Darren Mothersele

Software Developer

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TinyLetter #3 - is the Magic Number

Feb 23, 2016


Posting up my third TinyLetter for posterity. See my contact page for details of how to join my “Friends and Family” email list.


I’m happy to say that I’m writing this from the comfort of our new home. Nikki and I found a lovely little flat, just a few minutes walk from Queens Park in North West London.

A week overlap before Nikki’s tenancy is up has given me a chance to have a clear out. I finally got all my stuff out of storage, after 6 months, and immediately set about purging. And it feels great!

The last time I had a clear out like this was several years ago, before my sojourn in Sardegna. Since returning to London I’ve collected quite a lot of crap. I recently read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. This gave me a different perspective on the process of tidying, and I hope this leads to lasting change. I’m certainly experiencing a clarity, and lightness, that tidying hasn’t given me before.

I spent a weekend in Brussels for FOSDEM, the annual Free and Open Source Developers Meeting. I joined over 5,000 developers to talk about open source and software freedom.

It was obvious, while enroute to the opening session, how different this event was going to be. If it wasn’t for the swarm of developers, or the delivery of a truck-load of Club Mate, you could have missed it.

This was my first FOSDEM. I’ve never been to a conference quite like this. There was no registration required to attend and the sponsorship was subtle. Unlike other tech conferences I’ve attended in recent years. Usually I’d expect excessive corporate branding, and sales pitches disguised as sessions.

In this sense, FOSDEM is the antithesis of the New Relic DevOps summit I attended last week. I had to leave this “summit” after just a couple of hours because it had been all sales pitch and no content.

FOSDEM packed in over 310 hours of scheduled content into the weekend. Various communities come together here united by common values of openness and freedom. Values that pervade through every aspect of the event.

My main takeaway from the weekend was a deeper understanding of the distinction between open source and free software. I’ve been struggling to reconcile my drive to be independent, and to go serverless. I didn’t reach any conclusions this weekend. I didn’t resolve anything, but hearing from others gave me some new perspectives.

On my return to London I attended Dialogue. I’ve become a regular attendee of these events, on the first Wednesday of the month. The event is “a creative dialogue between science, art, technology, ethics and politics.” Every month I leave frustrated, yet keep going back for more. This month was a subject close to my heart. The conversation was “Privacy, Protection, Publicity: Does Your Freedom Have Boundaries?”

As usual, there was an incredible panel of experts from various fields. But, as usual, the conversation didn’t go deep enough into any aspect of the topic. Instead, the discussion flits between reasoned insights and misinformed throwaway comments. Despite this the event is very entertaining and informative.

The current series has come to an end, and they’ve not annouced the next batch yet. I’ll keep an eye out, as it’s a worthwhile way to spend a Wednesday evening.

I continue to rethink my relationship with technology. This month I [wrote about my decision to leave WhatsApp](http://www.darrenmothersele.com/blog/2016/01/27/why-i-left-whatsapp/. I also summerised my ongoing dithering over what to do about Twitter.

Coming up in the next month…

DrupalCamp London accepted my session proposal. I’ll be talking about “surviving - and thriving - during the transition to Drupal 8”. This talk builds on a previous article where I used gentrification as a metaphore for changes in the Drupal community. I bring in some new research and experiences, and draw some interesting conclusions.

I will also be running a training day on the Friday. It will be the third year I’ve run training at the Camp. This time I’m doing something different. I’ve created a course called “Build your own PHP Framework.”

Conciousness Hacking

I’ll be attending this “Consciousness Hacking” meetup next month. I’m not sure what to expect, but the event intrigues me. It’s described as “a growing global community encouraging exploration into the ways that technology can be in service to the highest ideals of humanity and support the evolution of our individual and collective experience.” Sounds right up my street!

Have a great month! Drop me a line and let me know what you’re up to,

Thanks for reading,