The Side Project: Keeping The Maker In Me Alive

I started building a homelab using Intel NUCs in December, but I never wrote down why I wanted to do this. Since my mind runs rampant with thoughts, I figure I should write this down before I lose it.

For the past two years, my work activities lead me farther away from coding. It was a conscious decision. I became a tech lead for a year. After that, I formed a new team as the engineering manager. I'll likely stick to this role for a while because it's challenging to solve problems amongst humans. I finally understand the saying that all problems are human problems. I definitely don't know how to solve them, though. That said, I sorely miss being in a flow state and building projects.

So the middle of last year, I thought about what I could work on.

Firstly, the project should keep my coding skills sharp. I immediately thought of go and how I wanted to learn it. Like really learn it. I built a few services with the language, but honestly, I'm still looking up packages and syntax rules.

Secondly, I want to learn kubernetes. I helped build the original kubernetes cluster at work (v1.3 yeesh!) but moved onto other projects that kept me at arm's length. I never learned the details well enough. I want to know kubernetes like I know the back of my hand.

Finally, right around the time, I thought about these ideas, I fell in love with Intel NUCs. They're mini-computers (4" x 4"), and I love the look. I'm a big sucker for dope-ass-looking devices. They're also decently priced, and I had closet space to spare. So I purchased three of them back in December 2019.

My goals are:

  • set up a local kubernetes cluster so that I can launch go projects
  • write posts about the process
  • open source code for the system (first one was the stormlight-iso)

I've already built quite a bit of this system, so in the next post, I'll present what I've built.

Oh, and the name of the cluster is stormlight because I love the Stormlight Archive books from Brandon Sanderson.