Taking stock of my 2009 New Year’s resolutions…

Welcome to 2010, hope you all had a lovely annual holiday / New Year break!

Anyway, it seems timely to have a look at my resolutions from last year and see how things have progressed…

Well here goes:

1. Get back into going to the gym, Tai Chi and Pilates – I did go to the gym in small spurts, but a fraction as much as I used to. I also went back to my old Tai Chi class with my friend Peter, but getting there became really hard to manage as I was often away at conferences or just couldn’t leave work to get there on time. I eventually stopped going after about 6 months because making just a couple of classes a month on a paying by term basis was somewhat like burning money :-0

2. Think of a useful Perl project and get going – I did some Perl noodling but I didn’t do enough to get anything off the ground and though I did get a refresher course approved at work I never had the time to do it. Annoyingly now I’m in a different job writing Perl is not within my role competencies and can’t get approval for another course, so a big FAIL = boo :’-(

3. Finish my ‘David Bowie Owl’ painting and get cracking with some others – big slap on the wrist as I didn’t do this or any other painting in 2009 :-/

4. Go to bed earlier – Nope. I’m rubbish at going to bed early as I write and do all my best thinking after 10pm – basically I’m a night owl, though must persevere to sometimes be in bed before 12am – just so it’s more likely I’ll wake up for work!

5. Play more games and think more about gaming generally – IMHO I didn’t play enough games in 2009, though I did enjoy quite a few and also hung out a bit more with gaming friends. Dave Green organized a really good series of games events at BAFTA, which I enjoyed going to, went to some IGDA meet-ups, as well as lots of DS:London meets and the odd Hide and Seek 😀

6. Travel more, even if that means going on my todd! I did quite a bit of travelling for work, speaking, representing and being involved in sponsorship for Backstage, but I didn’t have one holiday or mini-break all year! Unfortunately I need to have time off work to travel and this didn’t really work out, for example due to moving from one hectic role to another and being across large projects with harsh deadlines.

7. Read & share more books – okay, I’m rubbish at getting round to reading books, I’m too fidgety and easily distracted. I did read bits of several books over the year, but didn’t finish any – they were all technical or psychology books, so in some ways that’s okay but sometimes it’s advantageous to read the whole thing!

8. Come up with a really cool and original idea for an event – I had several ideas for events, but as it happened I couldn’t get enough / the right people interested to get them off the ground or before someone else had claimed the idea. This has been a bit frustrating, but I’m still determined to organize a retro technology event, a simple electronics music hack workshop / orchestra, a food / vegan / cook-off or hack and finally a gaming event.

9. See more of my awesome friends & family – I’ve done a bit better with seeing some friends, but not others and been really rubbish at visiting my family – big apologies all round ☹

10. Create more quality video for the web – I worked on swathes of video in 2009: I produced the pilots for BBC RDTV and did a series of my own ‘Vegan Geek in the Kitchen’ videos, looking at reverse engineering recipes to make yummy vegan food, as well as event related vids. I want to do more of these and other video experiments in 2010, so thumbs up!

11. Think some more about ‘A BBC Micro for the 21st Century?’ Yes, I did do a lot more pondering on this subject and have gone off on my own tangent, thinking a lot more about how we can inspire and engage people to play and learn about basic electronics and programming. Some of my ideas around this topic are fueled by workshops and events, becoming entwined with the above resolution no 8. I was part of the BBC R&D team that went to the UK’s first Maker Faire in Newcastle in March and had the pleasure of talking to people of all different ages and backgrounds about technology and playing with tech which was really inspiring = yay!

12. Research / promote / encourage women in tech – I’ve done a lot of thinking and talking about this during 2009, I feel a little more positive, but I do still think there’s huge ground to cover regarding inspiring women to persue a career in areas such as programming & electronics engineering. I still don’t see many women talking at tech conferences, I realize that this is a complicated issue and I’ve put myself forward to speak whenever possible, but I still feel there could be more done to inspire women to put themselves forward. It certainly springs to mind that when I see conference backchannels such as Twitter being used to pull apart speakers credibility in seconds it’s not exactly enticing for noobs or those with a less than a thick skin to put themselves up for potential ridicule. Anyway, I wouldn’t say I’m the greatest speaker, but practice makes things a lot easier and I feel mentoring and support can help a lot – I joined Geek Speaker, as I often hear that conference organizers have problems finding women speakers. Earlier this year I also mooted a women in tech network to meet other geek colleagues at work, to focus on careers, training and related support, which initially didn’t receive much enthusiasm. However, 6 months later I met Dorothy, a senior software engineer working in another division, who is also very enthusiastic about looking at possibilities in this area, so onwards with that one 🙂

13. Life / work balance – gosh, I’ve not done terribly well with this one at all, less said the better = FAIL!