Sigh, I can still remember how excited I was when I wrote my year end post last year. I also remember being on the treadmill, during my morning exercise and watching CNN. Covid was the topic and it was a "potential" concern. I can remember thinking - news agencies love to be dramatic and this will be off their radar in a week or so.


All things considered though - there's a lot for me to be happy about. In March, I married a wonderful woman. She makes me happy, supports me, and is just plain incredible. It doesn't hurt that she's also a huge nerd. I'm happy to say our wedding song was the Imperial March. We've not been able to go on a honeymoon yet but we're making plans.

I've also managed - somehow - to keep all ten of us (my wife has a son with her ex, so with the seven I brought in, we're eight kids and two adults) healthy over the past year. We've been homeschooling four of our kids and while that's been tough, it's at least keeping them safe. Everything else below is - to use a Cajun phrase - lagniappe.

So as I do every year, here's a quick review of what I accomplished. This isn't meant to brag, but is my way of taking stock of what I got done.

The Blog #

In February of this year, I migrated my site to Eleventy and never looked back. I absolutely love Eleventy (see my posts on it) and don't see switching. Of course I've gone through a couple of "favorite" Jamstack tools, but something tells me this one will stick. Looking at my stats, I managed to write 84 posts this year, a far cry from the hundreds per year I used to do in the past, but with most of my short form stuff being shared on Twitter and with me writing more for external sources (I list these on my About) page), I think I had a great number. All I really want is one per week and I absolutely hit that. If you're curious about maintaining a "per week" flow, you can read the post I wrote about tracking that with Eleventy.

I think I'm still doing good traffic wise. I removed Google Analytics earlier this year to rely on Netlify Analytics. I'm happy I did that, but I do wish Netlify would improve the available toolset a bit. I can't remember the last time it changed - I think it was a date range selector that lets you pick one of three ranges. I'd like to see more done to it, but it's definitely worth it now so I'd still suggest Netlify customers consider it.

For folks curious, my average traffic rate this year as been over three hundred thousand page views per month. This is pretty much on par with what I've gotten for quite some time now so I'm happy enough with it. Not that I need the site to earn money (Netlify graciously serves my site for free) but I started using Carbon Ads a few months back and it's... ok. It earns more than AdSense does for me, but still a bit a low I think for what my traffic and readership brings in. I may try to see what I can to improve that next year. Typically though I make the most money writing for other publications, and I like doing that as it exposes me to other audiences.

Professional Stuff #

I work too, sometimes anyway. I've now been at HERE for about sixteen months. I've really enjoyed getting to know the mapping space more and I work with some great folks. I do think there's going to be a change for me and my job in 2021, but time will tell.

Despite Corona, I somehow managed to do 24 events! I'm super proud of that. Virtual presenting is a completely different beast compared to in-person events, and to help, I wrote up some tips on giving remote presentations. Give it a read if you think you'd like to try.

In terms of my skills, as I said I've definitely learned more about mapping. I feel like my JavaScript skills got a bit sharper this year. Still not quite "Pass the Google tech skill" level, but better. I'll take that. I also started playing with Python a bit. I used this year's Advent of Code as a way to practice. I only got eight days done but I'm really digging Python. I want to make it a focus for next year, along with GraphQL as well.

Lastly, I released a book on Vue.js (to be clear, my part was just three chapters) and I'm working on another book on the Jamstack with my buddy Brian.

Media #

In the past I used to do a separate post on my favorite movies, music, and so forth. I just don't think I've got the energy. This year my wife introduced me to musicals so I've been catching up on that genre. I think my favorite was the Les Misérables film with Sacha Cohen. I never quite understood George Constanza non-stop singing "Master of the House" until I heard it myself.

If I could make one suggestion for a movie to watch from this year, I'd recommend Antebellum. I didn't really know about this movie before I started watching it and that just made it more powerful. Don't look it up, just give it a watch.

TV wise I can only recommend an older show, Gotham. My wife and I are watching it and are almost done with season four. It's incredibly fun to watch and I love Penguin and Riddler.

Oh, and there's some small TV show called Mandalorian but I figure I don't need to recommend that. ;)

Music wise my wife has been getting me into more folk and indie folk. This was also the year I really embraced Spotify and it's absolutely worth the cost to pay for an account. In fact, I got rid of Sirius XM in one of our cars and may get rid of it completely. I was an Amazon Music subscriber but felt like they kept removing features instead of adding things to keep me as a customer.

Book wise it was a mixed bag. I read just over ten books. But honestly - I went to bed most nights exhausted so I'm going to give myself a pass. I'll make two recommendations. Devolution is a great Bigfoot book by the author of World War Z. If you want something unique and fascinating though, read The Only Harmless Grear Thing by Brooke Bolander. You can read it in an hour or two and it's really different.

2021! #

I won't tempt fate and say "2021 can't be any worse", mostly because I don't believe in fate and as I said in the beginning, I had some incredibly wonderful things happen to me. I am absolutely looking forward to (hopefully) getting on a plane again and interacting with yall in person again.

I want to thank everyone who reads this blog. Time and attention are valuable resources and I greatly appreciate yours! Have a wonderful New Years and see you in 2021!