instance sharing?
  • Other ways of sharing data?
  • Service instance pooling, for example for database workers?
  • Task-based or not Task-based?
  • How to best support asynchronity, while keeping good performance?
  • Message queueing and buffering? Optimized data structures and piping code.
  • Back-pressure?
  • Am I really going to write my Master's Thesis on this??
And as if this isn't enough, I've been FINALLY trying to up my social life. And I can say without a doubt that this has taken a considerable amount of my energy. Without giving too much back. Depressing. I've made some new friendish connections, but nothing more than that.

And - again - as if I already didn't have enough things to do, I also tried making some music, as I couldn't resist getting a Novation Launchpad Pro. Another reason was that I was going to make all kinds of non-music stuff with it, but so far that has limited to making a rather simple Guild Wars 2 key mapping for it, for playing a music-themed minigame. Haven't done anything new with it lately.

Then there is also another time sink. I've wanted a good video camera for a long long time for various reasons, so I finally acted on that. Got a GoPro Hero 5 and the Karma Grip. Was going to take them to a holiday trip, but the delivery dragged on and on. So no holiday video. I shot some test material with, watched a lot more in Youtube, and in the end got bit by a camera-bug. This infestation caused me to upgrade the GoPro to a Panasonic Lumix GH5 with a 20mm f1.7 lens (H-H020, the only lens that was available to ship immediately). I've had the camera for about a month now, and am in the process of getting a 12-35mm f2.8 lens (H-HSA12035), because the camera has amazing video quality, and I'd like to use it more than the 20mm allows. The only weakest point is the autofocus. But despite this I have yet again a new hobby: vlogging. I already shot and edited the pilot-episode (cooked some food) on one Saturday (took almost the whole day!).

The episode turned out quite ok, but I'm still debating whether I dare to publish it, even after some tweaks. The thing is, that I've continued the self-discovery catalyzed by Life is Strange, and that video shows more of the unfiltered and buried personality of mine. I feel I'm not yet ready to expose that to the world. But even if I never publish that - or any other episode - shooting the video was a fun and therapeutic experience. The editing not that much .P

So, a lot has happened, and will continue to happen, but at a lot slower pace. At least when it comes to programming projects. I feel great sadness about this, but I guess this is called getting a life?