Five Things (I Hope to Accomplish Next Year)

The final month of 2019 has started which means that hundreds of millions of Christmas trees are being put up in homes around the world and shopping malls in dozens of countries have replaced their regular muzak with Christmas songs that will repeat ad nauseam in people's minds like the buzzing of a fluorescent lighting tube nearing the end of its operational life1. The end of the year is often a time for reflection and a time to wind down at the day job. Colleagues will be disappearing for some extended holidays, which reduces the amount of work the people remaining can be realistically expected to complete. It's a time to relax. A time to put things in order. A time to focus on friends and family.

For me, though, it's also a time to go over the previous set of short-term goals, assess what was completed, what wasn't and why, then plan the next 90~120 days of efforts. This weekend I did just this and have identified five key self-assigned tasks that I would like to accomplish before April 2020.

Release an App in the Apple AppStore

Over the last couple of months I've learned quite a bit about SwiftUI and have even made some inroads into building a 10C-centred application. That said, it's still a rough "alpha-grade" project that does the bare minimum, which is obviously not enough. Given that I've already given Apple money for a developer account, it makes sense that I get something in the store as soon as possible so that lessons can be learned and immediately applied to …

Develop an Audio App for ThinkSpot

A month or two ago I received an invitation to join the ThinkSpot beta. The service was very different from what I was expecting, and it continues to be a site that I don't feel quite works for how I would expect to use it. That said, the service has a wealth of interesting podcasts and videos from thought-provoking members that are not found in regular podcast channels or video platforms. The service is still in its very early days, which means there are no apps nor is there a clear API that presents the info I seek in a data-complete manner. That said, I have poked around the API in order to reverse-engineer how one would interact with the platform to assemble a "pseudo-feed" of podcasts and video files. Armed with this knowledge, it's possible to build an application that could read a personal list of followers, get the most recent media URLs, and cache them locally for playback later.

Interestingly enough, I'm not the only person who wants something like this. A number of people have outlined a wishlist for a simple application and it's all within the realm of feasibility. This is something I would really like to get in the AppStore before someone else takes it upon themselves to do the same.

Renew the Government ID

It's that time again. Every half-decade I need to make the trek to the immigration offices in Nagoya to show that I still live here, my passport is still valid, and I'm paying my taxes. So long as all the appropriate boxes are checked, I'll get a new piece of plastic that acts as a secondary piece of ID alongside a driver's license. The process will take the better part of half a day and require two trips to the immigration office because why let someone accomplish a goal with just one visit?

Being an immigrant has its perks, but the amount of extra paperwork that's required can be a bit much at times.

Drop OT Hours at the Day Job

This year, if everything goes according to schedule, I'll have clocked just over 750 hours of overtime at the day job. Mind you, these are just the hours that I've claimed, which is generally a low-ball of what was actually done. 750 hours is almost 19 weeks of 40-hours, which means one could make the case that I'm probably still a workaholic. While this has made it possible to do crazy things like take the family to both Disney and Universal Studios in the space of two weeks, it has also taken a toll on my patience. The goal for the first four months of 2020 is to not exceed 10 hours of OT per week.

Maintain the Post-per-Day Run

Back in September of 2018 I gave myself a goal to write and publish a blog post every day for 50 days. Fifty became one hundred, which eventually became 365. I'm now on day 446, which is far longer than I had ever expected to go with this. That said, if I can go straight through to my birthday next year, it'll be 569 consecutive days of writing and posting. There is no significance to that number, but it'll be nice to pass it on the way to 750, 1000, or 10,000 unbroken days of publishing.

There are other goals of course, but these are the five key items that make sense to share. The others are probably less interesting than these.

2020 is shaping up to be a busy year, and not because of the day job.

  1. I'm not the only one who hears the "phantom buzzing" of a dying fluorescent tube for a couple of hours after leaving a room where one was struggling to remain lit, am I?