Well, once more around the sun and it’s time again to look back on the year that was.


Reflecting on the work we did this past year, there were a few highlights. We managed to get a few major things released, like the new billing and resource usage tracking system (not super exciting, but it was still fun to work on). And although the crunch period we had was a little hard — not to mention the 3 AM launch time — it was good to see it delivered on time. We’re halfway through another large change that I hope to get out before the end of summer, so it’ll probably be full steam ahead when I go back to work this week.

Highlights aside, there’s not much more to say here. Still feel like my career is in a bit of a rut. And although I generally still like my job, it’s difficult seeing a way forward that doesn’t involve moving away from being an “individual contributor” to a more managerial role. Not sure I like that prospect — leading a squad of 6 devs is probably the maximum number of people I can manage.

And honestly, I probably need to make thinking of this more of a priority for the new year. I’ve been riding in the backseat on this aspect of my life long enough. Might be time to spend a bit more of effort on driving aspects of my career, rather than letting things just happen to me.

Ok, that’s out of the way. Now for the more exciting topics.


Dynamo-browse is ticking along, which is good. I’ve added a few features here and there, but there’s nothing huge that needs doing to it right now. It’s received some traction from others, especially people from work. But I gotta be honest, I was hoping that it would be better received than it did. Oh yes, the project website gets visitors, but I just get the sense it hasn’t seen as many takers as I had hoped (I don’t collect app metrics so don’t know for certain). I’d like to say this it doesn’t matter: so long as I find it useful (and I do), that’s all that counts. And yeah, that’s true. But I’d be lying if I said that I wished others would find it useful as well. Ah well.

One new “major” project released this past year was F5 To Run. Now this, I’m not expecting anyone else to be interested in other than myself. This project to preserve the silly little games I made when I was a kid was quite a success. And now that they’re ensconced in the software equivalent of amber (i.e. web technologies) I hope they can live on for as long as I’m paying for the domain. Much credit goes to those that ported DosBox to a JavaScript library. They were reasonably easy to port over (it was just making the images), and it’s a testament to their work seeing stuff built on primitive 90’s IBM PC technologies actually being the easiest things to run this way. I just need to find a way to do this to my Windows projects next.

Another “major” project that I’m happy to have released was Mainboard Mayhem, a Chips Challenge clone. This was one of those projects that I’ve been building for myself over the last ten years, and debating with myself whether it was worth releasing or not. I’ve always sided on not releasing it for a number of reasons. But this past year, I figured it was time to either finish and release it, or stop work on it all together. I’m happy with the choice I made. And funnily enough, now that it’s finished, I haven’t had a need to tinker with it since (well, apart from that one time).

There’ve been a few other things I worked on this past year, many which didn’t really go anywhere. The largest abandoned project was probably those reclaimed devices built for schools I was planning to flash to be scoring devices. The biggest hurdle is connecting to the device. The loader PCB that was shipped to me didn’t quite work as the pins weren’t making good contact (plus, I broke one of them, which didn’t improve things). The custom board I built to do the same thing didn’t work either, the pins were too short and uneven. So I never got to do anything with them. They’re currently sitting in my cupboard in their box, gathering dust. I guess I could unscrew the back and hook wires up to the appropriate solder points, but that’s a time investment I’m not interested in taking at the moment.

This project may rise again with hardware that’s a little easier for me to work with. I have my eye on the BeepBerry, which looks to be easier to work with, at least with my skills. I added my name to the wait-list, but hearing from others, it might be some time before I can get my hands on one (maybe if the person running the project spent less time fighting with Apple, he can start going through the wait-list).

So yeah, got a few things finished this year. On the whole, I would like to get better at getting projects out there. Seeing people like Robb Knight who seem to just be continuously releasing things has been inspiring. And it probably doesn’t need to be all code either. Maybe other things, like music, video, and written prose. Throw a bit of colour into the mix.

Speaking of written prose…

Writing And Online Presence

The domain reduction goal continues. I’m honestly not sure if it’s better or worse than last year. I didn’t record the number of registered domains I had at the start of 2023, but as of 27 December 2023, the domain count is at 25, of which 16 have auto-renew turned on.

Domains Count
Registered 25
With auto-renew turned on 16
Currently used for something 13
Not currently for something but worth keeping 3
Want to remove but stuck with it because it’s been shared by others 1

Ultimately I’d like to continue cutting down the number of new domains I register. It’s getting to be an expensive hobby. I’ve started to switch to sub-domains for new things, so I shouldn’t be short of possible URLs for projects.

I’m still trying to write here once a day, mainly to keep me from falling out of the habit. But I think I’m at the point where I can start thinking less about the need for a daily post, and focus more towards “better” posts as a whole. What does “better” mean? 🤷 Ultimately it’s in the eye of the beholder, but publishing less posts that I find “cringeworthy” is a start. And maybe having less posts that are just me complaining about something that happened that day. Maybe more things about what I’m working on, or interesting things I encounter. Of course this is all just a matter of balance: I do enjoy reading (and writing) the occasional rant, and writing about things that frustrate me is cathartic. Maybe just less of that in the new year.

I did shut down the other blog I was using for tech and project posts. It’s now a digital garden and knowledge base, and so far working quite well. I’m so glad I did this in retrospect. I was paying unnecessary cognitive overhead deciding which blog a post should go. They all just go here now.


Oof, it was a big year of travel this past year. The amount of time I’ve spent away from home comes to 10 weeks in total, a full 20% of the year. This might actually be a record.

The highlight of the past year was my five-week trip to Europe. Despite it being my third visit to Europe (forth if you include the UK), I consider this to be what could only be described as my “Europe trip”. I had a lot of great memories there, and stacks of photos and journal entries that I’ve yet to go through. I’m please that it seemed to have bought my friends and I closer. These sorts of trips can make or break friendships, and I think we left Europe with tighter bonds than we arrived.

One other notable trip was a week in Singapore. This was for work, and much like my previous work trips, mainly consisted of being in offices. But we did get a chance to do some site-seeing and it was a pleasure to be able to work with those in Singapore.

And of course, there was another trip to Canberra to look after my sisters cockatiels, which was always a pleasure.

Not sure what this new year will bring in terms of travel. I’m predicting a relatively quiet one, but who knows.

Books And Media

This is the first year I setup a reading goal. I wanted to get out of the habit of starting books and not finishing them (nothing wrong with not finishing books; I was just getting distracted). This past year’s goal was quite modest — only 5 books — but it’s pleasing to see that I managed to surpass that and actually finish 7 books1.

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad What to Do When It's Your Turn Anything You Want Do The Work! Turning Pro The Song of Significance Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination

As for visual media, well, there’s nothing really worth commenting about here. I did have a go at watching Bojack Horseman earlier in the year, and while the first few series were good, I bounced after starting the forth. I’ve also gave Mad Men a try, after hearing how well it was received by others, but I couldn’t get through the first series. I found the whole look-at-how-people-lived-in-the-’60s trope a bit too much after a first few episodes.

In general, I’ve found my viewing habits drift away from scripted shows over this past year. I’m more than happy to just watch things on YouTube; or more accurately, rewatch things, as I tend to stick with video’s I’ve seen before. And although I’ve got no plans to write a whole post about my subscriptions just yet (the sand just feels too nice around my face), I did get around to cancelling my Netflix subscription, seeing how little I used it this past year.

As for podcasts, not much change here. With a few exceptions, the shows I was listening to at the end of the year are pretty close to what I was listening to at the start. But I did find myself enjoying these new shows:

These are now in my regular rotation.

The 2023 Word

My 2023 word for the year was generous, trying to be better at sharing things. And I like to think I’ve made some improvements here. It may not have come across in a summary post like this, but I’ve tried to keep it front of mind in most things I work on. I probably can do a little better here in my personal life. But hey, like most themes, it’s always a constant cycle of improvement.

I must say, this last year has been pretty good. Not all aspects of it — there will always be peeks and valleys — but thinking back on it now, I’ve felt that it’s been one of the better ones recently. And as for this review, I’ll just close by saying, here’s to a good 2024.

Happy New Year. 🥂

  1. It’s a good thing I was tracking them as I though I’d only get to 6 this year. ↩︎