Back in Business

I live in Sweden and one of the great things with that is that as a dad you can get months off for being with your kids while they are small. My youngest turned one in the end of May and a few days later I did my last day at the office for 2016. Since then I’ve been spending my days at home, seeing him learning new things every day. But now that period of my life is over and I’m back to work and he’s started at daycare.

As a dad, saying good bye to him and leaving him is of course hard. He on the other hand couldn’t care less. He’s at a new exciting place with a lot of new interesting things to explore.

I have interesting things to explore too. The world of software development moves fast and 6 months absence from active work means things have changed. .NET Core has been released and the tooling is quickly maturing. It’s time to look deeper into it and create an ASP.NET Core version Kentor.AuthServices to bring SAML2 to ASP.NET Core. But first there’s the SweTugg conference where I’ll do two talks. The first is a new one about real life TDD experiences with live coding real features in real projects. The second is an overview of security in ASP.NET Core.

Then there’s a ton of e-mails that I’ve not answered to in a timely manner. I’ll go through them but answering all of them will take time. There’s also a queue of Pull Requests in AuthServices that need to be handled. First in line are of course those from paying customers with valid support agreements. The rest will be reviewed when I have time.

Last, but not least this also means I’m available for consulting again, so if you need some services within my areas of expertise, please get in touch.

Posted in Other on 2017-01-18

My Home Network

I’m not only a computer geek, I also spend considerable time renovating our home. Doing things yourself means there’s plenty of opportunities to make geek-friendly adaptions, such as preparing for a good home network.

Renovating a house is a major strain for the family economy, so keeping an eye on the cost has been a priority. I’m also a bit reluctant to invest too much in today’s state of the art technology, only to find out I need something else in just a few years. Considering that we’ve had the house for nearly 10 years things have indeed changed. Back then wired networking for computers was the main concern – now it is proper wifi coverage for all the phones and tablets that didn’t even exist back then.

My take on a future proof investment is to install a lot of empty cable hose. Then I’ve pulled CAT-5e cables to those places where I actually need it. Everything converges in the cupboard under the stairs (no, it’s not used as someone’s bedroom) where I have a small 19″ rack. In the rack, I have my home server (more about it below) and the central switch. The white box on the wall above the patch panel is the incoming fiber.

Posted in Other on 2017-01-04

I’m a Microsoft MVP

I’m grateful, humbled and proud to receive the Microsoft MVP Award.

mvpEver since I first heard of the MVP program nearly 15 years ago I’ve had a great respect for those receiving the award. The MVPs I’ve met and got to know have all possessed that rare combination of deep technical knowledge and the social skills needed to communicated them. I’ve read blog posts, attended talks, watched videos, used open source and read open source by MVPs and learnt so much from them. And now I’m also an MVP. As much as I’m grateful and proud I’m also humbled (and a bit horrified) about being invited to be one of them.

Thanks for giving me the chance, now it’s up to me to prove that I’m worthy of a renewal next year.

Posted in Other on 2016-10-22

Android Photo Frame

photoframeWe share pictures of nearly every moment of our lives (and our kids’ lives) through social media. That’s great for distant relatives that can handle a smart phone, but what about those that can’t? I recently setup a cheap Android tablet as a remote controlled digital photo frame.

I wanted a setup where the user wouldn’t have to do anything at all. The photo frame should start automatically in the morning, show photos during the day and shut down in the evening. No user interaction should be required at all. I also had to make everything remote controlled as it would be located about 500km away, without anyone nearby that could handle any tech support. Last, but not least, it’s important that it’s as easy to share to the photo frame as to any other social media from a mobile phone.

Posted in Other on 2015-09-29

Being a Dad in Sweden

Baby-handI’ve not written anything here for more than a month and I’d like to make a short off-topic post to explain why. In the end of May our third kid arrived to the family. He’s a healthy little boy, but even though he’s still small, he’s wreaked havoc to my ability to plan my time. Just as it is supposed to be. But that means blogging hasn’t been on the priority list.

I’m living in Sweden, where the possibilities to spend time with the kids (even as a dad) is totally awesome. It’s easy to take things for granted and it’s not until I discuss how to balance family life and work with people from other countries that I fully remember just how awesome it is here.

The biggest thing is the parental leave. For every child the parents gets 480 paid days to stay at home and care for the child. Counting only work days, that is nearly two full years of paid leave.

The thing that usually surprises non-Swedes the most is that those paid days are not tied to the mother, but to both parents. Actually 60 days are non-transferable, meaning that if the dad doesn’t use them, they are void. Personally I’ve been staying at home with my two older kids for about half a year each and I plan to do the same with the baby, once my wife get back to work. Oh, that’s standard in Sweden too – Mothers are usually working.

When she returns to work, it’s my turn to stay at home on state pay. But, there is actually a limit on how much the state pays for during parental leave. The maximum pay is about €100/day (before tax) and salaries in the IT sector are often much higher than that. But as I’m working at a generous company they actually fill in on top of the public payment, so I get 90% of my salary for spending 6 months with my son. That’s awesome (did I mention we’re hiring?).

Once I get back to work, my son will go to daycare. Children in Sweden usually start daycare from somewhere between age 1.5-2 years. Daycare is heavily subsidized. We pay about €120/month per child for daycare. That’s roughly 10% of the real cost. On the other hand I can confirm that the rumors are true: We do have high tax levels in Sweden, but in my opinion we’re also getting a lot back.

For now this means that I’m taking a long summer off and spend the time with my family. There will probably be blogging done, but not as frequently as when I’m working.

Software Development is a Job – Coding is a Passion

I'm Anders Abel, a systems architect and developer working for Kentor in Stockholm, Sweden.

profile for Anders Abel at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

Code for most posts is available on my GitHub account.

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