2017: A Retrospective

Vincent Danen

December 30, 2017

Last year I wrote a retrospective and was interesting to read it at the end of this year so I've decided to do it again. What can I say about 2017?

From a work perspective, this was a crazy year. The vulnerabilities we had to deal with this year were pretty significant, things like Blueborne and KRACKS and others that created a lot of work for the team. To say it was a painful year would be an understatement, to be honest. We put our Customer Security Awareness (CSAw) process to work more times than I would like.

Aside from that, just the goings-on (that didn't affect Red Hat) were simply painful to watch. The Equifax breach was bad. Really, really bad. And watching how it was handled was distressing. Thankfully we did not have to deal with that Struts2 vulnerability. And there were other data breaches that were bad as well -- the news that the Yahoo! breach was even worse than originally reported, Uber having paid off the miscreants that ran off with their data... there were others and if we thought 2016 was bad, I think 2017 took the cake and 2018 will be even worse. IdentityForce has a list of the 2017 data breaches that you can read. 2018 will be interesting in that these breaches will be painful and expensive, thanks to the European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which I think is ultimately a good thing even though it will make life miserable for the people who need to be compliant.

On the personal side, this was another year of growth. Personally, within the area of work, there were more responsibilities and more people to be responsible for. It was a challenging year of new responsibilities. Very little code was written in 2017, probably the least amount of code I've written in the last 15 years or so. Except the last two days -- I spent the last two days taking the time to finally get this site updated; you should notice the differences. They're subtle, but I think they give it a nice level of polish and the entire look is a little simpler. I've not had the opportunity all year to spend this much time fiddling with code and it was nice (even if most of it was HTML, it was still fun work). I think the days of putting my head down and losing myself for hours at a time writing python code are behind me, which makes me a little sad.

One of the hats I wear is that of a District Pastor for Christcity church, which is effectively nothing more than being a shepherd (or leader) for a small flock (our church has seven districts in and around the city and my wife and I are in charge of one). This means we're available to help those in need, pray for people, provide guidance and counsel, and just be available for people. We visit sick people in the hospital as well, and this year we had to deal with our first death as District Pastors. It was even harder as this wonderful woman who passed worked with us when we used to teach at the women's prison years ago. She was an amazing woman, very gentle and quiet, and a good friend to my wife and I. My wife used to take her to cancer treatment appointments, we'd visit with her, helped her move when her apartment got to be too much for her to handle, and so on. It was tough to watch her go from a woman full of life and energy to a shadow of herself. We were fortunate enough to visit her a few days before she died, although that was a difficult visit to make. We've lost people in the past and this certainly was not our first funeral, but this was different because she was in our spiritual charge. Barb, you will be missed. Thank you for who you were and it was a distinct honour and privilege to be able to know you and count you as a good friend.

Unfortunately, I didn't really get much time to blog this past year. I had hoped to write more. I also didn't have much time for podcasting either... this was a busy year. How much time I will have for either next year is a huge unknown.

2017 was a tough year, but overall it was good. I feel like a lot of the change and challenges in 2016 prepared me for 2017, which in turn prepares me for 2018. I think 2018 is going to be another year of growth and change. There are a lot of professional challenges that need to be taken on and I'm glad I work with some amazing people that get to share in the work with me. There is much yet to be done!

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