Yearly round up — 2021
2021 felt like a copypasta of 2020 but with a couple of changes (to avoid plagiarism of course). Here’s some of the highlights of my year.
Launched two products
At the beginning of the year I completed the project I had started the year prior and launched JiffyCV on the iOS and Android stores. JiffyCV was a resume writing app with a difference as it allowed you to store multiple representations of the same experience so you could quickly tailor your CV for specific jobs.
Unfortunately even though a lot of my sweat and blood was put into the app not much came of it and I suffered pretty badly from burn out having spent the 7 months before launch putting in at least 4 hours a day to get it made.
It was an important lesson though and it set me up for the next venture that I took a few months later after recuperating and having a big think on what I’m actually passionate about — helping teams build shared understanding.
That next venture was Reciprocal.dev, an interactive User Journey Mapping tool that combines business artifacts with development data in order to provide teams with a means to visualise and explore the risks involved in software development to build a shared understanding of their products.
After a successful MVP in the middle of the year we launched an alpha of the tool in October and we’re now collecting feedback to understand where to go next (this was one of those lessons learned from JiffyCV).
I’m hoping 2022 will be the year of getting my first paying customer for Reciprocal.dev and changing the way that businesses look at software development.
Organised my digital life
During the course of 2021 I’ve collated my data from the various cloud providers I had been using and built up a system for filing everything using the Johnny Decimal system. I then used that system to facilitate a number of moves between cloud providers in a bid to regain control over my digital life.
The first move to was remove myself from Google’s vice like grip by shutting down my Google Drive & Photos (a relic from having an Android phone in 2016) in favour of iCloud and moving from Gmail to Protonmail in order to stop my emails being used to flog me adverts.
After moving to iCloud however Apple showed their privacy focus to be an absolute facade and announced a bunch of new initiatives that made me regret putting any trust in them.
It took me a while to find an alternative that didn’t involve yet another vendor I had to put trust in but eventually I came across NextCloud and installed it on an old Raspberry Pi I had kicking around.
Once I had NextCloud set up I then had to find alternative apps to the ones I used that supported WebDAV for storing data as Apple’s iCloud has a really tight grip on the iOS market, but I was able to move to a stack that supports my self-hosted setup.
I had also bought a PinePhone and a second-hand OnePlus 6T to try and move from iOS to a Linux smartphone but due to my banking being with a mobile only bank I’ve not been able to make the move, so removing iCloud from my set up is the best I can get so far.
Played some good games
Towards the end of 2020 I was able to convince my girlfriend to try out World of Warcraft after getting an urge to dive back into it after many years of not playing. Over 2021 we’ve played WoW sporadically and managed to get a couple of characters to the max level however it became apparent on our second play through that there’s not many different paths to take on your subsequent journeys.
This year however was a pretty good year for me and (console based) Pokemon as Pokemon Snap had a sequel and I completed my Pokedex in Pokemon Home. There were also remakes of Diamond and Pearl released but I found them to be a bit mediocre.
As for mobile based Pokemon this was the year that Pokemon Go’s FOMO finally broke the camel’s back and I decided that I don’t care anymore as Niantic have put profits over allowing players to remain safe while playing. For me this is a big deal as Pokemon Go has been a core part of my life for over five years and I’ve spent thousands on it (not just in-game but also on flights to events).
SkateBIRD was another game that I found to be mediocre which was a shame. I had been really looking forward to it after seeing it announced last year and probably hyped it up too much for myself as the final game felt more like a PS1 Tony Hawk’s game control-wise than what I was hoping for.
Animal Crossing also had a massive update which finally delivered the full game to us. I used the launch of that update to go work through the eight odd months I had stopped playing for so I was all caught up which allowed me to streamline the process I had for checking in daily, however if I’m honest I don’t feel compelled to do anymore than that which probably means I’ll neglect it again soon.
Started looking into my health
I made the mistake of stepping onto the scales in November and realised I’d put on two stone (about 12KG) since working from home in late march 2020.
In the before times I would walk to and from work and during lunch I’d be running about Leeds city centre with my Pokemon Go friends which probably meant I was walking between 10 and 15km a day.
That all changed of course when work from home happened and the UK went into lockdown and I ended up swapping those walks for napping during my lunch break in order to deal with the lack of sleep I was getting from working on my side project and my neighbours making noise into the small hours.
In a bid to get some of that exercise back into my life I bought an under-desk treadmill that I could walk on during meetings at work. This worked pretty well as listening to people and occassionally talking allowed me to not think too much about the walking aspect, but I struggled to get more than an hours worth of walking in due to the number of meetings crammed into my work day.
I’m currently assessing if walking for a couple of hours at night while I work on my side project would be better as it would also allow me to walk uninterrupted and a shower before bed might help me sleep better.
On a mental health note this year I was able to get myself on the waiting list for an ADHD referall after stuggling at work. Unfortunately it’s very likely I won’t actually have a diagnosis until late 2022 but I’m glad I took the first step.
And finally I ended the year by getting my third Covid jab. My previous two jabs had been Pfizer (and from the same batch due to visiting two different centres two months apart) and I had no reaction to them but this latest one was Moderna so I’m anticipating to feel like death over the next couple of days.