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It's been a busy month for me; but as it comes to a close I thought I would take 10 minutes to type out a short reflection on the month. Think of it as a personal "retrospective".

This month I participated in the "CPAN Pull Request Challenge". This is a project whereby each month you get allocated a CPAN module which you are challenged to make a pull request on GitHub to the author/maintainer of the module.

I was allocated HTML::Form by Gisle Aan. Which was a bit intimidating. But I took up the challenge and took a browse through the issue tracker and found a small one I knew I could do. yes, I updated the pod documentation!! Yeah, I know not real impressive. But I did it.

Meanwhile in my $dayjob, I have been working with Solr and the Webservice::Solr module by Andy Lester. I discovered a feature I needed to use was not included in the module. So filled with motivation and a little guilt from my HTML::Form pull request, I wrote a test and then the code (yes in that order) to incorporate the stats data in the responses being returned from Solr. I've pushed my pull request, got some feedback and pushed again.

This was more rewarding as, it was adding a feature that I wished was already there. I may have made the pull request without the challenge… but I doubt it.

Much like the CPAN day challenge last year, the idea here is not so much about the quality of the contributions themselves; rather the act of contributing.

General Tech
I have been loving my Pebble watch. It is what I would call the original smart watch. It was available before the Android Wear watches were available and of course we are yet to see the Apple Watch here in the UK yet. They are also considerably cheaper. I have the original Pebble, which is under 100 GBP.

Recently, Pebble enabled android wear alerts on the watch. So I get the same interactive alerts. There is also a large collection of apps and watchfaces available.

Pebble also work hard to make it possible for you to develop for the watch. They have a web based IDE which allows you to right the code online. It has GitHub integration and recently an online emulator! Super simple! I have been testing some ideas with Judo apps. As well as C, you can write apps in Javascript; so I took some of the Judo related javascript I have written and have been testing it on the watch… it's very cool.

This month I managed a quite good cheevo streak on but then after it broke I ran my ArchLinux updates and spotted a Dwarf Fortress update and now I'm digging into the worlds self-proclaimed most complex game in the world again.

January means competitions start again and I'm on the IJF Junior World Ranking list again. It's rewarding in an odd set of way. It's interesting to process the results and look at the statistics on how many events, where they are held, what countries are involved. What categories are big and small, etc etc etc.

I'm exploring a couple of technical projects and completing a couple that are still running.

So… I've been getting heavy, slow and generally not me over a period of years. And last year was no exception. So in December started working on the problem.

I have applied my geek side, my coach side and my Agile side to the problem. I did a couple of exploratory tests in January that informed my goal setting.
I then sat down and wrote out a detailed plan around what I wanted to achieve and by when. Based on good theory and the experiments. Knowing that I planned backwards to now. Working out what I had to do in what time frame.
Then I worked out a set of rewards I could award myself if I hit the targets as I go along. The targets are realistic measurable (yes kilograms lost) and set to fixed dates.
I have intentionally made the targets achievable, with more rewards early on and bigger ones further apart later. The idea being rewarding early is good for establishing the habit and bigger ones further apart give shinier toys for the real wins.

It's been tough to reach the point of really getting off my arse and doing this. As someone who has been in sport my whole life I've never (other than making weight for competitions) worried about weight or diet. The past decade+ I have not been an athlete or trained hard and regular and it's taken this long to realise it I suppose.

But, I'm taking it in hand now. And every day that I manage the calories/joules and try and find the correct balance between in and out is a win. If I make small adjustments daily, then the large project is easy to ignore as I make small daily decisions.

My first Judo trip of the year is next month, I go to Oberwart, Austria for an EJU event. I have never been there so that is a positive. It also means I'll be able to spend time talking with my colleagues in Austria where they have a club team based Judo league.

This is important as near the end of 2014 I started researching competition structures for Judo in Britain. I have looked into various professional leagues in Europe, USA and elsewhere. I've looked at Judo, Rugby, Football, American Football, Rugby and more including e-sport.

I hope to finish researching and writing it up and share it publicly as well as sending directly to the British Judo Association in March.

2015 has already been a good year, January has been busy! February is looking good to get some things out the door and into the public. I also have a trip which is always motivating for me, so I'm hoping to feel a real boost in February that will drive me forward on projects!

I can't wait to see what CPAN module I get allocated and hope to make a good contribution.

See you next time!


P.s. My friend David McFall has a kickstarter campaign running until February 20th. It's for an English Language Judo Magazine called Judoka Quarterly. If you have a few spare bucks I would really appreciate it if you would consider backing the project:

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