Calling in

It’s been a while since I posted here. I’ve been long overdue with updating anything here.

Not that anyone reads this, but okay; let me live with the illusion that it actually makes a difference to someone when I post something here.

First off; I have given up on the HTTPS project for now. Oxle will remain to be an unencrypted site, for now. It might change in the future, but I’m not giving any priority to it.

Second; the last – say – 7 months have been quite a ride and at the same time a break. Mid 2016 a very dear friend of mine gave me the opportunity to get back to the professional workfloor, and allowed me to get from 5×2 hours a week up to 5×8 hours a week at an assignment with Philips Healthtech. While my work was strictly in IT before the CVA, focussing on what we geeks like to call ‘digital workplace’ and ‘application delivery’, this assignment at Philips in Best (NL) was nowhere near something like that. Instead it was about quality control and quality improvement in the manufacturing of high tech health equipment using statistical analysis.

Kai Zen

It was my first introduction to Kaizen, Six Sigma and Hoshin Kanri, and I have a learned a lot. My task wasn’t that hard or really difficult, as it more or less came down to putting data from one format into another format and preparing it for analysis using Minitab. However beyond that, I also grabbed the opportunity (very Kaizen) to attempt to improve the data collection and registration process. All of these areas where new to me; process analysis and improvement, statistical analysis, manufacturing processes, Kaizen, Lean. Very little of the things I was familiar with in the purely IT focussed environment I was used to.

The assignment at Philips gave me the challenge and the opportunity to get back to the rythm of the workfloor, to interact with other people and at the same time to challenge myself into learning something new. Well, I sure did and it was fantastic. I am grateful for the guidance, advise and opportunity given to me by Ralf, Mano and Wouter and for all the people at Philips Healthtech who accepted my quirks and ignorance during the months I was assigned there.

The TOGAF ADM

After reaching the full 40 hours a week and maintaining that for 4 weeks the assignment ended and early January I got back to Atos where I prepared myself for a new ‘real’ assignment for a customer or project. Well, that didn’t happen until April, but ofcourse I didn’t know that it would take that long.

To make good use of the momentum and to test the new me, I firmly grabbed every opportunity to learn and improve myself. Not just to evolve, but also to re-evaluate whether or not I still had the ability to learn and apply new abilities in my work.

At the end of February I took the TOGAF 9.1 course, and passed the exam ‘The Open Group TOGAF® 9.1 Combined (OG0-093-ESL)’ in the first week of March. Also I enlisted in the 4-month Atos internal ‘Masterclass Infrastructure Architecture’, which started on March 8th, enabling me to apply the TOGAF theory in practice. During this course, evolving around a faux customer that required an architecture study for their entire IT landscape, I was able to apply the skills and knowledge I had before the infarction, together with the newly aqcuired knowledge. The milestone was in July, at the final presentation of the architecture study. Together with fellow teammates Maurice and Willy I delived the study in a presentation to the board of the ‘customer’. There I was, less than 20 months after the CVA, able to present and to answer questions. Again confident in my own knowledge and my own skills. The new me, able to do what the old me was doing, and more.

Joris on my back at the Dreimühlen falls
At the Dreimühlen falls

Last month my wife, the kids and I went on a trip to Germany. With Joris, the youngest at nearly 2 years old, on my back, I climbed the narrow 25 meter tower of Kasselburg. The descent was the most challenging (anti-clockwise, required 100% of my right side), but I did it. With Joris on my back we hiked to the Dreimühlen falls and we had many more hikes in the area. I drove us there. I drove us back.

Yes, in certain areas the new me is not able. My handwriting is awful and a crowded environment for me equals auditory over-stimulation resulting in impaired speech and distorted motor skills on the right side. Packing the stuff for the trip to Germany is too much for me (sensory over-stimulation). But I’m back on track and that’s what counts.

Next year, we plan to go camping just as we did up until 2015. Bring it on!

HTTPS headaches

I’m trying to figure out what has to be done to get oxle and phomago to run on https instead of plain(text) old http.

Well, so far it hasn’t been working out that well. Hosting is done at Siteground, and they have Let’s Encrypt and stuff, however I have set the DNS to be handled at CloudFlare (seperate from the Siteground account, as I wasn’t using Siteground yey when I switched to CloudFlare for DNS).

Now, Sitegrounds Let’s Encrypt method seems to clash with CloudFlare Free (the plan I’m using there) and WordPress doesn’t seem to work well with that. Long story short: when I turn on https on WordPress, accessing the site seems to work, but entering the admin area of the site is broken. ‘Too many redirects’ it sais….

Well. Something I have to remedy, as I don’t believe http should be used anymore. Not just because Google is dropping non-encrypted content to the end of the results, or because Chrome and FireFox are issuing warnings to users accessing http sites with contact forms and such. But because I really think eavesdropping on my visitors should simply be made extremely difficult if not impossible. And no, there’s not much sensitive data on here, but it’s nobodies business what you are reading. Simple as that.

At least it’ll keep me busy for the next couple of days, that’s for sure. 😉

Bzzzzzk

Bzzzzzk, that’s the sound I imagine a brain makes when it has a serious malfunction. Well, that’s exBzzzzkactly what happened to me last year.
At the end of 2015, the 20th of November to be exact, I suffered from a cerebral infarction (due to a partial dissection as a result of sneezing….yes, sneezing) which eradicated 75% of my cerebellum (also known as the small brains). I am lucky to be alive and extremely lucky to have recovered the way I already have done so far. I am certainly not the drooling pile of human flesh sitting in a wheelchair the doctors expected. I still have a lot of limitations due to the infarction; daily fatigue (not to be mixed up with the laziness I exhibited all my life), the motor skills on the right side are damaged (resulting in many difficulties writing, typing, drawing, walking, etc and my dancing skills certainly haven’t improved) plus a more slowly and sometimes slurred speech.
All very much posing a royal pain in the backside, but given the fact that I lost approximately 37,5% of all brain cells and connections this can be considered an extremely decent result.

However, due to this it was impossible for me to keep the site alive and it went into oblivion for little over 7 months. Using some partial backups I have managed to restore part of the contents but it is nowhere near what it was before. A relatively freshs start so to speak, with some old content to kick-start it.
Also my photography (at phomago.com) has come to a grinding halt. However I still have the hope to pick that up in the years to come. But until then, I no longer am an art photographer.
Now, in July 2016, the first step for me is reviving Oxle.com. After this, Phomago might follow.

Details about what exactly happened will be posted in the future as I really feel the urge to share this (rather incoherent) story; every day there are numerous people who have this happen to them or to their loved ones.

With sharing this and future stories I hope to be able to provide some recognition and acknowledgement.

Burning the bridge

It’s been over a year since I “closed” the old forum at oxle.com. They remained accessible in read-only mode during the past year, but today I’m taking the next step by actually removing the old forums, along with the database.
The oxle linkshrinker has also been decommissioned, after shrinking 2744 links in the last 10 years.
Along with it, the domain oxle.nl will be abandoned; when it expires, it will not be renewed by me.

No backups, no CTRL-Z. May the burning bridge light the path that lays ahead.

The forums, newsfeed and ‘blogs’ at Oxle were fun while they lasted, but as I explained on numerous occasions before, there no longer is any need for me to provide a generic forum.

The story still continues for my two remaining websites; the one you’re looking at and phomago, my photography portfolio.
Both are just simple WordPress websites, so I no longer have any need for a webhosting platform that provides support for MS SQL, ASP or ASP.NET.
Plain old PHP and MySQL will do just fine.

The next couple of weeks I’ll be investigating which webhosting company I should switch over to. It’s been a while since I looked into that, and I guess there has happened quite a lot in the landscape of webhosting companies. If you have any suggestions for a reliable webhosting company, please let me know in the comments.