I’ll be honest: these year in review posts feel like going to the dentist. I generally hate doing them, but I know that it can be good exercise to reflect on the past year. I think one thing in my favour is that I’ve actually kept my blogging — and to a lesser extent, my journalling — up to date so I’ve actually got something that I can refer back to.
So here’s a brief summary of how my year went.
I’m a little bit disappointed on this front. It feels like I’m in a bit of a rut, and lately things have been a little boring. I have been promoted to a squad lead, which I guess is some form of progression. But just like other times I’ve been asked to lead a team, it’s not something I feel I’m good at or like doing. And yet, I really cannot see any progression here other than leading bigger teams (apart from changing jobs).
That said, a few good things have happened. The project I was working on went live earlier in the year, and while it was a stressful couple of weeks (around Easter time as well), it was generally well received and no major issues came up. Plus, I got to learn a lot about Stripe, which has been on my goals list for a while.
Family And Friends
Sadly, there’ve been a couple of deaths this year. My grandfather passed away in March, after suffering from a spate of aliments like stomach cancer and emphysema. This was obviously quite sad, but I take solace in the feeling that he’s finally found some peace and relief from his suffering. The second was in February, when a friend of the family that my Mum was very close to passed away. Neither of these felt like they came too soon, which is some consolidation, but it was not a great start to the year.
Oh, and in December, after 2 years and 9 months since March 2020, I got Covid-19 for the first time. I just glad that I was up to date with my vaccination: I couldn’t imagine how worse it could have been if I wasn’t.
One new project this year that I actually managed to release: Dynamo-Browse. I’m actually quite happy that this tool exists. It’s been on my wish-list for a couple of years and the moment came around to finally bite the bullet and work on it. I’m also quite please that I put some effort into the finish of it, so that I wouldn’t be completely embarrassed to share it with others.
For a while I was working on another project called Broadtail which downloaded YouTube videos and made them available in my Plex server. This was before I got YouTube premium, and as soon as I did, this project fell to the wayside. It’s still around and I’ve modified it to download WWDC videos, so I may dust it off come next June.
There were various other things here or there that aren’t really worth any comment. Again, I’m wondering if I’m focusing on too much and only half-finishing things.
Wow, after a few years of not travelling at all (this is not just because of the pandemic), there was a fair bit of it this year.
If there was one destination that was top of list this year, it was Canberra. We went once as a family during Easter to see my sister’s house, and her new cockatiels. I’ve returned to Canberra three other times this year to look after them while she was overseas for work. The whole work from home revolution has made this possible, and I’m glad I was able to do this.
The other location of note was travelling to Las Vegas to attend AWS re:Invent, and although I became ill during the trip, and was generally overwhelmed by the size of the conference, it was still good to be able to travel overseas again. Good thing I got my passport renewed.
By the end of the year, the amount of travelling I was doing was exhausting. 2023 is shaping up to be a big travel year as well, and I’m a little concerned it may be too much for me. I guess we’ll see this time next year.
Not much on this front.
This was the year I really got into Obsidian. I started the year trying to carry around a paper notebook, and although I used it a few times to write notes, it was a little uncomfortable in my pocket. Later in the year, I gave Obsidian another try and since they’ve now got mobile apps, it’s become my go-to place for all my notes.
Another good app discovered this year was Numi. This has been very useful during sprint planning sessions, when I need to calculate velocity and projected capacity. If there is one feature I wish I could add to this, it’s the ability to turn off iCloud syncing. I don’t like seeing my work stuff showing up on my personal desktop.
Writing And Online Presence
I think this is the first year where I end up with less domains than I started with. There were a bunch that I bought in 2020 and 2021 which I never used for anything, and they were just sitting there, taunting me. It’s good to see them expire out.
It’s also the year when I fell into a bit of a writing streak. This was a good one to have happened, and it drove me to write at least one blog post or journal entry every day. I like to continue this, and maybe refine it further by attempting to write at-least one blog post per day here.
One thing that didn’t work for me was banking posts: writing posts days earlier in anticipation of days where I couldn’t think of anything to say. I got the idea from Seth Godin, and I tried it for a bit, but the Drafts section just piled up with half-finished posts that eventually grew too stale to publish. I guess the need to publish things as soon as I’ve started work on them is something I’ve learnt about myself.
I’ve also settled on a CMS for my side-project work journal and have started a check-in blog. Both of them are hosted on Micro.blog and although I’m still working on the writing workflow, it seems to be working well for me so far.
The not-using-Twitter streak has continued, and given the current direction of the platform, it’s very unlikely that I will return. I have started browsing around Mastodon a lot more, especially since Adam has launched social.lol. Mastodon felt like a bit of a ghost-town at first, but things are improving after many of those I used to follow on Twitter started posting there. I’m trying to avoid making the same mistake that drove me away from Twitter, so I continue to be very careful about who I follow and will not hesitate to hide boost from those that make me anxious. I’m also adhering to the idea of POSSE so most of my writing will continue to originate here.
I’m combining them in a single section because I really did not get a lot of reading done. I’d like to say that I’d like to change this, but I’m honestly not sure if I would be serious. Anyway, here are some moments:
A lot of reading about creativity and self improvement this year. This includes The Dip by Seth Goden, and Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod. Both of these I discovered after reading Indie Microblogging by Manton Reece.
The books that I’ve started reading, but didn’t finished, were The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth by Tony Fadell, and 4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. There’s a bit of irony in not finishing the last one.
Things I’ve watched this year:
- Severance: I didn’t watch this when this first came out but I eventually got to it and enjoyed this quite a lot. It was good to finally get all the Lumon references.
- The Orville: I was expecting this to be a bit more satirical than it actually was, but in the end I found it to be quite a good watch. I haven’t got around to S3 yet.
- Hamilton: I finally got to see this in person. I’ve watched the Broadway performance before, and I was familiar with the soundtrack, so I wasn’t going into it cold. But it’s a much different experience watching this on the real stage.
I also made my podcast debut by being a guest on Martin’s Feld excellent podcast series Really Specific Stories. Honestly, if you’re interested in tech podcasts at all, you should absolutely be listening to this show. And I’m not just saying that because I was a guest. Feel free to skip the episode I was on, but make sure you listen to all the others.
The 2022 Word
The word for 2022 was finisher. The general goal was to stop splitting my focus and start following through on things all the way to the end. As I mentioned when I was talking about Dynamo-Browse, I think I’m improving on that front. It will be something that I’ll need to work on going forward, but the improvements are there.
So overall, a pretty decent year. Probably one of the more eventful ones than the last few, but I’m pretty happy with this one.