Offbeat Bits

Just another personal summary of 2021

When I'm writing these words, 2022 is around the corner. I guess it's a good idea to write some sort of summary of 2021. It also looks like a perfect opportunity to say something foolish so that I can laugh at my past self next year.

In a semi-random order, here's a list of thoughts I have about 2021 and what I'd like to do in 2022.

Blogging

Well, I have this site. For the first time since 2010s. And you're reading this piece. That counts.

(yes, there are 2020 articles in the archive, but they had to wait some time until the site eventually got live. In fact, many of my drafts date back as far as 2017)

Getting it online, populating it with content and developing a workflow that lets me write as often as I want without overinvesting time into it (who reads blogs nowadays anyway?) places high on my 2021 accomplishment list. I didn't expect much in this department and I'm happy with the outcome.

I have no wishes about this site for 2022. It was not intended to meet any arbitrary goals and never will be. It's meant to be there whenever I feel an urge to say anything I find worthy of archiving rather than letting it rot on any of my social media channels.

Tech / career development

Mixed success here.

I finally managed to dive into Docker. I'm still figuring out Docker Compose and rethinking my strategy of hosting personal projects based on the knowledge I have. Ideally I'd live to move away from setting up my own virtual servers but that will definitely raise a lot of new questions.

I wrote more React code and gained some commercial experience with it. But it was too little and ended prematurely. I remember stating ‘new job' as my 2021 wish and it remains valid for 2022. In fact, I find my job situation the biggest disappointment of 2021 and I could write an entire article on this, but let's just leave it as-is.

I still haven't built anything in React Native. It still ranks high among tech I'm interested in, even if it's only for the sake of satisfying my own needs. Boom, another item on my 2022 wishlist.

I committed numerous improvements to my open source projects and watched them grow. I intend to keep doing so in 2022.

Overall, in 2021 I gained a little more perspective on software development and product building. I may code less, but I think about architectures and try to paint the bigger picture before getting into the implementation stage. Before 2021 my projects usually started their life on GitHub. Since 2021 they're more likely to emerge as a Google doc or loose notes on paper. Not a big deal, but quite significant.

Gaming

Surprisingly revolutionary year for Luke the Gamer. Quite a few unexpected things happened in parallel.

First, I bought a Nintendo Switch. What initially was meant as a short-term experiment effectively turned into my primary way of consuming video games. I play games in short but frequent sessions rather than once-a-week multi-hour sittings and I still manage to sink hundreds of hours into single titles. Whether Switch manages to maintain the spot of my primary gaming rig in 2022 is yet to be seen.

Also, in 2021 my desktop PC started showing signs of age. At first I thought it was thermal issues but replacing thermal paste didn't solve the problem of random crashes among numerous titles. In the meantime I bought a MacBook Pro and it effectively took over the role of my primary workhorse. At this point, having in mind I'd have to pay quite a lot to get a PC as powerful as my current one was in 2015, I'm seriously questioning the need of owning a desktop computer at all.

But the final nail in the coffin was something else: disappointing releases of games I was impatiently waiting for. Far Cry 6 didn't run well on my PC and I didn't want to play a 30fps-capped Google Stadia version that looked like a washed-out movie. Forza Horizon 6 at the release turned out to be a messy pile of bugs that made the whole experience incredibly frustrating. I'm gonna revisit it somewhere in 2022 but I don't have high hopes any more.

Also, something minor and totally unexpected in 2021 was Pokémon Unite. The first MOBA game ever, as well as first team-based game in a very long time, that managed to overcome my disdain for team-based games as well as steal the top spot of my most watched categories on Twitch. It's simple enough to learn quickly, doesn't require big chunks of time to fully enjoy and it's still challenging enough as a competitive experience despite a clear aim to attract casual players. Obviously it still suffers from problems typical for team-based games but right now is the best moment to get into it.

Other

Just another year of working from home. I still enjoy it and I don't miss daily commutes a tiny bit. But I have my own share of struggles related to it. Among things I have to address in 2022 is my sleep quality and physical activity.

I miserably failed at reading books. I can't recall anything worthwhile I read in 2021. My stack of books I'd like to read grew significantly and my Kindle collects dust. It's gonna take some serious habit formation to get back on track with this.

Nothing of importance happened in the video department. Video category in my wishlist, intentionally broad to cover a lot of different things like becoming a Twitch affiliate or editing YouTube videos for other people, is still there for 2022 and beyond.

Twitch, YouTube and Netflix fiercely competed for my attention in 2021, with Netflix clearly winning that battle despite being the newest kid in the block. I'm still catching up with numerous popular series from 2010s and I'll probably keep doing that during my meals in 2022.

And...

...that's it. No need for fancy closers here. Happy new year.