I live a fairly boring dorky, life, often spending my non-working hours engaged in various projects. In 2022, I had a relatively prolific creative spurt. I made some new apps, a couple of video games, and even wrote a novella! Here’s a rundown of stuff from 2022.
To infinity and beyond
The MRI dev team had a pretty prolific year too. The COSMIC team created two new applications supporting our customers’ spacesuit logistics needs. We are a part of several NASA contracts that were awarded in 2022, which means 2023 should be packed with new work. We’ll likely be hiring new team members to cope with the amount of work coming our way. 2022 was a big year for space (James Webb and Artemis I to name a few successes) and it’s exciting to see how I’ll get to be a part of it going forward.
I’m not much of a reader, I regret to say. I wanted to make a conscious effort to read more in 2022 and though I didn’t read a ton, I did make it through a handful of novels, thanks in part to the book club at work. I read a cyberpunk classic, Neuromancer, a grimdark fantasy trilogy, The First Law, and a YA rom-com about a teen with SMA—a book I was so thrilled to read that I wrote about it.
I wrote a handful of articles on my website in 2022. One of them—a love letter to writing fonts—made it to the top of Hacker News for a day. In November, as part of NaNoWriMo, I wrote a sci-fi novella called The Signal, about a group of astronauts stranded in deep space after they fail to prevent an asteroid from crashing into earth.
Spotify instead of Apple Music
I spent 2022 using Spotify almost exclusively for music instead of Apple Music. This topic really deserves its own article, but the gist is that the Apple Music app on macOS is terrible. It’s clunky and glitchy. The last straw happened toward the end of 2021. I was typing in the search input and my text somehow got deleted three times in a row without producing search results. I was so angry that it was making me retype my query over and over that I rage quit and opened Spotify. I used it the whole year and it was great.
The side hustle
My biggest side project is my browser extension, A Fine Start. I spent the holiday season redesigning my marketing site and adding some new features to the app. The big one is that I finally added an annual premium subscription that offers a discount over the monthly one. I also added a power-user feature that allows you to fold and unfold groups—handy if you have a lot of links on your new tab page. I also did some longstanding housekeeping that was needed, reducing the permissions needed by the extension and updating to Manifest V3, which is a behind-the-scenes technical thing that Chrome had been yelling at me about.
That time I got really into synthwave
A few year ago I got really into synthwave music mixes on YouTube. I ended up making a site dedicated to listening to these mixes. I continue to update it weekly, automatically pulling in videos from a variety of handpicked creators.
A while back I read a fantastic post about how apps can be a home-cooked meal. I made a few of these for myself and my family and began referring to them as home-cooked apps. One of them was a grocery list app for my family to use and one of them was a digital bookmark repository. For more on that, see the article I wrote about the joys of home-cooked apps.
I’ve been slowly achieving and ol goal of mine since childhood—to make video games. My brother and I have a growing collection of silly little gaming experiments. This year, I created my first-ever game on Itch.io, Chain. I also made a tiny dungeon game called Tiny Terror Tower.
My brother and I finally got around to publishing our collection of stories by our late grandfather, Roy Charles Watson. He used to tell them often and usually over and over to anyone who would listen. He also typed up many of them as part of a family newsletter he used to send out. Matt, our mother, and I compiled them into a little website. https://www.roycharleswatson.com
Goals for 2023
I’m glad I wrote this because before listing it out, it didn’t feel like I accomplished that much. But looking back, I did alright. I hope to continue some of the successes of 2022 as well as add some new ones. I better list them out so I have something to go by.
- Read 5 books
- Write 5 articles
- Make one game
- Keep a journal
- Write one work of fiction
- Make (or start) a new app for money
- Be more social