Benjamin @ 26

Another big year and a lot has been going on in my world.

The Big Moments

We decided to stay in Queensland. We love the weather up here, we love the friendships we've been blessed with. We aren't too far from my family (2 hour flight), and most of Joelle's family basically live on the Gold Coast.

Buying a house in Benowa

Now that we have a big house, we can fill it up with kids! We have baby #2 due in September this year.

Penelope showing off the ultrasound of baby #2

What's Been Happening?

Following my birthday last year, we made an emergency evacuation from Geelong on a private jet (thanks again to the FIL!) back up to Queensland to escape a COVID lockdown.

This meant Penelope didn't get to have her 1st birthday party as planned, so we opted for a smaller celebration at home.

Being isolated from Victoria, we still got to enjoy lots of fun times with the Willders up in Queensland.

Gold Coast river cruise

Here are a couple more shots of some fun family things we've done over the last year.

Hike at Burleigh Heads
Petting the wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Joelle's first time at a driving range
Lots of pool fun
Family bike rides
Family runs with the jogging pram
Thanksgiving holiday in Noosa
Started a regular Kaiser family ride down to Torquay

Work @ Microsoft

Still kicking around at Microsoft on the OneDrive and SharePoint team (ODSP). We shipped some cool stuff, like OneDrive and Lists as Progressive Web Apps. We also shipped full offline support for Microsoft Lists.

No changes in job title this year, still rocking level 64. Might make it to level 65 in the next 12 months, we'll see.

On the logistical side, I'm in the process of having my employment formally switched this week from Microsoft US to Microsoft Australia. This generally means a ~30% cut to base pay, which is to be expected with the differences between Seattle and Gold Coast labour markets. Bonuses stay the same relative to base pay, so also about a 30% cut. And luckily stocks remain unchanged.

FIRE goals

I keep telling myself I would like our family to be financially independent in 10 years' time and be able to scale back my work week. This is beginning to look less and less likely with the stock market taking a dive, interest rates rising and the fact children only get more expensive as they get older (and you have more of them).

But on the bright side of all this, my job at Microsoft is so awesome and flexible, that I can honestly still live a great family life alongside a great work life with minimal compromises. So maybe I'll be a "Microsoft lifer", who knows.

Personal Goals

I picked up a rather odd one this year. I started doing push-ups in January. So far I've done over 10,000 push-ups this year. I wanted to do one push-up on January 1st, and increase the goal by one each day so I would have to do 365 on December 31st. I couldn't find a nice app to model this daily increasing goal, so I ended up writing an open source one.

Penelope "assisting" me


We did a few trips this year, one family one over thanksgiving up to Noosa. Joelle picked out a super nice hotel to stay at with this ripper view. We got to do a bunch of stuff as a family, including a lot of swimming with Penelope and playing at a water park.

View from the accommodation

We travelled down to Geelong twice. Once over Christmas and another time just last week.

Penelope loves playgrounds


Overall this has been a pretty good year for my fitness. Lots of running and cycling, and now lots of push-ups too.

Just over 2000km of cycling. Almost 250k of running.

Long ride down to Point Danger (NSW border)

Hit new PBs for longest ride (93.9km) and longest run (17km). Follow me on Strava for more of this.

The Strava stats

My weight is sitting at a healthy level, around 86kgs. It got down to 82/83 kilos at one point of being strict about intermittent-fasting. But lately with all these push-ups (and my bad eating habits) it's a bit difficult to keep the weight down.


This last year was actually huge for my blogging and side projects. I wrote 13 blog posts and managed to hit the front page of hackernews with over 300 points. A year ago, my blog received ~30 unique visitors a week. Now it receives around 300 unique visitors a week. Admittedly though, my blogging has fallen off a cliff and I haven't written about much lately. I might have an up-coming one about my bathroom heads up display project.

Stats on views per page


Through this part of the blog post, I'll list my different interests and how they've changed since last year.


Pretty boring on this front, more of the same. Here is the full list of songs added to my library in the last 12 months, mostly from familiar artists or old songs. Some new though.

Movies and TV

Lately Joelle and I have been watching Better Call Saul season 6. This year we've watched a bunch of shows, Married at First Sight, How to Get Away with Murder, Selling Sunset, Book of Boba Fett. I'm still looking forward to Westworld season 6 coming out next month. The Obi-Wan tv series should be pretty awesome too.


Not as much reading as I would have liked, mostly just listening to audio books on my runs. And lately I've switched to listening to short book summaries from Blinkist.

Two books I did read this year that I would recommend are "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention" and "What Every Body is Saying"


Still stuck into Call of Duty Warzone and loving it. Especially now that I've met some new friends that I play with most nights of the week. There are a couple times where I've pulled out Dirt 5, Halo, Assasins Creed or Fortnite. But Call of Duty really has me hooked.


Operating Systems

Still rocking Windows for the work PC and Mac for my personal laptop (M1 Air), they're still working great.

Software I Use (changes)


  • Pushups - for keeping track of my increasing pushup counts.


Nothing much on the Windows PC or Mac. But on the Raspberry Pi I now have:

  • Plex - For streaming movies seamlessly to my TV or phone
  • Jellyfin - For actually syncing movies and TV shows to my phone (something Plex requires a subscription for)


Hardware I Use

I got a new phone this year (Zenfone 8 Flip) after my OnePlus got it's screen smashed when it fell of my bike. On the desktop side, a few small changes like a boom mic (Rode NT-USB) so my audio is crystal clear on video calls. As mentioned above, I also bought a raspberry pi to run home server stuff on, but it now doubles as the bathroom clock, more to come on that.

"Bathroom Clock" project

On the exercise "hardware", I now ride with a Wahoo Element Bolt bike GPS after the incident with my last phone breaking. To complement, Joelle bought me some cycling sunglasses that double as headphones (Bose Frames Tempo). I also bought some new kicks for running (Hoka Carbon X1) that look pretty snazzy compared to my old ones. I also now have proper lycra cycling attire (NeoPro/Rapha) + clip-in shoes (Northwave Core Plus 2 + rip-off speedplay pedals from AliExpress) .

I also purchased another road bike to keep in Geelong so I can go on family rides when I visit. The final bit of "hardware" was a birthday gift from Joelle, a Segway Ninebot Max G30 electric scooter!

To Come!

That's where I'm at, now more than half-way between 20 and 30! Here are my rough goals for the next year:

  • Continue being a good family man, spending time with Joelle, Penelope and baby #2.
  • Continue to deliver customer value at work, taking steps towards becoming a "Principal Software Engineer".
  • Keep it up with the cycling and running. My goal for this is 2 activities per week on average through the whole year.
  • Keep it up with the push-up goal, although this is already a challenge at day 146.
  • Keep going on the side projects, writing fun code that interests me.
  • Spend some good time with family and friends on the Gold Coast.
Benjamin Kaiser

Benjamin Kaiser

Software Engineer working on the SharePoint team at Microsoft. I'm passionate about open source, slurpess, and Jesus.
Gold Coast, Australia

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