Tags: 2009

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That was the year, that was

Reading through the messages from my friends on Twitter, it sounds like a lot of people didn’t like 2009. At all. I’m feeling a lot of hate for Oh Nine.

Personally, 2009 was perfectly fine for me. Not superb, but not terrible either …kind of like every year, really. Good stuff happens. Bad stuff happens. Whatever.

I don’t like spending my time looking forward or looking back—I prefer to stay in the present. That said, this is the traditional time of year for a retrospective.

This time last year, I carried my resolutions from 2008 forward:

  • Reduce and/or offset your non-renewable energy output.
  • Give blood.
  • Lose some weight, you fat bastard.
  • Play more bouzouki.

Now, at the end of the year, I can say the results have been… mixed.

  • I did a lot less travelling in 2009. That transformed my Dopplr animal from a spritely squirrel into a more sedate butterfly. That trend will undoubtedly reverse in 2010. As well as the annual pilgrimage to Austin for South by Southwest, I’ll be speaking at five different cities for An Event Apart.
  • I gave blood regularly in 2009. I will continue to give blood in 2010. You should too.
  • I remained a fat bastard in 2009. I don’t intend to be a fat bastard in 2010. We’ll see how that works out. I may invest in a Wii Fit.
  • I didn’t play more bouzouki in 2009 but I have been noodling around on the mandolin a lot so that sorta counts.

Now let’s see what I consumed in 2009: some music, some films, some books.

Music

There were some good albums released in 2009. Two Suns by Bat For Lashes is pretty good. There’s some good stuff on The Big Pink’s A Brief History of Violence too. I really like Reservoir by Fanfarlo and Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone is great. But I think my album of the year would have to be The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists, which I’ve written about before.

Films

Despite my aversion to the typical cinema-going experience, I actually ventured out a few times in 2009. I enjoyed some good science fiction with Star Trek, Moon, and Avatar. My most memorable cinema-going experience was probably seeing Let The Right One In in a deserted Duke of York’s.

Books

I’m not sure if I read any books that were published in 2009. As long as the publishing industry insists on first publishing only in hardback, I will continue to wait for the paperback …if I can maintain my enthusiasm that long. Honestly, I don’t know why they do it. It’s as idiotic as region-encoding in DVDs.

Fortunately, the tech-publishing industry, for all its faults, doesn’t adhere to the hardback/paperback time-shifting. That’s good because there were some great books published in 2009. Emily’s Microformats Made Simple and Handcrafted CSS by Dan and Ethan are just two excellent examples.

2010

So that was 2009. I guess I’d better finish with some predictions for 2010. Here goes:

  • Good things will happen.
  • Bad things will happen.
  • There will be some cool music.
  • There will be some crap music.
  • Blogging will die.
  • Blogging will enjoy a resurgence.
  • The publishing industry will die.
  • The publishing industry will enjoy a resurgence.
  • There will be some good films.
  • There will be some bad films.
  • Websites will be created.
  • Websites will be shut down.
  • Celebrities will die.
  • Mike Arrington will be a dick.
  • In December 2010, you will read best of lists.
  • In December 2010, you will read predictions for 2011.

In short, 2010 will be perfectly fine. Just like 2009.

Happy new year!

Thatmedia 2009

It’s been a great month for conferences; UX London, An Event Apart in Boston, and wrapping it all up, @media 2009.

The two day event was filled with great talks. The first day was filled with design-led topics and the second had more of a developer-based approach. You can check out Colly’s slides and Malarkey has published the slides and words from his talk called Walls Come Tumbling Down.

The conference finished with the traditional hot topics panel, moderated by yours truly. My guests were Jason Santa Maria, Jon Hicks, Douglas Crockford and Chris Wilson. They were wonderful. Thanks to them, I had a really enjoyable time debating the burning issues of the day, like HTML5 and @font-face. I thank them sincerely for being such gracious panellists, stoicly enduring my snarky barbs.

This year’s @media had a similar feeling to the very first event back in 2005. But this year’s @media has one distinguishing characteristic; it is the last one being organised by Patrick. Never fear! The conference isn’t going to go away. Far from it. My splendid friends at Web Directions will be running @media next year, ensuring that the high standard of the conference will be maintained.

Thank you Patrick, not just for @media 2009 but for all the work you’ve put into this annual London geekgasm.

Oh Nine

At the start of 2008, my past self wrote down a few resolutions for my future (now present) self:

  • Reduce and/or offset your non-renewable energy output.
  • Give blood.
  • Lose some weight, you fat bastard.
  • Play more bouzouki.

Let’s take them one at time…

Reduce and/or offset your non-renewable energy output.

Yeah… um… so that didn’t really work out all that well. Yes, I did fit energy-efficient light bulbs. Also, I don’t drive a car. That’s something of which I am not just proud but downright smug. But I did end up doing a helluva lotta travelling. Some of that was offset—all the Web Directions conferences are carbon neutral, for example—but I’m still responsible for a lot of jet fuel. My Dopplr animal is a squirrel, for crying out loud!

Still, I made the most of all that travel. Thailand and Japan—both new destinations for me—were certainly highlights but I also loved getting back to San Francisco and any trip to Alaska is bound to be good.

This year I’ll be cutting down on my travel. No, really! I mean… of course I’ll be going to South By Southwest again and I will be speaking at An Event Apart in Boston in June but apart from that, I’ll be staying close to home. Honest.

Give blood.

Score! I did this. Twice. I would have done it more but all that travelling makes it hard—they don’t like you to donate if you’ve just come back from somewhere exotic like, oh, the USA. Apparently it’s just awash with the West Nile virus in Summertime.

Seriously though… please, please, please give blood. Not only will you be doing a great service but I guarantee it will restore your faith in humanity to see the cross-section of society there with you.

Lose some weight, you fat bastard.

Alas, no. If anything, I might well be portlier now than I was this time a year ago. I need to start taking brisk walks along Brighton seafront and practising portion control in my food intake.

Yeah, we’ll see how that works out.

Play more bouzouki

Again, no. I played plenty of bouzouki with the band but my proficiency with jigs’n’reels is lacking. Being in Ireland for Christmas, including two days in Galway, has been a timely reminder of just how much I love trad music. I need to maintain that enthusiasm throughout the year and maybe even get out to a session or two.

So that was my scorecard for 2008. One out of four.

Given this woeful result, rather than add or replace any resolutions, I’m going to carry them over into 2009. I’ll start fulfilling them tomorrow. Or maybe Monday.

Please don’t hate me, future self.