2011 – My Year in Review

Published on 30 December 2011

It seems like everyone is doing a retrospective blog post about 2011, so I thought that I would jump on the bandwagon.

Here goes...

2011 has been a very busy year for me, both from a work/community and personal standpoint.  What follows is a brief recap of what I have been involved in this year, and also a look ahead at what I hope to be doing in 2012.

Getting Involved in the Development Community

Getting involved in the development community was one of my main aims for 2011, and I like to think that I have achieved this.

The Aberdeen Developers .Net User Group is going from strength to strength, both in terms of the number of registered members, as well as attendance.  With the help of our amazing vendor sponsors, we are able to offer the following prizes at each ADNUGUK meeting, and I am hopeful that this will continue into the New Year.  I am already looking to 2012 to get events planned and booked, and I am in a position where the next three events are in the planning stages, and although I can’t say too much yet, there is a HUGE event in the making for our 2 year anniversary in July.  More details will follow on this when I have some more pieces confirmed.

I went out of my way to attend numerous Community Events this year.  Looking at my hashtag cloud from Twitter, it is pretty clear where I went:

hashtag cloud

This year I attended, DDD9, DDD Scotland, DDD South West, The Progressive .Net Tutorials, GiveCamp UK, and DunDDD!  These were all great events, and if I was forced to choose one above all others, it would have to be GiveCamp UK.  The sense of satisfaction that everyone in attendance got from helping out at GiveCamp was amazing, and I would strongly encourage anyone to attend should it happen again in 2012.

Attending events like this is a great way to develop yourself as well as get to know other developers.  As a direct result of these events you can see from this graph the type of characters I have ended up talking to on Twitter throughout 2011:

twitter contacts

All of the above mentioned people have helped me in 2011, in one way or another, and for this I am very grateful!  Twitter really is a great way to get involved with fellow developers, and it is a wonderful source of information.  If you are a developer, and you are not on Twitter, you should be!

As some of you may know, I am a Moderator of the ASP.Net Forum over at VBForums (and no, before Paul Stack or Barry Mooring say anything, this isn’t just a forum for Visual Basic), however this year saw me getting a promotion to Super Moderator.  As a result, I now have administration rights to all the forums, and am able to help out with moderating and moving threads around, and generally keeping the community there in check.

This year saw me review a couple of articles for the developerFusion website, something which I found to be very interesting, and which I hope to continue into 2012.

From a Personal Stand Point

I had the pleasure of entering my first photography contest, and although I didn’t win anything, it was a lot of fun.  The photos that did win were very worthy winners!  I like to “think” that I know how to take photos, but I really don’t.  However, I got a great birthday present this year which was a half day photography lesson, which I am really looking forward to in February next year, and I hope to pick up a few tips.

I did my first “proper” User Group presentation.  Going into next year, I am hoping to extend this to some of the larger User Group Events, however, I will have to do a lot of prep work for this, and also extend the areas that I am able to talk on, all of which will take a lot of time and effort, but the rewards should more than make up for this!

I went on an amazing 4x4 driving experience, which I would thoroughly recommend to anyone!

I installed far too many Visual Studio Extensions!  Thankfully, ExtensionSync makes it very easy to maintain this across your different computers.

I set up the ability to stream High Definition media to our upstairs television.  This ended up being a lot more work than I thought it was going to be, but I am happy to say that the end result works really well!

My inner child was awoken with the purchase of LEGO Mindstorms.  If you are looking for the ultimate geek toy, look no further, it is truly amazing!

My wife and I celebrated our first Wedding Anniversary!  If she can continue to put up with me, this will hopefully be the first of many happy years together.

Looking forward to 2012

Looking forward into 2012, there will mainly be more of the same as above.  Following the principles that I took from Mark Rendle’s talk at DDD South West I will be looking to improve myself as a developer, but I also hope to break into doing talks at some of these community events, rather than simply attending them.  This will be a big step for me, but something that I am very much looking forward to.

I will be continuing to blog next year as well, however, I am looking to writing much more technical blog posts.  I have learnt a lot this year from all the talks that I have attended, and I am looking to implement these technologies in a number of pet projects.  I will be blogging the trials and tribulations that I have along the way, which will hopefully help other people.

And that, as they say, is that!  I hope you all had a great 2011, and here’s to 2012!

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