Monthly Review: August 2015

Published: 31 August 2015


This is my third monthly review, in an effort to hold myself (publicly) accountable, and also to try and measure my own progress in building up my business.

Goals from last month

Let’s start off by looking at my goals from last month. I was out of action for about a week with a throat infection, but still managed to get a chunk of work done.

  1. Create and publish a new video for the AspnetCasts YouTube channel. This one went very well. I targeted one single video for the month, but I published 2 videos each week for the entire month of August, and I also have videos lined up until the middle of September. I am very happy about this one.
  2. Start with my first course for Visual Studio Dojo. I started planning and doing the draft for a Git course. The draft is about halfway done. The scope has expanded a lot, so I need to keep an eye on this and not let it become too big.
  3. Start converting some of the OWIN OAuth providers to ASP.NET 5. I have completed the LinkedIn provider and it has been merge into the dev branch. The WordPress and Yahoo providers are also done, but the pull requests must still be accepted. If you want to take part in this effort, please fork the repo and submit your pull requests. Big thanks to Kévin Chalet for driving this effort!
  4. Convert my blog to Jekyll. I did not do this and decided to let my blog stay on Statamic for the time being.

Learning Spanish

I mentioned in last month’s review that I have decided to leave Thailand sometime around the end of this year (or perhaps as late as early next year). I have since made up my mind that I will most likely move over to South America. One of the things which limited and frustrated me in Thailand was my inability to speak the language. You can get around with English, but the majority of the population does not speak any English (except for a few basic words), so you never get the chance to experience all a country has to offer if you cannot have meaningful discussions with the locals.

I started off last year learning Thai and progressed fine for the first half of the year, but then lost interest and basically stagnated ever since. I don’t want the same situation when I go to South America, so I have started learning Spanish 2 weeks ago so I can have a good basis to work from by the time I arrive in South America. For now I have started working through Duolingo’s Spanish lessons to learn the basics.

The northern part of Thailand where I currently live is fertile ground for Christian missionaries, and one of the groups who are very active here is the Mormons. The Mormon missionaries are also a bit legendary in their ability to pick up the Thai language quickly, and various articles have been written about this. One of the explanations is that the Mormons are so good at it because they actually do not speak any Thai for the first 6 months - they just listen. Thai is an especially difficult language to learn because it has 5 different tones. The argument is that by just listening for the first 6 months the Mormon missionaries pick up on all the subtle tones of the language, so one the start speaking the pronunciation comes much easier to them and they progress much more rapidly than other people.

I cannot vouch for that, but their are various articles and books about learning languages which indicates that hearing a lot of the language spoken helps a lot. So since I am not in a Spanish speaking country at the moment I have turned to YouTube for that. I spend a fair amount of time listening to Spanish music to help me get used to the pronunciation (and I quite like the songs), and over time as I start understanding more, I hope to progress to watching some Spanish televisions show on YouTube as well.

Goals for September

I have started with some contracting work which is going to keep me busy in September, and I also have another proposal for software that seems like it will be accepted any day - I have verbal confirmation but I am waiting for a signed agreement. If the second contract also gets accepted, I will have to work crazy hours this month just to keep up with the contract work and have little time for anything else.

I have set aside Fridays for open source work and doing pretty much whatever I feel like, but this month I will not do any open source work (except for reviewing and accepting Pull Requests on the OWIN OAuth Provider project) and will spend Fridays working on my contracts. I don’t work on weekends, but this month I will have to make an exception to that in order to fit everything in.

So here are my goals for this month:

  1. Record 8 more episodes for AspnetCasts. I have little choice in this. If I want to keep momentum and stick to my release shedule of 2 episodes a week I will need to record around 8 episodes to cover the rest of this month and the first bit of next month as well.
  2. Complete my Git course draft. I hope to also be able to complete the draft of my Git course.
  3. Pratice Spanish every day. I am on a 2 week streak in Duolingo, so I just need to keep this up - even if I only do 10 XP every day. Just as long as I keep moving forward.

Over and above those and the contract work there is also still the continued commitment to publish ASP.NET Weekly and Windows Developer Weekly every week, as well as putting out a new blog post every Tuesday.

Books I read this month

Oops, I did not finish any books this month. With my evening spent practising Spanish I have not completed any books. I am busy with one which I am almost done with. Maybe I’ll finish it this month…

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