Twenty Ought Nine — Goals in Review

Well, it has been a real­ly rough past cou­ple of months. We’ve been pass­ing around who-knows-how-many virus­es. We had sev­er­al hol­i­day get-togeth­er with friends and fam­i­ly here at our house (not includ­ing tonight’s NYE par­ty1. Wyatt has learned to crawl, so our lives have only become that much more insane as we attempt to keep him out of trou­ble. I’ve also been in a beard-grow­ing con­test and while you might think not shav­ing would only save me some trou­ble, the efforts to do some cre­ative pho­to doc­u­men­ta­tion have tak­en up a not-so-small chunk of my dwin­dling free time. To top it all off, of the four prod­ucts2 I’m writ­ing for at work, all of them attempt­ed to have releas­es in the same week (imme­di­ate­ly before Christ­mas).

So, excus­es aside, I real­ly want­ed to look back on the goals I set out back in Jan­u­ary on this site to see just how far I got, in terms of my plan.

  • Write More In terms of blog­ging, this is already look­ing bad. I think I had even few­er blog posts here and for Bent­ley than I did last year. I still wrote a lot (did I men­tion all those work projects?), but I can only say I’m dis­ap­point­ed in the lack of online writ­ings.

  • Take More Pho­tographs and Video — This one fared a good bit bet­ter. I don’t know that I took many more gen­er­al pho­tos than last year, but I will say that between a new baby boy and doing Whiskeri­no, I’ve spent a lot more time try­ing to take bet­ter pho­tos.

    Giv­en that the amount of video I shot in pre­vi­ous years amount­ed to almost noth­ing, this was a pret­ty low hur­dle to clear. I did shoot a good bit more video and even shared some clips this year. I man­aged to cap­ture some very won­der­ful moments with both kids and even with some fam­i­ly mem­bers. Most spe­cial to me was that I got to record one of my Grand­fa­ther’s sto­ries dur­ing his vis­it back at the begin­ning of Novem­ber. I cer­tain­ly want to share that with my fam­i­ly and chil­dren (who are far too young to appre­ci­ate that sort of thing). I only regret not doing some more of that.

    If noth­ing else, though, I very proud of this video birth announce­ment we did for Wyatt:

    The Birth of Wyatt Paul from Jason Cole­man on Vimeo.

  • Learn an Object Ori­ent­ed Pro­gram­ming Lan­guage — This one stalled out pret­ty ear­ly on, I must con­fess. It was always some­thing of a low pri­or­i­ty and this sim­ply was­n’t a year to get around to any­thing that did­n’t have flash­ing sirens and flames shoot­ing out of its open­ings. It is cer­tain­ly still some­thing I’d love to pick up again and my O’Reil­ly book isn’t going any­where.

  • Learn to use Reg­u­lar Expres­sions- I real­ly did get into the meat of this one, though. Two of my work projects involved tak­ing a lot of lega­cy con­tent and updat­ing or inte­grat­ing it into new doc­u­men­ta­tion of my own. I sim­ply could­n’t have done the amount of work I accom­plished with­out a tool like RegEx and the util­i­ty soft­ware I used to learn/apply3 it.

    In the com­ing year, I’m going to be get­ting into struc­tur­ing lega­cy con­tent (both my own and that from oth­ers) even more. I’ll be forg­ing a lot of my own path in devel­op­ing doc­u­ment con­ver­sions with RegEx and spend­ing some hours learn­ing even the fun­da­men­tals is going to pay off.

  • Take Ains­ley Swim­ming — We did take Ains­ley swim­ming in our neigh­bor­hood a few times. What’s more, we ded­i­cat­ed a large por­tion of time this sum­mer to tak­ing to a swim safe­ty course. The results were noth­ing short of amaz­ing and I rec­om­mend this to any­one with small chil­dren. We ful­ly plan on tak­ing Wyatt in the next year.

    Ains­ley’s Swim Class from Jason Cole­man on Vimeo.

  • Final­ly Get Some­thing Out of Twit­ter — I real­ly ramped up using Twit­ter this year. I pur­chased Tweet­ie for both the mac and the iPhone and began to fol­low loads of folks, both near and far. Twit­ter also went entire­ly main­stream this past year, which did­n’t hurt in find­ing peo­ple of inter­est to fol­low.

    How­ev­er, Twit­ter has become a dou­ble-edged sword. It makes find­ing and fol­low­ing so much eas­i­er, it has sup­plant­ed blog­ging and feed-read­ing a great deal. It seems I’m not the only per­son who has noticed this, too. Were blogs used to be filled with com­ments and track­backs, now we just get short­ened links via Twit­ter. Link blogs are all but dead now (though for­tu­nate­ly some are still strong, such as Gru­ber or Kot­tke, and oth­er old-timers) as we con­stant­ly are fed a diet of bit.ly links inside of 140 char­ac­ter chunks. I’m not argu­ing that one is real­ly bet­ter than the oth­er and cer­tain­ly blog­ging can be a time con­sum­ing hob­by. But it is impor­tant to acknowl­edge that the way we use Twit­ter can actu­al­ly dimin­ish oth­er activ­i­ties.

  • Run One Short Road Race Per Month — Oh, God, no. That just did­n’t hap­pen. I bare­ly ran at all. That’s not to say I’ve not at least made some effort into get­ting a bit health­i­er (I’m already down about 12 pounds from just three months ago). I ran a cou­ple of races, true, but noth­ing like one a month.

So, there you have it. I’m not dis­ap­point­ed in how things went this year on the whole. I do think I came clos­er my fam­i­ly, friends, and col­leagues; which as I said back in Jan­u­ary, was real­ly the ulti­mate goal here. Two-thou­sand nine was a tough year, but in a far bet­ter way that its imme­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor. It was dif­fi­cult because of the new chal­lenges of a sec­ond baby, new work projects, learn­ing to use (or get more out of) the tools I have. In fact, look­ing back, those are best kind of chal­lenges I think any­one can hope to be up against.

Hap­py New Year and may twen­ty ten be a won­der­ful year for all of us.

  1. Tonight’s par­ty is actu­al­ly going to be kind of a ear­ly event, as we’re get­ting togeth­er to watch Vir­ginia Tech play and, hope­ful­ly beat, the Univ. of Ten­nessee. There will be food and drink, but I sus­pect we won’t last much past mid­night. []
  2. I inher­it­ed a huge respon­si­bil­i­ty in the form of STAAD.Pro’s doc­u­men­ta­tion. I made some great strides in updat­ing it over the past three months but I still have a long road ahead of me. Oth­er than that, I worked on the doc­u­men­ta­tion for our soon-to-be released struc­tur­al mod­el­ing inte­gra­tion toolset as well as the two STAAD(X) Tow­er prod­ucts. []
  3. I pur­chased RegEx Bud­dy about 6 months ago. Even though it was at my own expense, it saved my bacon ten times over and was worth every pen­ny. []