Goodbye Year of Hell, Hello 2020 Won!

Sorry for the bad pun. It was so funny that I stole it from someone, somewhere. Whoever thought that one up, good job. Here we are in 2021 and the Year of Hell is gone.

I have finished my traditional totem against a Year of Hell and have consumed my turnip greens, cornbread, real and not Yankee, and black eyed peas. Unfortunately, I don’t have any Bourbon so spiced rum and eggnog will have to do. Let me say I do an amazing field greens. Wrapping the meal up some butter and molasses on cornbread. My execution is such that it has become one of my favorite meals of the year. Enough about my stomach, lets dig into the old year, the Year of Hell, and the new year, the Hopefully not a Year in the Ninth Circle of Hell.

Year of Hell 2020

Looking back on the year, I was mostly pleased were I ended up as a professional. I knew this was going to be a year of change but I had no idea. What is funny is most of the change never happened and will be likely pushed off into 2021. That is actually a good thing in this instance since it is unpleasant things that are on the horizon.

My main goal was to get my life more in balance. I think I achieved it though not how I intended. I did not expect to be writing these words from my living room but working from home has been pleasant. It has let me spend more time with my dog and improve the quality of chow that I am eating.

Health wise, I am not any worse off save for being older. I still weight too much but that was to be expected for someone that loves to eat like I do. While trying to make things less hard tech focused, I did fail to move this blog more towards that goal. I posted a bunch and there are some articles but they never had much play so I focused on weird technology things that I ran into and computer science stuff for most the content. So that was mostly a fail.

My educational goals went better. I did read a bunch on Android but life got in the way and I have not followed up by programming in it. It looked like a waste except that I feel like I am a better developer after going through it than I was before. So that felt like a win despite not pivoting into mobile.

I learned more about Deep Learning and got to be on the edge of a project that used it. I figured out a bunch of stuff for how to bring my .NET together with Python and TensorFlow. I want to build a Chess site that will let me play with that more.

Finally, I killed it improving my C#, VB and Unit Testing. I finally got past the barrier to reading the Art of Unit Testing. I learned a better mocking framework in FakeItEasy. If killing it here was not enough I got into Unity. If there is something that killed my Android pursuit, it was learning Unity. Because of its multi-platform nature, I think Unity will achieve my goals better than directly programming Android ever would. In addition to derailing the Android plan, Unity killed my iOS learning but that was a stretch even in the most optimistic grounds.

After reading 14 technology books this year and feel like I have never been coding better. I hope to complete my initial multiyear plan to perfect myself as a developer this year. When I say that, it is in terms of my initial assessment to the theory and practical of being a professional developer. I have a bit further to go but I made huge strides this last year. I used the plague well in terms of becoming a better developer.

After all that, I should be pretty happy with my achievement. Adding topping on to my achievement cake is the fact, I got this blog up and running in a real way. It has been in fits and starts but I have created a bunch of content and some of it is even useful.

My unstated goal was well, not done. I felt like it was a stretch last year and it proved to be this year.

Applied Goals Process for 2020

Did I finish my suite of Android apps? Nope, I got focused on learning and making money that it kind of got pushed out the backdoor.

Where We Go from Here?

Well goal number one is get better at posting. I am hoping to improve on my fits and starts of last year. It really killed the blog in terms of growth. I have never had more views than this year but I stopped and then they trailed off. The world demands regular content and I did not feel like providing it. With all that stated, I am toying with the idea to create a schedule of 2 or 3 times per week. That may prove to be too ambitious but it is what I am thinking about. It may be a 100 day experiment to see if it works.

Next, I spent a bunch of last year on the practical in terms of development. This year, I want to focus on the theory. I will be continuing to work on Deep Learning and data science in general. I think I will reread, Clean Code and the Art of Readable Code. In additional I am going to read more about Computer Science basics that I never got in school. Finally, there will be more work in learning design patterns. It has always been a weakness that I don’t know my design patterns well enough. I intend to fix that this year. All said, I have 17 books, I want to read this year on technology and development. I will almost certainly fail this goal but reading even half of them will be transformative.

On the practical side, I want to play with ML.NET. It’s out of beta and it seems like something that would jive with what I want to do in my career. I think I am going to work through the Kaggle classes stuff. Even the things I should be good at like SQL. Sometime reading elementary things teaches you answers you missed that first time. Will I actually get to a Kaggle Competition. I don’t know but I hope to this year.

Business After the Year of Hell

So this last year has been rough on business. I barely survived the assaults on small business and Oil and Gas done by the Chinese and Russians. I am about to start the development of my Garden App that I have been playing around with for years. All the design is done. The initial set of technology problems have been investigated so I will get to start that development process.

I have a business invoicing app that I am playing with as well so hopefully, I will have some programs to actually sell in my little software company since I doubt consulting is going to be lucrative this year.

Finally, I would love to get this year in position to sell data science services in 2022. My wacky little Chess program will hopefully monetize as a demo for my skills.

Wrapping up the year, I am hoping to diversify my income to toughen it up. I could also get bored with all this work and thought on business and say to hell with with it and go get a job. Give myself a break from the grind of small business and make some money.

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