Year MMXVIII summarized in 4 minutes7 min read

  • Was super excited to see a GNOME hackfest focused solely on investigating performance issues in GNOME Shell, and the great work that happened from 2019 to 2021 on that front. It made a huge difference.
  • Was thrilled that Mozilla finally got their sh!t together when it comes to performance in Firefox, with the initial release of Firefox Quantum in late 2017. This was one of the first times since 2010 where I had a somewhat solid argument to convince Chrome users to consider Firefox again. Personally however, I was stuck on pre-quantum Firefox up until 2019 due to my reliance on Quicksaver’s “Tab Groups” extension (the successor to the Panorama feature), which eventually got succeeded by Drive4ik’s “Simple Tab Groups” extension, which is an absolute must-have; if you’re a chaos warrior, use it—you’ll thank me later.
  • Participated in various Montréal urban design public consultation events, such as this one.
  • Went to FOSDEM for the first time. It was cold and wet, and I did not see any talks, but I did see Adrien Plazas and made him wear a horribly obnoxious blue shirt. In his presence, I discovered the marvel that are lambic beers, pretty much the only beer I ever liked in my life. How the rest of the world accepts drinking any other type of alcoholic beverage is beyond me. Sorry, Red Hatters, but the Starobrno doesn’t come anywhere close.
Pictured: meeting the elePHPant at FOSDEM. Allegedly not Adrien Plazas inside the costume.
  • Was given a full-length wool cloak, which is perfect for winter, especially when standing watch on windy days. Best waifu gift ever. I later had it modded, adding a faux-fur rim around the hood, additional hook loops, buttons, arm slits, etc. My childhood friends were deeply exasperated by my unconventional outerwear choices. I maintain that cloaks are eminently practical and superior to coats in many respects, and that I’m just too fashion-forward for my friends’ tastes.
  • Bought “swiftwater” Crocs shoes, again much to the exasperation of my close friends. Finally something that doesn’t rip apart in the span of two years (super comfortable and water-proof are also key advantages). They are even great for DDR!
  • Roadtripped the land of ice and fire, in the backseat of a minivan with a dozen friends. Can confirm: if you don’t like the weather in Iceland, wait five minutes. Otherwise, when devoid of humans, Iceland is a nice place. I guess I am the last generation to have experienced icebergs and WOW Air.
  • Visited various cities in Spain in the middle of summer. Re-learned Spanish in a week discussing with taxi drivers during GUADEC. Eastern and Southern Spain certainly has pleasant weather.
  • Sat in a bistro alley of Almeria with Tobias Bernard, Jordan Petridis and (I believe?) Jakub Steiner, as Tobias explained, with much passionate conviction, his plans to convince Linux distributions to ship only Adwaita (with a recoloring API) and stop theming GNOME apps. I definitely saw the appeal as an application developer myself, but as an (un)official member of the GNOME “Old Farts club” (I never got stickers or a pipe) who had witnessed the Desktop Wars of the mid-2000’s, and as someone who was enjoying the then undergoing reconciliation after six years of sometimes tense relationships with downstream vendors, I listened with some mild amusement and wished him good luck on achieving that diplomatically (fast-forward to 2021, it turns out that the most high-profile shitstorm came, to my surprise, from a pretty different downstream partner).
Crowd at GUADEC 2018
  • Discovered the fantastic tool that is SweetHome3D, and modelled a home in a day, with no prior 3D CAD/BIM software experience.
  • Discovered CHANS’ battery rebuild service for laptops, ebikes, power tools, etc.
  • Met and welcomed Dr Julien Meyer (seen below working in style on my terrace during the warm season) as a guest in my home for a month or two, until he would find an apartment to rent near the office. Wonderful gentleman with amazing all-around culture and artisanal skillset (complementing his architecture, engineering & construction research knowledge), that I am happy to count as a good friend to this day.
  • The waifu moved in with me for Q4 2018, along with an extremely lazy corgi dog. As she had been deeply abused by her work environment throughout 2018 to the point of utter burnout, she ended up taking an extended vacation in my home where I nursed her back to health from Q4 2018 to Q2 2019.
Behold, Mac Owain the corgi, quite possibly the laziest dog you could find in these lands. So lazy, in fact, that I had to drag it around like a floor mop to make it go outside, as you can see in this video.
  • My colleague/friend James ended his life at 39.
    I cried for the first time in probably twenty five years, wrote this farewell, and then traveled to his funeral where I found some closure.
    Incidentally, while I was there, I also saw some of the heartland and its social fabric. With my nascent awareness of “back row America“, the opioid epidemic and symptomatic despair deaths of the “forgotten people” (see also: the unnecessariat), it is then that I understood, I think, what led to the rise of Trumpism some years prior. Division in the USA is not necessarily about red vs blue states, nor just urban vs rural. It is, among other things, decades of collapsing socio-economic conditions and a general feeling of betrayal and being ignored by the establishment, all crystallized into an ideology of mistrust; thus why you can’t really recover that demographic once it has organized and radicalized.
François discussing with James, when we last met him at a get-together in San Francisco.
  • I completed my third yearly term on the two real estate boards of directors, and sought a replacement to fill my seat, as I was scheduled to move to a different location a few months later, and also because my life had gotten pretty darned complicated and stressful at this point. I might get involved there again someday, but in the meantime, the toughest part was done and the facilities were in good hands, so “mission accomplished”.
  • Around the same period, a certain technology manufacturing company started asking me to meet increasingly unreasonable objectives, such as near-single-handedly doubling/tripling sales every month (I believe anyone who worked in sales & marketing will laugh heartily at this), while also asking me to turn a blind eye to supply chain issues & product design considerations, which is just not what a true CMO does.