The post-Persgroep era

Monday, 06 August 2018.

Last week I finished my job as Lead Data Engineer at the Persgroep in Amsterdam, where I worked for the past year. I had a great time crafting ETL pipelines, writing Scala and Python for Spark (AWS EMR), scheduling tasks (DAGs) with Airflow, and scaling with Redshift (Minus some boring, but important GDPR work). But most of all I liked the (Kanban) team, which grew during my time from just 3 members to 15, and I enjoyed coaching and helping out the new recruits, as well as providing technical support and architectural advise to other teams.

So why leave my esteemed colleagues, when everything is fine and dandy? Can Christian van Thillo really do without me? (Better known by insiders as Christiaan van de Thillo). Well, I have this tendency to shake things up once in a while, and I felt the need to explore new startup opportunities. So here we are, I cleared my schedule for the next half a year, and will be diving into Strong-AI, Genomics, Crypto and Healthcare to find interesting (and doable) business angles. First I like to explore the latest research and follow a couple of Coursera courses, while simultaneously hack on some neural nets for crypto value predictions. In other words, playing around until I hit something concrete and tangible. I have a couple of friends that also have available overtime to join in on the fun. I’m also keeping an ear to the ground for any other opportunities in these domains.

So what was the first thing I did last week with my free time? I updated my BeatleTech website, the site you are actually reading right now! One of my TODOs was to run everything over https, now that Chrome by default shows your website as not secure when it is served over http (news). This was relatively easy to fix thanks to Let’s Encrypt and Certbot. As long as you know that Letsencrypt will verify your website over IPv6 if you added an AAAA DNS record, so make sure it points to the correct IPv6 address (mine wasn’t :/ so I dropped the incorrect AAAA record).

Secondly I was inspired by a Hacker News discussion on improving your portfolio website, to include a section about my home office setup. I have spent many hours perfecting my work setup, so it was only logical to also write about it. You can find it here and in the top menu.

Finally after cleaning up my HTML, upgrading Jekyll, minimizing assets and moving them to S3 (source), I’m concluding my stint on BeatleTech improvements with this blog post. Next up, research and play time!

Wish me luck.

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