The end of 2023 left me quite busy with family & festive cheer. Now that a week of 2024 has come and gone, I've found myself able to reflect on 2023 and project for 2024. This was greatly helped by reading a lovely list of 2023 year-end reviews from some of my favourite bloggers.
Personally Notable Achievements
The first thing I'd like to highlight of the things I did well & consistently:
- Quit centralized platforms and joined the Fediverse (Mastodon, Lemmy). Take that, enshitternet.
- I grew my RSS reader from ~20 feeds (mostly spammy news) to 86 feeds I actually enjoy reading. The small web is back. I'm sure this will grow in 2024
- I joined several mailing lists (GTALUG, NANOG) and forums (Practical ZFS & several Lemmy communities). ** still looking to meet a lobster to send me an invite **
- I've begun the habit of not being a passive viewer. I started emailing folks and - to my surprise - folks email back; This is the way the web should be.
- I took of the guard rails at work and allowed myself to stand out, despite the pitfalls of stepping on toes and being othered.
- I broke away from a Network / Linux focus. I've dabbeled more into web-development / CompSci / general coding / Systems Engineering, History (mainly Medieval / modern), and Tech Policy or privacy advocation.
- Hacked back distraction by using ad-free / purpose built services. Redefined how I Timeblock. I also used services like Distraction Free Youtube to end the rabbit holes.
Some Noteable Highlights
One of the things I did this year was take more of a focus on mentoring / guidance. I've provided & received as much insight online as I could – while trying not to be a reply guy. I've also taken on this mindset at work; I've really tried to being an encouraging guide to my colleagues. I just have to add, unfortunately, that I believe this is often negated by my work environment itself.
Another great great highlight was combining NANOG88 with a visit to my dear colleagues in Seattle. NANOG 88 had many great sessions and discussions. Some of those discussions inspired some of my projects for 2023 and beyond. I also enjoyed my time in Seattle. It's such a laid back and easy city for me to enjoy.
As for DBIUA / Orcas Island; I always have a wonderful time visiting my dear friends' slice of paradise. The deer population was down, but we got to see Orcas this time – on my colleagues pursuit boat, to boot. If my aspirations were different, I really wish I could settle down on Vancouver Island and be a stone's throw away from such a wonderful place.
I'm so grateful for the many accomodations the DBIUA team / community made for me. I hope to reward this with great projects.
The final thing I'd like to note is that I see the elements in which I have made change at work. Sadly, there was a recent incident where a seniour colleague of mine expressed that he didn't see the change, by making light of my tenure; However, I know better. It's really hard to be a beacon of change, when you're in an environment that is so resistant to it.
Nevertheless, I press on with a project I started in 2023, which I feel fills a very large void in our MTTR. I am proud as it is challenging me on all fronts of my knowledge (automation, reverse engineering, systems deployment, project management and gathering influence). I hope this project is successful in 2024 as it very well be my magnum opus / final endeavour, within this organization.
In summary, I'm happy to look deeper into the things I can personally bring to my org; However, I feel more and more as a Persona non Grata.
On a more personal non-career note, I also finally made it to Germany; This further solidified my itch to uproot my skills and export them to Europe.
Looking on to 2024
There's much to say about the remaining 358 days of the year. I will keep it short and sweet with some of my goals (these are not resolutions).
- Attend 3 conferences (I'm hoping for 2x NANOG & 1x another conference, such as DENOG)
- Speak at at least one of those conferences (lightning talk counts, but I'd prefer a full session)
- Contribute to a project I adore, such as Netbox or VyOS
- Produce a series of free guides, in the interest of making free stuff (a la Max Bock). Could be blog, could be video, could be both.
- Continue connecting with tech folks far and wide. One shouldn't be limited to their local tribe.
- Really take a deep dive into coding. A big stretch goal in this is to take on WebDev as a new hobby (with such great tooling and RSS feeds, it'd be a shame not to draw on such resources).
- Read as much as I can. Write as much as I can (be it journaling or on this blog).
- Read/Review five+ textbooks. I'll try to post back on these with my notes.
- Continue home projects / self-hosting. I moved in 2023, which allows me to get a fiber connection (2Gbps down, 1GBps) up. There is much to explore in 2.5Gbe, mirroring, filling up my patch closet with low-power servers.
- As per the above, I'd like to deploy more services. The fediverse has interesting projects (Pixelfeed, Peertube and Owncast). There's also front-ends like Individuous that will allow me to stop fighting Youtube Ad-block arms race and simply pull the content, ad/tracker/distraction free.
- Fill up my Bookmark manager (newly deployed) with notes & as many interesting articles as I can. Gone are the days of saving something in Telegram, only to struggle finding it later on. I'm using Linkding for this (thanks Tooters for your recommendations!).
- Do more for DBIUA. I believe some of our limitations can be undone – it just requires a little keyboard lube.
Cheers to 2024!
Instead of a year-end link dump, I think it's fair to say that 2023 was the beginning of the end for platforms. Xitter (pronounced Shitter) effectively died and many others are dying with it (Substack, etc.). It's perhaps time that we, once again, consider the web as an end-to-end service, rather than a select few private "Town Squares".
It's also been the rise of AI (or plausible sentence generators, as Doctorow would call them – being as "they're neither artificial or intelligent"). This is causing the world of SEO spam/low-effort garbage "content" to explode at a level we never fully imagined.
So, if you read anything this year, read this:
Maggie nails it, especially with her diagram.
I'd like to expand upon this in a formal post, but I think 2024 will see a further pilgrimage of tech folk into the fediverse, small web and cozy web. I also believe that normal folk will continue to gather in the cozy web, leaving "platforms" and meeting their friends in digital living rooms.
I think we're at the start of something beautiful or quite horrific. I suppose it depends on your motives and your personal perspective.