Hacking 2018: Code, Books, Food, Beer and 15 Minutes of Fame

Bray to Greystones cliff walk

The best things that happen in life are those that require change. A change of underwear after a nice shower, a change of scenery after the mundane of the day to day and a change of attitude towards one’s self and life.

In 2018 I did absolutely none of the above. Wait. No. I did change my underwear and had a shower. Several showers! But I didn’t really change anything else other than a leaky faucet . Change happened a good few years ago, and after a rollercoaster 2017 that saw me not only surviving a major company restructuring, but even advancing in my career, become a home owner and a teeny tiny little cactus on the windowsill, 2018 was the year to deflate, travel less, read more books (or at least buy them), reflect and improve discreetly.

I had a very long to-do list for 2018, inhumanely long. Managing to tick of circa 65% of things only confirmed that I’m still setting myself goals to remind me of my humanity, life’s tendency to derail one’s plans if even ever so slightly, but nevertheless push myself to reach the unattainable.

It’s been a year of lessons. Both actual and figurative. As a lifelong learner, studying has always been part of my day-to-day but 2018 has probably topped the list. That’s 7 courses, 800 lessons finished, while currently enrolled in 2 other mammoth courses totalling over 150 lessons. From React to Next.js, from Redux to GraphQL, and from WebPack 4 to Progressive Web Apps, it’s been a heck of ride and while my brain keeps telling me it is nearing its capacity, I still manage to find nooks and crannies every day to fill with new information.

In terms of figurative lessons, here’s one that I’ll probably take to the grave. Life is a long journey of finding things out. Not about winning or getting somewhere specific. It’s a list of questions and various answers that eventually lead you to where you are tomorrow; and if during that journey you haven’t contracted any STDs, gotten in financial trouble, there aren’t any nudies of you on the interweb, you’re not doing drugs and kept your alcohol levels at a decent minimum, you’re probably doing much better than most people. Kumbaya, I say. Kumba. Friggin’. Ya! — by my humble self

Kumbaya my lord, Kumbaya (Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Scene)

From content engineering to platform engineering in less than 6 months. From dealing with .epub standards, ebook layout styles and web accessible content to having to get to grips with ng-react, remembering how Angular 1.x works, learning React, Redux, developing production ready code, deploying across environments, unit testing, end-to-end testing, dealing with Git hooks, flipping out about non web accessible React components, and a trillion other things, I’ve been thrown into the deep end and emerged as a champion of coding standards, teamwork and web accessibility with some great fun and beer on the side.

Speaking of which, the goal to try 100 unique beers in 2018 has definitely been reached according to my Untappd score (the extra 19 are from last year):

I’m not calling myself a beer connoisseur just yet, but I’ve noticed that knowing how the IBU rating of a beer affects the bitterness of it, and subsequently the type of beer (lager, ale, IPA, stout), does give me an edge over most people already!

Coupled with good beer of course comes great food, and I’ve had some really amazing meals in 2018. From steak sandwiches like this:

Steak sandwich @ http://boeuf.ie/

to an actual steak:

Steak @ https://featherblade.ie/

And of course one cannot go a trimester without at least one proper Full Irish:

Full Irish @ https://www.theriddler.ie/

Having a place of your own opens your life up to an array of new possibilities. From walking around naked after a shower — which we’ve established, I definitely had, and several that is — to arguing with the code on your monitor on an unnaturally high pitched tone, burping loudly between two sips of blood orange San Pellegrino, to more traditional ones, like starting your own library which has been great fun so far, not because I’ve read any of the books, but because I bought them, I have them and they’re all definitely a conversation starter. Will also read them at some point…

Titles include but are not limited to: Irishology, The Fecking Book of Irish History, The New Yorker Encyclopaedia of Cartoons, God Hates Us All, Humans of Dublin, Made in North Korea, The Book of Kells, I Justine, The Fundamentalist, Walt Disney — Life in Pictures, The Communist Manifesto, Inside North Korea, The Apocrypha, The Torah, The Quran, Fire and Fury, Mein Kampf, The Asshole Survival Guide, The Atlas of Beauty and some others.

Now, of course these range from incredibly interesting to highly controversial, but regardless, many of these are books that shaped our pop culture and history, therefore one must not live driven by ignorance, but childlike curiosity and interest of the yet to be understood.

Speaking of reading, 2018 has given me numerous opportunities to write, opportunities that I took, opportunities that made me soar from a mere 100 followers on Medium to nearly 600, from just over 1000 average reads a month to nearly 7.000 with my article on React reaching over 22.000 reads, giving me my “15 minutes of fame”.

2018 has been a good year, but an exhausting year as well. I can’t shake off the feeling that I’ve hacked a lot of it, that I haven’t had time to plan things out as well as I wanted, which naturally distresses me, as I don’t thrive on chaos, but on a positive note, I did it, and I did it my way, keeping true to my goal set in 2012 of becoming the absolute best version of myself. It hasn’t been easy, I’ve lost and gained people, dear friends along the way, I’ve upset some, ignored some, haven’t hugged as many as I wish I had, but I’m still here, I’m still driven and still shooting for the stars!

To those who stuck around, I can only say thank you, and a happy new year! Boldog uj evet! An nou fericit! Athbhliain faoi shéan is faoi mhaise daoibh!

Attila Vagowriter of codes, blogs and things that live on the web. Programming polyglot, pragmatic doer, member of the “taking care of business” crowd, with a no nonsense attitude. An easily inspired inspirational individual with a strong predilection towards most things nerdy, good, carnivorous food, and Lego. Uses a Mac. Runs at 6 a.m.

HackerNoon and Quora author.

Writer of code, blogs and things that live on the web. Pragmatic doer, Lego fan, Mac user, cool nerd. JavaScript and Flutter enthusiast. HMH.engineering editor.