Oct 30 2019

How I became an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Category: Funny,TechnicalIuliana @ 2:08

This will not be a technical post instructing you how to learn to pass the certification. Because I, myself I passed the exam by accident. Because I scheduled the exam by accident. But let’s go back ti the beginning.

A few years ago, 2014 or 2015, Rpx quit working for Microsoft and therefore he lost access to the VM this blog was hosted on. So, in order to keep it, I bought a Reserved Instance from Amazon and installed everything there. Why an instance in the Amazon cloud and hot a cheap special WordPress hosting service?

Because I wanted to get more comfortable with Amazon cloud. And because the only way I knew how to install & configure Apache, Mysql and WordPress, was … manually. And I liked doing it. I still like doing it, even if probably I’m not that good at it. But since moving my blog to Amazon cloud, I’ve survived two hacking attempts, me experimenting and mucking up file permissions that WordPress barely worked anymore and random MySQL failures.

When I was looking for a new job, I was not looking for a cloud engineer job. I was looking for anything that would allow me to finally make more money out of my Spring expertise. But oh well, sometimes people just click and so far I’m convinced I made the right choice.

Thus I am now starting to shift from Java/Spring expert towards … full-stack, or better said Jack-of all-trades, a title that was given to me at the beginning of my career and kinda limited my job selection at the time; because apparently it was more valuable to be an expert on a single domain, than juggling with everything. It’s quite ridiculous that after managing to finally stick to a niche for a ten years, my initial Jack-of all-trades skill might have gotten it me paid better if I would just have stuck to it. But oh well, it is what it is.

The company I currently work for is an Amazon partner, but AWS certifications expire, so after some people left the company and/or the certifications of those that stayed expired, the company found itself in danger of losing the partner status for not having enough certified AWS certified people employed. And so, the latest three people that were hired, had to become certified. I am one of those people.

So I’ve started preparing. And I panicked, because I realized I haven’t learned for an exam in … 12 years. And the information you need to accumulate to pass the certification is basically a detailed manual on how to use Amazon services wisely. And they provide a lot of services, for … well… anything. And it is not logical, it cannot be structured or organized in some programmatic way, it is not about designing or implementing anything, it’s more similar to the driving license theoretical exam. And I hate this kind of exam. My mind works very well with information that can be associated, connected to existing information that is not part of the foundation of my expertise; because the new information is connected and inferred from existing information. But the AWS training material … its very hard to associate with anything. So… I read and I wrote and watched the video training samples and still I had the impression that I am retaining … nothing.

After my much-smarter and more logical and structured colleague passed the exam, I just logged into the AWS account and checked to see when I could schedule my exam too. Well, I’m not sure what I did, or maybe my Firefox trolled me, but aside from an exam date four days away, the next one was three weeks away. And being already panicked that I am not retaining information I feared forgetting anything in three weeks. So I scheduled my exam on the 25th of October, at the time I had no other choice. And I did this on Monday the 21st of October. I spent the next three days reading, writing, listening to those video tutorials again and panicking. In a way, whatever the result, at least I would be able to take a break from reading Amazon propaganda. Because this is 90% of the training material.:))

And luckily, I passed.

After that, I talked to my college and told him why I scheduled the exam so rashly and he showed me on his computer the calendar with available dates and well … there were a lot more dates available than what I saw.

So yeah, I scheduled myself by mistake, quite rashly for the AWS Cloud Practitioner’s exam. I was definitely not completely prepared for it. But apparently it was enough. And now I can take a break from reading about how to use AWS services and actually solve some useful tasks.

Lesson learned: Some mistakes are worth making.

All is well with the world.

Stay safe, stay happy!


Oct 27 2019

Et tu, Brute?

Category: Funny,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:40

A few of my close friends and those that got to visit my home in Edinburgh got to meet Bob. Bob was my vacuum Robot. It was a Neato Botvac D7 and it helped me a lot by sparing me the effort of cleaning the house. Because it is shaped like a D, it got into the corners as well, so I managed to live for one year without owning a broom. It was quite efficient, silent and the cat liked him.

About eight months after moving into my house he started acting weird. He seemed to foget parts of the house and one time I received a notification that it was stuck and needed help. I found it under the bed, not being blocked by anything. I assumed the software must have bugs, because I did a few software updates, and no software is perfect. Being a software engineer, I know!!!

One year later I decided to buy it a new battery as the manual recommended. The new battery was identical to the old one. It charged normally and Bob did its job exactly once after that. Then it stopped charging the battery.

I did all I could from a software point of view, without affecting the warranty, to no avail. When I gave up I called Neato support. And I had to send Bob to an authorized centre for repair. They sent him back three days later. My Bob was now completely dead, the battery was discharged completely.

I called support again and they told me I should send it to some location and they would replace it. I send it on Monday. Seven days have passed. Almost two months have passed since the last time my house was cleaned. I do not want to imagine the quantity of dust and cat hair in my carpet right now.

I am waiting for them to send me the new robot. And while waiting I decided its name. Its name will be Brute, because if it gets fucked up too, I just want to look at it disappointed and ask “Et tu, Brute?”

But, regardless of the issue bob had, I really love this type of robot. I really hope the new one will be more resilient. But still, its name will be Brute. that is not going to change now.

Stay safe, stay happy!


Oct 27 2019

The one with the menopause

Category: Funny,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:39

After 5 published books and a few jobs where I had leadership positions people that know me tend to think that I am pretty smart. I don’t like to contradict anybody that has a good opinion of me, but if you think I have some natural talent, or that my work is exemplary and my mind is an epitome of organized information let me burst that bubble for you.

My mind is like a hurricane, powerful, quick but also highly disorganized. After all these years I barely know how to harness it. Sometimes I have the impression that I do not remember information and when needed, it just pops up seemingly out of nowhere. Or even more funny, it pops up when I no longer need it.

When I took the exam to finish the first school cycle in Romania, there was a math problem that was really simple, but I was unable to solve it during the exam. The solution come to me three days later, seemingly out of nowhere. It’s not like I was thinking about it after the exam really, I was just on the balcony, lounging in the sun and boom! there it was.

One of the weirdest things that happened to me recently is being in a bar with a friend and recognizing a song and the band and started singing it. And he swears that a few weeks ago I did not recognize that song when he asked me about it in a different bar.

Anyway, I decided to take a break from bragging about where I’ve travelled and what I did interesting and waste your time with some funny things happening in my life.

Continue reading “The one with the menopause”


Sep 29 2016

What means to be a good programmer

Category: Funny,TechnicalIuliana @ 20:18

A few weeks ago this picture appeared on my Facebook wall.
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And it got me thinking. Are programmers that special? We really do programming just because it is fun? And what actually means to be a good programmer? Because in 10 years of experience in this field I had the occasion to work with really good programmers that were really awful people and good people that were not that good programmers, but they were easy to work with.

So then, what makes a programmer good? His ability to write an algorithm? His ability to improve it? His ability  to work in a team? His ability to write stable, extendable, testable and maintainable code? What means to actually be a good programmer?

Because if good programmers write code for fun, this means that I am actually a good runner, because I run for fun. It also means I am a good dancer because I dance for fun. This also makes me a good comedian, because I make my friends laugh for fun. And so on. And what happens when I have a bad day and I write code and hate doing it? Does this make me a bad programmer?

I am not looking the define what a good programmer is. Because programming is not about having fun. Bill Gates did not do it for fun. Steve Jobs did not do it either, I assure you. They did it because they have inferred the potential of technology when used properly. Programming is about making the technology do the work for you. The better you are at it, the more work it will do for you. So fuck it, I do not want to be a good programmer! Because I do not program for fun, not 90% of the time. I program to improve my life and others’ too.

I do not want to be a good programmer, because I want to be an excellent programmer. And if I succeed I want my work and my effort to be recognized, I want to be adulated by the public and I do expect to get properly remunerated.


Sep 05 2016

How do you recognize applications created by me?

Category: Funny,TechnicalIuliana @ 21:02

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Well… There will always be that user, called gigi.pedala, that I probably created when  I was pissed off that something did not work as I intended…

Who is Gigi Pedala? In Romania Gigi Pedală, also known as Dorel is the guy creating trouble, that knows nothing (and he is nothing like John Snow) and most of the time does nothing. Except trouble. That he does.


May 21 2013

Office war

Category: Funny,TechnicalIuliana @ 15:15

So… sometime in December I was assigned to a new project. The project was new for me, in fact it is about 6 years old, a few outsourcing teams worked on it and now me and my colleagues started working with the last team to … make it better. So these guys are sometimes doing rookie mistakes, and apparently nothing can convince them that it is not ok to break the build or commit sources that don’t compile and other small stuff like that.

So every time one of them does something that is shouldn’t I search for a Ryan Gosling picture on this site and sent the link on the main chat with a special dedication. But sometimes, the pictures available on the site are not enough. So these are my two creations for my colleagues, for now. But I intend to keep you updated. :)