2014 Year-end Review

January 4, 2015

I read Cation Designs blog and she did a year-end review. It made me think about my advice that people who often feel like impostors should do self-reviews. Creating a well considered analysis requires us to consider (and focus on) the real accomplishments instead of the failures (real or imagined).

Cation is a sewing blog. This is not. Reviews are reviews though.

I suppose that means I’d best get started.  While the categories are top 5, there is no ordering within the buckets.


  • Podcast: we did 50 episodes this year. Occasionally, it was a chore but more often it was a great way to meet interesting people. I’m pleased (and occasionally startled) at how it has grown.
  • I did a white paper for a client. It was a month of incredibly thinky work but not a lot of code (just the odd bit here and there to test ideas). I really enjoyed the in-depth thinking required.
  • Making Hugh and Maxwell are-you-ok widgets as a collaborative project. I liked working with Elizabeth.
  • The Hackaday Prize judging was extremely educational for me as well as being fun. This came about because of the podcast so that’s an interesting loop-back. It also makes me want to do more projects myself.
  • I’ve kept up the blog even though it is something I do almost exclusively for myself. This is where I practice writing and I’m happy with myself that I keep practicing. My output has been a bit uneven but there was at least one post every month. Note that there were some other posts: on element14 (paid), Sparkfun tutorial, and on Hackaday (recent projects).
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Posts 1 1 9 9 7 1 2 4 3 2 6 9



  • I enjoyed building Maxwell but, as a monitor, he’s a failure. His network has been flaky since we got a new router (as have our other Electric Imp devices) and I ignore his whiney emails (exactly what I shouldn’t be doing). Plus, I forget to pet him. I’m not sure this is the right path for this sort of monitoring (maybe fridge mounted would be better).
  • I spoke in two sessions at EELive last spring, being the sidekick for Jen’s BIA teardown and then my own presentation on how the vaunted internet of things is not on a good path for consumers. Many things happened behind the scenes that made me nervous (“Your computer cannot work with our AV.” “No, no one is speaking here at that time.” “No, we don’t need to do a real run through.”). I’m a pretty crummy speaker when nervous.
  • We looked in to getting sponsors for the podcast. It wasn’t pretty. I’m not sure how monetization will change how I feel about it. Making hobbies profitable is a good way to lose a hobby.
  • I worked at PARC and found it to be very interesting. I hoped that the place and people would be interesting enough but routers hold no attraction for me. I missed the gadgets something awful.
  • There are several home improvement tasks that I really meant to do. For some reason, ignoring the things doesn’t make them get done.


  • Last January, we rented a house in San Diego with friends to celebrate another friend’s birthday. It was not an easy trip for various reasons but it definitely qualifies as a highlight.
  • In the fall, Chris and I rented a house in Santa Cruz and had a very nice vacation filled with whales, dolphins, otters, delicious coffee, and sunshine.
  • Chris and I snuggle on the couch watching TV before we sleep. I like it.
  • I was matron-of-honor at a Las Vegas Halloween wedding. It was just as crazy as it sounds.
  • I had my first birthday party in years. It was fun.


  • I need to be better at gauging things I actually want to do versus things I feel I have to. I’ve gotten better at the day-to-day form of this but I still sign up for things in the far future hoping to convince myself it will be fun.
  • People are more important. Even being an introvert, I know this but have trouble remembering. Looking at the Hits and Highlights, it should be apparent that those are there because of the people, not because of the event.
  • My husband is right and I should tell him that more often.
  • I hate it when people leave the area. I felt sort of abandoned. One set of friends had such a long “we’re leaving” time that I sort of stopped believing they were going. It was a sad surprise when they did. Another friend said “we’re thinking about it” and then suddenly (to me) was gone. I know it is good for them (and it isn’t about me) but missing them has made me sad.
  • I’ve been on a path toward focusing on being happy: taking responsibility for and thinking about how to accomplish happiness. I did pretty good this year: learning new things and accepting some things that are not mine to change. But I clearly need a lot more work as I find it difficult to recover from perturbations.


  • Be kind.
  • Be brave.
  • Be generous.
  • Advertise the podcast and book because they are worthwhile and useful so talking about them may help other people.
  • Do interesting work.


We often threaten the dogs with year end reviews but they know their extreme cuteness will mean no punitive action will be taken for their obvious badness.

We often threaten the dogs with year-end reviews but they know their extreme cuteness will mean no punitive action will be taken for their obvious badness.