2019 Year in Review


The year began in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

Sunrise ocean view in Mexico

It was a year of growth.

I ran my first 5k and finished two half marathons. I got pretty serious about my morning protein shakes and green drinks with a blender towards the end of the year.

At work, I experienced exponential growth in my SQL and Looker knowledge, which contributed to my promotion to Business Analyst. I recreated our support team’s performance management system and am currently working on the performance management system for another team.

In the first half of the year I completely redid this portfolio website and blog.

I went much deeper into programming beyond just front end. I started with Laravel by recreating some of my simple PHP projects from 2018. Ultimately, I completed a Laravel run tracking app, Track Your Run. This was my first deployed app with user authentication. Next I focused on the fundamentals of Python and explored Flask and Django for web frameworks. I loved Django, and made a project called Colors From Image that returns the dominant color palette from an image. I had fun playing around with the Python Tweepy package to use the Twitter API. I’m ending the year with Python for data science and machine learning. I also got to stay fresh on front end by creating our company’s summer retreat website, coding a redesign for an internal tool, and coding the new GoFundMe Charity Help Center.

I saw my Raspberry Pi in a new light. I learned more about Internet of things and how the Raspberry Pi fits into that. I was able to power an LED light from the Pi, run a Python program to turn the LED on and off every second, and run another program that turns the LED on and off from a button press on the breadboard.

Raspberry Pi powering an LED light

Favorite ____ of 2019

Books

  • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth: Buckminster Fuller’s name came up a few times this year, and I wanted to find a book that was hopeful about the future. This is one of his most well known works. I read it twice.
    • “I am enthusiastic over humanity’s extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuities. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem.”
  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why most small businesses fail with great advice on the mindset needed when starting a new business.
  • Hit Makers: How hits have been created in the past and the magic between the familiar and new.

Shows, Movies & Documentaries

Music

I got to see one of my childhood favorite artists, Raffi with my family this year. I’m pretty sure my sister and I were the oldest people in the audience without children.

I got my first analog drum machine, the Roland TR-808. It is fun to create simple beats and jam along with my synthesizer, guitar, or bass.

I listened to a lot of electronic music this year, discovered Synthwave, listened to a few country songs on repeat, and was reminded how much I love Dancing In The Moonlight.

2019 Spotify Genres

Podcasts

Family

Outside of all the work and learning, two particular events from the year stood out. The first was my wife and I visiting The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden while in Dallas for a conference. The second was taking our dog Pirate for a hike at Fortuna Mountain Trail and seeing how much he loves hiking.

Family hike with our dog