There's snow on the ground and, regardless of what other people think of the crystallised hazard-water, it makes me happy! There's a lot of good that comes with seeing the world covered up and pristine. For some people it can make an otherwise dreary season wonderful and exciting. For others, it can act as the perfect reason to stay inside and enjoy a little rest or relaxation. Others still might come to see their surroundings differently and look for new ways to appreciate the other times of year … maybe.

Either way, when there's snow on the ground I'm reminded of a lot more good times than bad.

Birthday Boy

The boy turns 1 year of age today, which means that I've not completely failed as a parent to keep him safe from harm. Birthdays in this part of Asia are slightly different from the ones I participated in while growing up in Canada, in that children are often encouraged to thank their mother for giving them life. This is in addition to Mother's Day, and is a nice sentiment that I'd like to ensure my son keeps. While we may not all ask to be here, we can certainly thank the people who went through the pain to bring us into existence.


My hair is beginning to go from brown to silver, and I'm quite happy to see the change taking place. This is something I've wanted to see since I was a teen.


After a late-night meeting with the company's head offices in New Jersey, my future is a complete unknown. Will I still have a job with this company in 2019? No idea. The project I'm working on? It's gone later this year. The career paths I've been forging? Deleted. External hires will do the job that I've been asking to for years to do.

Now what?

Custom vs. iMac

In the near future I'll potentially have the ability to work from home for the most part, which means that a desktop-grade machine now makes sense to use. The question I'm considering now is whether I should buy an Apple iMac or go with a custom-built solution that can provide the best amount of digital processing for the buck. An iMac Pro is out of the question, and the data sets I'll be working with measure in the hundreds of gigabytes making cloud offerings both expensive and a data security concern. Something local is what's needed.

Pros of an iMac:

  • the stuff generally "just works"
  • already have all the software licenses required
  • already in the ecosystem
  • aesthetically pleasing
  • reduces the desire to upgrade given the complexities in doing so

Pros of a Custom-Built System:

  • able to expand on my own terms
  • can run macOS in a VM and still use key software
  • can use better-grade video and expansion cards
  • can really make use of the true speed of the hardware
  • better value proposition given ease of repair, upgrade, and operation

Portability will still matter when I'm out and about, but the current MacBook Pro will suffice when I'm away from home. What's needed is something with a good deal of processing power and memory to do the things notebooks generally cannot.

While I will likely not need to make any decision this year, given all the other expensive things that have been cutting into the savings as of late, this is certainly in the cards for 2019.

The Value of a Dollar

In addition to being "a Monday", the weather today is quite dreary. This combination often results in a headache that doesn't go away with medicine or rest, so coffee is in order. So after two cups of ineffectual office-supplied coffee, I made the trek across the street to Starbucks where I ordered a grande vanilla latte and was sticker-shocked when the person behind the counter asked for 496円 … nearly 70円 more than I remember paying the last time I ordered one of these. Just about everything is becoming more expensive, but is the price worth the product or service? For a lot of things around this part of Japan, the answer is leaning ever more towards "no".


Halfway into my 3-month Spotify trial, I'm wondering if it makes sense to keep the subscription. A lot of the music I listen to is music from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s that I bought on CD or iTunes. Why would I want to pay for things I already own? Just the convenience of having stuff at my fingertips? Being able to listen to new albums from some artists before buying the whole item? It does not make logical or financial sense, but the alternatives have way too much friction involved …

Bonus — Name These Tunes!

Here's a fun little bonus: name the three songs. Too easy? What year were they released? Find out next week!

Teachable Moments

On Monday I have a pretty important meeting with some colleagues in Europe to talk about the problems with "the Big CMS" that has been developed internally at the day job. While the conversation is important, language will need to be watched to ensure people are not too offended. The problem essentially boils down to this: due to early decisions, our multi-million dollar investments are costing more and more to maintain than to develop. A lot of very smart people have looked into the issue over the years and come away saying "That's just the way it is". That said, thanks to a little bit of investigative work, the problems needn't be permanent issues.

How does one go about saying "the money we've invested on resolving the performance issues has been a waste, primarily because the underlying software is poorly written" without being shown the door?

Data Sovereignty

As countries begin to enact data sovereignty laws, companies need to think about where information rests. Data Sovereignty is the idea that data are subject to the laws and governance structures within the nation it is collected. In addition to the concept of sovereignty, organisations should think about people's Right to be Forgotten and how to implement the expectations in their software.

In the first half of this episode, I talk about some of the ways data sovereignty is coming up at the day job, while in the second half I look at how this idea plus the Right to be Forgotten is implemented within 10Centuries.