1st January 2019

It’s the end of 2018, and that means it’s time to review the year!

Personal Moments

Last year I had a few big personal moments – I graduated university, and started my first professional role as an iOS Developer. Well, this year I’m still working the same job, and I’m continuing to develop my skills in the role.

As for anything specifically in this year, I’m probably left until very late October, where myself and my partner had an offer accepted on a house. It’s not wholly completed yet, there’s still a few things left in the process. But it’s nearing completion, and we plan to be moving in very early next year! And we will both become homeowners at the ages of 26.

That will certainly give me a lot more to write about in the new year, as I try out new home automation devices, just general rambling, and I’m sure some stress from building Swedish furniture.

Projects

Not a massively active year for me in terms of raw numbers, but in 2018, I’ve been working on three projects. One of them I cancelled during its beta phase, one was cancelled when it was nearly ready for release and the other one, fortunately, made it!

Slate

Slate was my attempt at building an iOS client for the Micro.blog service. I got quite far into the development, and I had a very usable app, which was in public beta. However, my use of the platform slowly died down, and so did the amount of effort I put in the app. So I made the decision to stop working on it completely. I haven’t given up on Micro.blog as a user just yet though, and I may even attempt an app for it in the future, but there were too many obstacles for me to work on this.

Text Case

Text Case is quite possibly my best app. I think I’m revenue terms at least, but also the reception it had when it first launched, the code quality, and the simplicity of it. It’s certainly the one I’m happiest with.

It’s currently sitting at version 1.3.1, and I’m already in the middle of 1.4 which should be released sometime in January hopefully.

There are 15 different formats to use, and also 4 different styles of title case formatting. I also added support for Siri Shortcuts pretty much as soon as it was released, which definitely helped for the publicity.

It was covered by a ton of blogs, a screencast video tutorial, multiple mentions in the Club MacStories newsletter (where I also was interviewed about Text Case), a German podcast, and quite a few more! It’s something I can definitely take as a big highlight of my year, and there’s still a massive amount of improvement that can be made.

While writing this piece, Federico Viticci included Text Case in his “My Must-Have iOS Apps, 2018 Edition” article on MacStories. 😍

If you want to update yourself on the history of Text Case, here are the blog posts of each release:

Hydrate

This was an app started by a personal need. I wanted to start tracking water intake, and I wanted to work on a new app. So I joined the two together and started to work on Hydrate.

It actually went quite far, and at one point I thought I had a super minimal version. However, WaterMinder grew in popularity, and after a while, I just became less interested in tracking my water intake. So the project kind of died out.

Travelling

I went to five different countries last year (counting the Canary Islands as separate to Spain), and this year I’ve stepped it up to 6 different countries (not including England), and four of them were first-time visits!

  • Bournemouth, England.
  • Berlin, Germany.
  • Folkstone, England.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Sheerness, England.
  • Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Eastbourne, England.
  • Berwick, England.
  • Wells-next-the-sea, England. (About 4 times)
  • Banham, England.
  • Agadir, Morocco.
  • Barcelona, Spain.
  • Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain.
  • La Graciosa, Canary Islands, Spain.

For the last two trips, I shared a few photos only blog:

Blog

I’ve written 100 blog posts, not including the 60 linked posts, and 351 micro posts (This was imported from Micro.blog, and my Instagram), this year. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • A Relic of My Musical Past 🎮🎼 – I was searching for some old hard drives of mine, and I found a very old bit of music I made.
  • Ideas and Speculation on the Future of iPad Connectivity– This was my reaction to the original rumours of the now released iPads switching to a portrait Smart Connector. I took this a bit further and speculated on what other connectivity the iPad could have, and what it would mean for the platform as a whole.
  • Two Rediscovered Pieces of My Writing – This was another bit of my history, as I found two very old bits of my writing from a very old and lost blog. The first was my experience developing a game and then watching other people playing with it. The second was a very strange one, that I haven’t written anything similar to in a while, and that was me explaining what was at the heart of a black hole, what time dilation is, and how an event horizon works.
  • Refining My Device Usage to Maximise Value – Just before iOS 12 was announced, I decided to try and cut all the distractions from my devices, whether it was notifications or complete apps, and then I discussed what features I would like in iOS 12 to help this.

What I’ve Enjoyed

Movies

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  • Infinity War
  • Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
  • Outlaw King
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  • Black Panther

TV Shows

  • Punisher
  • Dynasties
  • Stranger Things (Season 1 and 2)
  • Lost in Space

Books

My original target was to read 15 books this year, however, I only managed 11. The main reason behind that is mainly because I don’t finish many books, I’ve got at least 6 that I’m at least halfway through.

  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
  • World of Warcraft: Traveler (Series) by Greg Weisman
  • The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben Unfinished
  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking Unfinished

Podcasts

I listen to a ton of podcasts, including some new ones in 2018. However, I’m now getting to a point where I can’t physically listen to every episode of them.

However, here are the podcasts that I at least try to listen to all episodes, and enjoy the most:

Games

I don’t play a massive variety of games nowadays, so this list is basically the games I play regularly, but here’s what I’ve enjoyed:

  • World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth – Mac
  • Pokémon GO – iOS
  • True Skate – iOS
  • FIFA 19 – PS4
  • Flipflop Solitaire – iOS
  • No Man’s Sky: Next – PS4

Blogs

As an owner of a blog, I tend to read a lot of other peoples as well. I’m sure most people reading this will have a bunch of common reads, but here are a few of my favourite one-man blogs, that I recommend:

Expectations From Last Year

My plans for 2018 were to rebuild my website, start a newsletter, focus more on Swift, go on more small trips, and attempt a 365 whether it was a photo-a-day, or write something every day.

It starts well, as I did rebuild my two main websites – my main domain (chrishannah.me), and my blog (blog.chrishannah.me). I moved my blog to a more stable WordPress instance, where I also added a redesign, and I changed my base domain to a very simple website which just has a few links to find me on a few platforms.

I did attempt a newsletter, and it actually took two forms. I started off by sharing links every week of interesting things I found the internet, and then I expanded to that to include podcast episodes, news on what I was up to, and links to new posts on my blog. This lasted 13 weeks in total, and I don’t currently have any plans to bring it back.

One plus was the focus on Swift, in that I’ve been putting a bigger effort on the quality of my development, working on conventions, and expanding my knowledge at work in things like continuous integration, UI tests, etc.

The travelling was certainly something I also excelled at again, somehow I managed to fit in quite a lot of trips this year. I won’t set any expectations for next year, but I have to admit I’m already booked to go to Oslo in March!

The last plan for 2018 was to start some kind of 365 project. I started a photo challenge, and also a personal journal. Neither of them lasted the year, but the journal is something I want to try again.

Plans for 2019

For 2019 my plans are more refined than last year. I think this is representative of the stage of my life I’m going through, as everything has become a lot more stable. Especially as the time I have outside work isn’t as big as it would be as a student, and also as I’m moving out this year.

Most years I would desire to always do so many new projects in the new year, but my plan is to double down on what I’m currently offering, and then hopefully start one more project. I’ve spent the second half of 2018 working on Text Case, and that has been my most successful app so far. So I want to try and build on that success, however big or small that was, and see what I can do next.

Something I want to do more of is writing for this blog, and writing in general. I’ve grown a tendency to publish more linked posts on this blog than write my own content. I want the ratio to be flipped in 2019, and ideally at least one full piece every week, with a lot of smaller rambles, and opinions on various things.

The writing also leads me to another plan, and that’s to get back journalling. I’m still not sure what form that will take, whether it’s in the public on my blog, digitally on something like Day One, or full analogue inside a Leuchtturm notebook. I can’t see myself going full Bullet Journal, but maybe more in the form of a diary. The issue I will need to overcome in 2019, will be the periods of time where I don’t really have anything interesting to write down, as this was one of the main reasons why I stopped this year.

The last thing, of course, is to move out!