"Mo"
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2021 Year in Review

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It's a new year... again. And I'm on a personal mission to blog more. I've been reminiscing about how the internet was a while back. In other words, pre-social media. I miss following people on their personal blogs through RSS. You know (if you were around then)... the times of Google Reader. Sure, some things have improved... the barrier to entry for sharing information is far lower now, you can publish from your phone, building an audience is easier, etc. But I've found that I read less than I used to. I skim more. To be honest, if I do come across a blog post where my scroll bar is too small, I tend to bail.

So, here's what I'm going to try to do.

I'm going to write more. It might be more random, and it might be less focused, but I'm not going to stress about it.

So... How was 2021?

Obviously, we're still dealing with COVID. But I can't really complain. I've been able to continue working and everyday life has returned to about as normal as it could be for my family under the circumstances. My kids are going to school in person. Church services are back in person. We've even been fortunate to avoid any major cases of COVID within our broader family.

I've actually been working in the office for most of last year. More than half of our team is remote, but I still enjoy the in-office culture: things like Friday lunches, walk breaks, etc. It isn't the same as it was before the pandemic, but it is pretty close... just more masks. When I was working from home for most of 2020, I felt very isolated. I guess it turns out that this introvert still likes to be around people.

I miss conferences. The last one I attended in person was DevUp in St. Louis back in 2019. If everything goes well, I'll be attending CodeStock this April, though.

Learning and New Technologies

In terms of technologies, I'm still doing lots of work with .NET. Except for one legacy project, literally every .NET project I've been on has been with .NET Core, ranging from 3.1 to 6. The data access for all the projects has used EF.Core with a touch of Dapper in places where we need to drop to tighter SQL integration.

On the frontend, most of my work has been in React with TypeScript, though one project has had a lot of Vue usage, too. Honestly, I like both frameworks. I remember being blown away by KnockoutJS when it came out... that seems like a long time ago now.

I've been using a good amount of Azure, too, ranging from Azure App Services and Azure SQL to Azure Event Hub and a bit of AKS. Most of our larger clients already have existing dev ops teams, so I rarely get to get my hands dirty with large scale production systems.

Fitness

On an entirely surprising note, I've gotten involved in fitness a lot more over the last few years. Mostly, this has been via F3 Memphis (see F3 Nation if there are any groups local to you) and running. I started attending F3 bootcamps about 3 years ago where I discovered just how out of shape I was. A year later in 2018, I started running more as the cardio I had built up from the 2-3 workouts a week helped me where I could sustain a jog for 2-3 miles. I just sort of worked up from there, slowly adding miles.

As of 2021, I'm ~30 pounds lighter, and I've now run two half-marathons, both in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. My resting heart rate has dropped from the mid-70s down to the mid-50s. I'm debating if I want to try a full marathon this year. I totalled ~450 miles total last year (and it would have been more, but I was out for a few months for physical therapy).

What's Next?

To be honest, I'm not sure. I'm just throwing some thoughts out for possible future blog topics:

  • Current dev machine set up
  • Dev Tooling set up (terminals, editors and more)
  • Tech Thoughts
  • Why I still use RSS
  • etc.

But that's enough for now.