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All items from January 2022

2 Jan 2022 : Reckoning and Renewal, Part II #
New year, new resolutions. At the start of last year I made some new year's resolutions, and the time has come to judge my actions against them.

Unlike 2020, my 2021 achievements aren't best measured in television series and computer games. Which isn't to say I didn't get through a lot of television (How to Get Away with Murder, Borgen, Capitani, Lupin, The Expanse, Witcher, Another Life, Cursed, all 172 episodes of Voyager) or computer games (Hades, the Banner Saga, Creaks, Dishonored Death to the Outsider, Titanfall 2, Trine 4). But unlike in 2020 these weren't the completion of multi-decade odysseys.

Instead, I spent much of my year focussing on work. A surprising amount of my free time was taken up writing the Sailfish OS community newsletter. I also spent a lot of time trying to learn Finnish, wracking up a 339 day streak on Duolingo and, in the second half of the year, attending intensive Finnish classes. Unfortunately my actual progress in being able to communicate doesn't match what my Duolingo stats imply.


I managed to eradicate some long-standing sores in my life. In September I finally released my website code as open source, thereby completing the first of my 2020 resolutions.

"1. Put this website code into a public git repository."

This had been on my to-do list for fifteen years, so I was pretty happy to get it finally resolved. Also by September I'd managed to transition my password approach from the Stanford to the Cambridge algorithm, releasing an updated PwdHash app in the process. This has been on my to-do list for five years. In December I managed to upgrade Constantia, my home server, to the latest versions of the software it runs (Linux, NextCloud, jitsi, etc.). Upgrades are always daunting in prospect and painful in practice, so I'm really happy to have this back under control. Finally Joanna and I have arranged to have our gas central heating converted to a heat pump. It's taken a lot of organising from us both, and it won't actually happen until later this year, but this is another long-standing issue I'm really happy we're going to get fixed.

The other positive from 2021 was that I managed to reduce my carbon footprint, and my waste output.

Those are the big positives from 2021 for me. It wasn't all positives of course. Joanna and I still haven't addressed our living-in-two-different-countries challenge. We really need to find a better solution. This was made worse by the travel restrictions this year, which really meant we spent much less time together than is right.

While I succeeded with my first resolution, I did much worse with my other two.

"2. Each week by the end of the weekend, spend at least an hour doing something calming that doesn't require a computer."

This was always going to be a challenge, and even though I spent ages trying to formulate this resolution into something measurable, it still didn't work out. My year was busy, sometimes stressful, and I didn't make progress in the non-computer calming things, such as reading, that I'd hoped to. I did at least do a lot of walking in the forest and by the lake, and even managed to do some work in the forest and by the lake. But I need to keep track of it better in the future.

"3. Complete the bisection analysis that Frajo and I started working on a year ago."

Again, this was a fail. I made some progress, but the work isn't even close to being complete. The fact I've not pushed my write-up to git is a good indication that it needs a lot more work.

So that was my 2021. What about 2022? Based on the above, what are my resolutions for the next year going to be?
  1. Maintain a digital record of all of my grocery purchases during the year. Since I already keep track of my waste output, I think it'd be interesting to compare this against my goods input
  2. Learn quantum programming, measured by completing the book I'm reading on the topic, and writing at least one quantum computer programme. The programme should do something.
  3. Complete my Curious Correspondence course with Joanna. We've already completed four out of the twelve tasks, so we have another eight to complete this year at least.
  4. Write up the bisection analysis work.
Plus keep my average waste down to below 200g per day on average, which is a reduction on my 2021 goal, but above my 2021 level of 114 g/day, in order to keep it achievable.

I'm dropping my aim to spend a measurable hour away from my computer each week in favour of these specific tasks instead. If I can manage the above, then I think I'll have achieved something similar.

Finally, despite my usual cynicism I was won over by this article about improving without trying. I think it's because the sentences are so short. Here are five I really buy into and will be test-driving this year.
  1. Sharpen your knives.
  2. Start a Saturday morning with some classical music – it sets the tone for a calm weekend.
  3. Be polite to rude strangers — it’s oddly thrilling.
  4. Learn the names of 10 trees.
  5. Politely decline invitations if you don’t want to go.
One thing I'm pleased to note is that none of my 2022 resolutions are intended to fix long-term sores, which I think means I must have tackled the most serious of them. In which case, I can now focus on preventing any new ones from forming.

Plenty of things to aim for in 2022. Let's see how this one goes. I predict 3% chance of success.