As with previous years I like to leave myself and end of year note to remind Future Remy what he was up to. So is my last me-me-me post of 2020.
The 2020 backdrop
I very much doubt if Future Remy has forgotten this year, but on the off chance, it was the one with the pandemic. Hopefully the only one in my lifetime, but wow. Oh, and Brexit of the no deal flavour. And Trump, and Johnson - two disgusting individuals representing parties and views that are so utterly distant to my own moral values that I feel like the world is splitting in half.
Vaccines for COVID-19 have started to be deployed but as yet we don't know what that looks like, and I suspect 2021 for the most part will be locked down similarly to 2020. I do hope the death toll is lower, much lower and thank the stars none of my immediate family or friends have been lost in 2020.
For some of the bizarre context, for me, I hadn't put my shoes on in around 4 months (because I didn't leave the house), I've completely fallen out of the habit of the gym (because it was closed) and seeing friends in real life is like mainlining happiness directly into my eyeballs (as it had been so rare).
Anyway, it's super likely I didn't forget. Now onward with the things I did manage to do.
- There was no ffconf 12. ffconf is an incredibly important staple of our year, partly as it makes important part of our planned business income, but also because it's something we look forward to and deeply about. Though we were far from alone. We had it all booked for Friday 13th too (my birthday is 13th and I was 13 on Friday 13th, so this combo is particularly special to me). We missed our ffconf friends.
- Speaking - once (and no virtual talks for me - which I think I'm thankful for). I did have the pleasure of reprising the How We Built the World Wide Web in Five Days with Jeremy right before the full lockdown happened.
- Client work - oddly I've been busy (oddly because I know businesses have collapsed in 2020). I've had steady long term contracts (which on reflection was massively important this year). Conversely though I've had 2 weeks of in the entire year, so I was starting to go a bit stir crazy.
Given the pandemic situation I've spent most of the year holed up in my home office (which was new as of September 2019) and rarely stepping out during the day - not so healthy. I took very little time off work during the year (2 weeks before the end of year) and my mental health was going totally to pot. The lesson on that one was to make more room for my mind during lockdowns.
In the last year (or so) I've gradually moved more and more of my published content around the web to hosting first on my own blog and then syndicating out. Specifically this year I added Things I Learned, my book reviews and my occasional devlogs all of which are available in my feeds.
With that said, here are most popular blog posts from 2020:
- Auto-growing inputs, published 6-Mar - a small trick to make inputs grow - 1,414 views
- How I'm teaching the kids coding for the web, published 20-May, my analogies I used during teaching my kids - 1,409 views
- MS, published 10-Mar - on my diagnosis of MS - 1,390 views
I should really write a blog post about view counts because I've been using a few different systems and they numbers don't tally at all. Certainly I know that these are in popularity order, but analytics, for page views is kind of a misnomer!
Personal & side projects
- Medical: My biggest news, personally to me, was my diagnosis of MS. Though I was lucky in that my diagnosis wasn't sought for (some people spend years and years trying to get a diagnosis for problems that turn out to be MS), it was certainly a shock (mentally) though my day-to-day living continues as normal (as can be).
- Whittling: at some point early on in the year, I found that I was idly using a knife to chip away at sticks my kids had collected. Shortly after I realised I had whittled something that vaguely resembled a cat. I got some basic knives for my birthday and had a week off work in November and whittled my daughter a dog which I was rather proud of. I've since made a teddy bear for the boy, a necklace wood-shell thing for Julie, jumper christmas decorations, a ball in a cage and a spiral pen holder for my friend.
- Brief vlogging: (I'm not a fan of the word "vlog" by the way) whilst I drove to the gym I decided that I would wax lyrical on a few thoughts about the web that bouncing around my head. The aim was to post once a week and keep going… except that whole pandemic thing happened which lead to the gym being closed during lockdown henceforth ending my brief vlogging time! Still managed 20 videos though.
- 6502: at the end of 2019 I bought Ben Eater's 6502 kit and had a lot of fun over the following months making a working computer and starting to dip my toes into some practical assembly coding and understanding how it all works from an electrical pulses point of view.
- Spectrum Next, NextBASIC and my game: Go Mummy: I backed the Spectrum Next project 2017 and it arrived in Feb 2020, to wit I went to town on creating my own tooling (using the web…obviously) and learning NextBASIC - a very much more advanced version of BASIC and eventually released my own game, a spin on the classic Amstrad game Oh Mummy - Go Mummy
In short, 2020 meant that I was mostly locked away behind a computer trying hard to bring money home (whilst Julie had the mammoth task of being the kid's centre of the universe - the events industry dropped out weeks before UK lockdowns were announced). As such, I've found some interests that are outside the scope of the web and can happen alone (for better or worse).
But yes, onwards to… hopefully a better year - though I think we (certainly in the UK) have struggled ahead still both with the pandemic but also in a business economy where we're now outside of the EU (something I really did not want).
My aims for 2021 - try to get back on the gym/exercise kick (or at least make it a habit again), keep tinkering, keep reading, keep writing and keep taking steps back to enjoy the moments - especially those shared with my family.