Spring Sabbatical Review

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I took off from writing for the month of March. It helps me to not burn out and focus on a other things. Here are a few highlights.


We planted a garden. We didn’t get around to doing that last year, so this year we started early by building a couple 4x4 ft raised beds and ordering soil from a local business. After several hours with shovel and wheel barrow and a trip to the nursery for seeds, we are now growing several kinds of lettuce, Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, kale, spinach, parsley, and dill. Some of the plants, despite a late snow, are already sprouting! This crop is for Spring, so it’ll all be harvested by June. Then we plant our summer crops. We also put in a cherry tree! We’re not expecting cherries anytime soon, but maybe we will be surprised.

Cherry Blossoms

Snow shoes We celebrated three birthdays, none with elaborate parties. It was good to spend time with family and a small circle of friends instead. I took the day off and went snow shoeing on our mountain. I also brought my hammock and just chilled for a bit, ate a sandwich, and read a book. It was lovely, if a bit a cold without a blanket.

tracks in the snow

I wrote a Rust app. Probe is a ZMQ Pub/Sub monitor that allows me to display network traffic from multiple sources at a glance. With complex systems that communicate over ZMQ, this makes debugging issues at any step a breeze. I expect certain traffic patterns and immediately know which service is not acting as it should. The practical benefit of Probe was one reason I developed it; another was an excuse to learn Rust. For an engineer like me to learn a new language is like an artist branching out into another medium, or a farmer getting a new piece of machinery. It increases productivity, marketability, and proficiency. It is also very fun! Rust lets you create low-level, high performance applications that are memory safe at compile time, instead of runtime. That means bugs show up as you’re coding and building the app, instead of when you’re running it. That’s a huge time saver! And it’s safer: the majority of security vulnerabilities and hacks are due to faulty memory management.


As I teased before my sabbatical, I have a great article lined up for next week which I hope to be the first of many of that kind. I hope to see you then!