Joined Freedom Internet!

For years my internet provider was XS4ALL, which started in the ‘90s from a small hacker group and was one of the first providers in the Netherlands. It has always been a provider with a strong ethical background.

The Church of Scientology sued XS4all in the past for not wanting to take unwanted information about them offline, and the internet provider has often acted proactively due to privacy issues.

In the early 2000s, KPN bought the company, but the brand and organization still survived, and they have kept it alive until last year. KPN has chosen to consolidate all its brand names under the KPN name, including XS4ALL. Many fear this will mean the end of the XS4all spirit, and concerned customers and loyal employees started a new provider: Freedom Internet!

I joined them as a founder and small-time investor and am now one of the lucky 128 first connected customers!

FritBox Freedom

Reviewing GitLab Commit

IIt took a while since my last post, but there was so much to process! Having visited San Francisco after half a week of touristic sightseeing, the GitLab Commit buzz started to fizz at the speakers’ dinner.
The actual day started early with a walk down market street, passing the Twitter headquarters and Uber HQ on my left side conspicuously.

Being part of the Agile Transformation track, I stayed most of the day at presentations given by my fellow track mates. At the end of the day, when it was my turn, it all came nicely together, and I could connect all the stories of the day. During the day, I saw exciting takes on Digital Transformation.

During my days at GitLab Commit, I met interesting people! I discovered that there is definitely a demand for differentiated training options. Exactly what we want to offer. Not only for GitLab as a technical product! But also very much in embedding it into existing of future development processes.

A new beginning

Aonther reason why it took some time to create new blogposts is because during the last month a carefully devised plan has taken root! Together with Wijnand Top I am starting the C]I/CD training Academy!

We believe that Agile in general and especially CI/CD concept are misunderstood in big organizations and we can help making it work.

Collecting data and opinions

In preparation for my talk at GitLab Commit, I have asked several people about their experiences with GitLab in larger organizations. It seems it is installed in a lot of cases by developers or system administrators themselves, creating a grassroots movement pushing CI/CD.

If you are using GitLab in your company, what are your experiences?

I would love to hear from you and created a questionnaire. It is anonymous, and the data won’t be used commercially.

Link to questionaire

Speaking at GitLab Commit!

One of my dreams has come true! I am going to San Francisco in California! And also for an excellent reason. I am allowed to deliver a talk at GitLab Commit in January 2020!

gitlab commit

The talk will be about the easy acceptance of GitLab in startup culture versus the more tough environment of the enterprise.

GitLab is very popular on the internet and has an excellent reputation amongst developers. The CI feature has been ranked as top of it’s class. A lot of GitLab installations are championed
by developers and are adopted by IT departments. While is very easy to start coding in a small team and create products with all the integrated features of GitLab, it takes more effort to align
each feature into an existing enterprise organization.
Several questions come to mind when thinking of growing GitLab in an enterprise environment:

  • What are the hurdles for a developer or for a team to push GitLab company wide?
  • How does GitLab fit in the bigger picture of an enterprise organization?
  • Why is it so hard to scale in a heavily regulated environment?

Having worked at a small startup and adopting GitLab from 2014 onwards, I know how it fit’s naturally in the startup ecosystem. I have also witnessed the proces of scaling GitLab at
big bank in the Netherlands and learned a big deal from it. When I wrote the book “Mastering GitLab 12’ I also scaled GitLab for different customers in a cloud setting.

New kids class: html basics

The last couple of years I have teached some Minecraft and Scratch programming at the elementary school my kids are attending. Together with one of the other fathers I am trying a new concept today. Let’s see if we can teach them to build basic websites. I have found some great courses at Skillsdojo and we will use those.

Update: It was a great succes! We have learned the kids how to create a basic html page with paragraph and header tags, images and video embedding. Just the basics, as there were kids from 8 years old up to the age of 12.

An example:

Big versus small

Now that my book has been published I have more time to think. It crossed my mind today that my earliest encounter with GitLab was in 2014, when we needed an on-premise git server, and preferably open-source.
GitHub was already very popular back then. I remember how smoothly the install was using the Omnibus installer. We were with only 4 developers, and we did not even use issue management or any kind of CI for that matter.

Years later, when I worked at ING with GitLab, it was still the same smooth Omnibus install.. but in a totally different environment. Banks and other big organizations operate in a context and are scrutinized, and compliancy is valued highly.

Some people (especially in the startup world), are horrified by prospect of having to install and maintain a software product in such an enterprise. Or have no idea what they are getting into…

I have a number of examples to show the both the startup globalists and the enterprise machiavallists ultimately share a lot of similarities.

My book is published

After more than a year of hard work (besides the daily job), my book about GitLab has been published! Somewhere in the summer of 2018, a publisher approached me with the question, ‘Can you write a book about GitLab for us?’
At that time, we were migrating GitLab to a private cloud at the ING bank. I had a lot of inspiration for explaining how to scale GitLab in a corporate environment. So I decided to give it a shot.
Unfortunately, about halfway writing the book, ING decided to migrate some activities to the Azure cloud, including GitLab’s code repository and CI functionalities.

So the inspiration for the last part of my book was from that point in time fueled by creating infrastructures in AWS instead of using a private cloud on-premise. The tools used are not necessarily different.

Mastering GitLab 12 - Implement DevOps culture and repository management solutions

Book cover

A bit more personal

So, this is 2019. What is changing for me? Wel.. I am not going to spill al of my life over here, but I am planning to blog more.

I totally agree with Jaron Lanier that the current social media are flawed. They are based on the ‘freemium’ model using adverts. He argues they are not ‘social’ anymore as we tend to see them but they have become ‘behavioral modification empires’. In his behavorial model the negative impulses get more rewarded than the positive ones, and this is bad.
I personally think this also is true for the schoolyard or playground, so maybe this it is a bit idealistic to think we can limit this.

He also thinks it is not too late. We can correct these mistakes from the 90’s.
Here is his TED-talk about this: We can delete our accounts and use personal sites or paid sites or other ways of celebrating culture and creativity (his words). Or remove the advertisement models, let people pay for things. We don’t need a situation where for two people to communicate a third entity is needed to facilitate this and at the same time manipulates this communication.

So… Let’s make this reality, bring back the blog , making it personal. New ways to connect just like the development of language. I am not as eloquent as Jared but I dig this idea.

I do think we should cherry-pick features from the ‘social media’ and try to reinvent them differently. How do we like each other stories? In the blog era there was ping-back and rss. I am not sure if that is the answer. These things should be simplified if we want people to switch.
What about ‘new social’ networks that promise to protect your privacy better? A new peer-to-peer system to connect personal blogs? The v3 web?

A technique that could aid in this is being developed by Tim Berners Lee new initiative. It aims to safeguard your privacy. The product they are building is called Solid:
‘Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value.’

If social media or blogs use this model to protect our sensitive data the world would become a better place!

New social media

New techniques to create media

Just some links about blogs