It's been a long year.
In economical terms it has surely been a nightmare. If in 2007 I was worried about the downfall of the economy and the security of my personal savings. At the present day as I look back, I see that my fears had a reason to exist and that I ignored all the red stop lights.
Lost a lot of money in 2007. Eventually thought it would be safe to return to investments at mid 2008 but the shark speculators hadn't yet reached their desired bottom and ended up dragging down the value on my stock portfolio to 50% of what they were worth a few months ago.
Now, I'm starting a humble 2009.
My daytime job provides a generous salary at the end of each month but my expenses have increased dramatically with the need to sustain our kid and afford frequent travel expenses back to mainland Portugal.
Still need to account for the expenses with the university tuition and give my best to try save enough money to keep in case of an emergency. So I'm kind of living from one month's salary to the next without affording as many things as before but at least I have no debts and my family is healthy and well.
In academical terms, can't say I studied much to finish my university degree. At the beginning of the year I saw my civil right to attend exams and classes being denied because of my status as a professional worker, this decision restricted me from taking days off work to properly prepare myself for the exams or even attending them.
After talking with a lawyer and promoting a lawsuit together with a few other friends in the same situation, the case was settled in court and got my rights just as before but it was already too late to save the lective year 2007/2008.
On the lective year of 2008/2009 a lot of things changed at the university that I attend and some of these changes are simply nuts.
For example, I have a class of Linear Algebra to which I should submit by email two work subjects and then attend a final exam. The combined grade of these three evaluations will dictate the grade you get at the end of the semester.
What isn't my surprise that the first work subject was so difficult to interpret that after a few days trying to solve on my own, I had to resort at professional help.
Went on to talk with a Doctor in maths and asked her to help me with the work subject. To my surprise, even she had difficulty solving the questions even thought she had been a teacher of the same class at another university.
The ironic part is that she solved this exam for me and the exam score was 2.5 out of 4.
It's not fair for a computer sciences student to be forced onto a linear Algebra level that is beyond the reasonable amount of difficulty and I've became extremely disappointed because 94% of the students didn't passed at that specific exam and the teacher just doesn't care.
So it seems that I'll have to delay my dream of completing a degree a few more years.
But not all is so bad, during the summer I've enrolled at ENTA (Escola de Novas Tecnologias dos Açores) and attended the CCNA classes. Our government is sponsoring these classes to some extent so the cost per semester is far below the average on mainland and the teacher has far more competence than any other IT related teacher that I've ever met. He is capable of explaining in human terms the flow of network engineering in a brilliant manner.
Got the CCNA qualification and learnt a lot more about internetworking.
In programming developments, Peter has offered his time to help me on the development of winbuilder.exe
His help has truly helped to make wb a lot more perfect and tuned, if the car industry in germany has a reputation for quality and efficiency, Peter has surely demonstrated the reason why while working at the winbuilder engine.
A few months later, he also suggested to invite another german developer, booty#1.
So, our development team has quickly rised from a one man project to a team of developers.
Unfortunately we didn't ended up releasing a stable winbuilder 076 as expected before the end of the year but I'm crossing my fingers to see this happen very soon within 2009.
In social networking terms, the boot land community has grown so much that it's simple wonderful.
We've got a friendly sponsoring from R1Soft that provided us with a much necessary dedicated server and we've got ourselves a new clean face with a total redesign of the site look.
In 2009 I'm expecting to see it grow even more, I've been spending more time with the coding of site and I'm also crossing my fingers in the hope that this helps everyone enjoying a better work space.
And last but no least, my family.
This is a term that I can finally apply.
Earlier this year my wife got pregnant so we needed to decide where to have this baby. She was brave and decided to live with me on the islands even knowing that she'd be very far from her family (to which she is very close).
The pregnancy went fine and Miguel (my son) was born in late October.
Eventually I tried to smooth the lack of family by inviting her mother and younger sister to come visit us for a few weeks.
My kid is healty and very active, which is of course all that I desired in world.
He inherited her mother's eyes so I'm also guessing he'll be a success with the ladies.. ;)
At January or perhaps February, she'll go back to mainland since the kid will be grown enough to endure the flight conditions and I'll likely join her to introduce the new member of the family to my parents.
2009 is going to be a very bumpy year from my perspective.
I was planning to change onto a better university and start working somewhere else in Europe to provide better conditions to my family but it isn't certainly going to be an easy task.
Nevertheless, one has the right to work hard to make it possible and I'll surely try my best.