2014 Year in review

I was a bit late doing this, but I think better late than never.

Family and Personal Finance
We had baby (girl) No. 2 in the summer, baby Sophia is healthy and happy for the most part. I had to be honest, having 2nd kid is not as thrilling as the 1st.

With the birth of new baby, we had some more challenges to make sure baby No. 1 is happy. We have achieved this to large extent. With some caveats (see below). It’s almost unthinkable that Serenity will start kindergarden in the fall. Time flies. Enjoy it while we can. Leave the iDevices/mac if I can.

On personal finance front, I felt stretched a bit after the cost associated with new baby (hospital bill, etc.) and the preschool tuition for my older daughter. So in Sept. I made a painful decision to transfer Serenity to the preschool at church, which will save us some money. Initially I tried to bite the bullet and started some financial engineering such as refinance the mortgage (to get some cash). But it was not enough.

Reflect on my own mistakes on personal finance, mostly on playing the stock market, and over spend on things such as organic milk. I felt not very good. But again better late than never. I started shopping more on Aldi’s and try to control the discretionary spending. Also, for the stock market part, noticing the fall of oil and the DRIP (dividend re-investing program), I decided to put some money in Exxon Mobile Drip program. I also think about the performance of my self managed IRA account vs. the other 401k/Rollover IRA accounts managed passively (all mutual funds managed by professional money managers).

Career
I did not change job in the last year, hopefully I can stay at current place longer than past few years (change job almost yearly, see my year 2013 review, year 2012 review). Another important thing to consider is the feel of being challenged and learn new things, plus work/life balance.

Another interesting point is, since my wife seeing the benefits of the programmer job, and she is taking care of baby No. 2 full time now, she is thinking about learning java in her spare time. So hopefully we will have another IT professional in our household soon :-)

This Agile Thing
Have been at Agile place before, and the current place is practicing agile. I have some thoughts on this, since I’ve done software development for 14 years. There are already plenty of advantages of agile being discussed. Some of the negatives and questions I have regarding the agile process:

1) Does Agile encourage ad-hoc way of design/architecture design making, i.e., try things out and change directions later,…

2) This story board thing is good, but should it replace the bug database? A related problem I saw is the over use of email (outlook) for tracking issues.