Getting Back on the Blog Wagon (again)

I’m back on the blog wagon with an old/new blog. I had to close down my blog for a couple of months because it got hacked due to me not updating WordPress frequently enough. In the process of restoring my blog and setting up WordPress again I decided to change the name and location as well. I have several reasons for doing this starting with the direction of the blog. The direction has changed over the years and I now want to move it even further towards the craftsmanship and business of software. The general topic will be agile/lean, software development and entrepreneurship. I’ll leave all my old posts as reference, fun or trivia. Some of them might be relevant and some may not.

I also think that the old name, “Freedom Taking Over”, and the old domain don’t make much sense in this context. That’s why I’ve decided to move the blog and rename it to “The Zuul Cat Idea Brewery” or The Zuul Cat Blog for short.

w00t?! You said! That makes even less sense.

I would like to tell you the story of Zuul Cat but it’s rather long for an introductory post; I think I’ll save it for later. The short version however is that I once worked in a project where we used to put fun pictures on our SCRUM board both for fun and as small motivators. One of those pictures was Zuul Cat. Zuul Cat watched over the process and reminded us to play tuff, “Der is no Fluffy, Only Zuul”. He reminded us to stay on track and true to the process and keep pushing change.

Zuul Cat stuck with me and when moving the blog somehow Zuul Cat seemed a good fit. Besides, it sounds cool!

Admitting Defeat

As hard as it may be to admit; I have failed miserably.

About 3 months ago I set out on a journey into independence. I named it project Mindhex. The basic idea was that I would give myself free hands to work on whatever I desired.

The plan was that I would polish my ruby skills, learn to develop IPhone applications and create a kick ass Sinatra clone in .NET called Nancy. That was far from what actually happened.

To track my progress I kept a journal….for about 14 days. Truth be told 14 days into my little experiment I started to slip. It rather quickly dawned on me that I don’t actually have to do any of this I can do whatever I want. So I did, I picked up scuba diving, I started walking, I slept, I refurnished the apartment and I spent time with my family. I went into what I would like to call vacation mode.

The result is that I didn’t accomplish any of the goals I had set for myself. Thus I call failure on the project. However I have read somewhere that failure is a byproduct of learning. So what did I learn from this?

After conducting my private little retrospective I found that there are actually two lessons to be learnt here. One could aergue that this is very individual but I really think that others may also benefit from this aswell.

Lesson 1: If there is nothing chasing you, you don’t really have to run. I had arranged it financially so that I wouldn’t really have to work during my 3 months to make ends meet. This didn’t add any sense of urgency to the work I was doing. Since it wasn’t urgent it became really easy to procrastinate or assign low priority to actual “work” which resulted in a complete halt.

Lesson 2: There is no I in team. Working alone quickly becomes boring and painful. Some problems that could easily be solved with another set of eyes can snowball out of control quickly. A bad day can, combined with Lesson 1, makes it really easy to give up. Without someone in the same boat to help you over a speed bump the speed bump can quickly become a brick wall. Besides, doing good work is not really rewarding if you don’t have anyone to share it with.

To summarize; if I were to do this again I would most definitely con someone into doing it with me and I would make it so that my survival depends on the projects failure or success.

So what now?

Well I guess it’s back to work! I feel somewhat misadjusted to everything after slacking off for 3 months, but I guess I will settle in eventually.

New Beginnings

As some of you know I have taken a leave of absence from work. I’ll be away
from “proper” work for 3 months, but this doesn’t mean I won’t work.

I will use the next 3 months to work on project Mindhex. I guess the
best word to describe project Mindhex without saying to much is experiment.
I don’t want to unveil exactly what it is just yet.

Some of you may think you have already figured it out and some of you probably
have. I’ll leave you guessing until the main site is ready for launch and I can
finally disappoint you with the answer.

For clues and ambiance visit

It’s Not the Face, It’s the Brain

Finally we have a new layout.

I spent about a week messing about with the layout of this blog. It was a really painstaking flashback of PHP, HTML and CSS all mangled into each other and intertwined.

Last night I took everything I had built during the week and threw it away. I settled for this nice wordpress theme which someone else built. It’s not unique but it’s clean, simple and customizable. And it gets the job done.

The point is, when you are doing something custom that doesn’t add to your core domain, the part of your product which separates you from others, then don’t do it. Find something that is a decent fit and solves the problem, then move on to working on your core domain.

The face is not the core here; the brain is. There is really no point for me to spend days on the layout. Somebody else has already done that and maybe for them this is a part of their core domain.

PS. If you are wondering about the “Der is no Fluffy, only Zuul!” line, it’s a caption from a lolcat that is currently guarding our scrum board. I had to put something there to make the layout look nice so I went for the lolcat .DS

We All Make Misstakes

EDIT 2012.04.28: I have removed all the old post completely. If you want to read them drop me an e-mail and I’ll happily send you a copy.

We all make mistakes and we will never be able to prevent that. It’s what we do after we have made a mistake that counts. If you take charge and do what has to be done to fix what you broke, people will forget the actual mistake and just remember how well it was handled.

The key is to be honest, admit your mistake and do everything, and I mean everything, in your power to fix it.

I have made several mistakes on this blog one of them was merging my travel blog into this blog. I regret doing so since I really don’t want this to be a cat-blog. I finally figured out that the theme of this blog is about me as a professional software developer and everything that touches remotely on that subject.

To fix my mistake I have moved most of my personal posts to a static archive and removed them from this blog.

You can find the moved posts here:

  • Cambodia (June 21st, 2006)
  • Being Away is Being Free (June 22nd, 2006)
  • SJ and the Communist Regime (June 28th, 2006)
  • From Festival to Festival (July 6th, 2006)
  • Beer and The Hel Peninsula (July 10th, 2006)
  • Jetskis and Dentists (July 12th, 2006)
  • Away and Back (July 24th, 2006)
  • Kutna Hora (Yes yes, I’m back now!) (September 21st, 2006)
  • Arriving in Krakow (October 4th, 2006)

Blog? What Blog?!


Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?

– Pink Floyd

From what Google tells me no one actually reads this, which is fair since I don’t actually write anything here either.

It’s a new year and there is new stuff happening. One of the things I really want to do is breath some air into freedom taking over, just like I tried last year.

Over the course of the next month or so there will be some slight adjustments of the direction in which this blog is moving. I won’t talk about this right now since I don’t want to give away too much to my non-existing audience.

One thing that has already happened is that the URLs of permalinks on Freedom Taking Over have changed. So IF you do read this AND you are linking to Freedom Taking Over please adjust your permalinks.

Until next year then.

Just kidding let’s start the CPR!


Turn and Face the Strain…

You might have noticed that I redid all the categories here at Freedom Taking Over earlier today. This is because I have decided to change the contents of this blog. As everything in life this blog is evolving. Freedom Taking Over was always meant as a blog that covers what I’m interested in for the moment and things I find intriguing. When it started out I had a lot of thoughts on freedom, and I still do, but now I also have thoughts on other things. You have probably noticed a couple of software development post during the last months and my last post related to my business.

From now on Freedom Taking Over is a topicless blog (No! Not topless). I don’t really care what people say about topicless blogs, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want with it. So now you will be able to read my random thoughts on everything, which in a way is what you have been doing for the past couple of months anyway.

This brings me to the next change. Since this blog is now topicless I can’t se a reason for me to have two blogs. So my travel blog, Home Is Anywhere, will be moving in here as soon as I find a way to copy all the post without loosing the posting dates.

Time may change me
But I can’t trace time


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