blog / happy-new-year-2019

Happy New Year 2019

January 1, 2019


I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to use the new year to look back on the last year and talk about this year’s goals.

2018

In my 2018 new year’s post, I gave myself the goal of creating Android and libGDX tutorials, and launching a “real” Android game in 2018.

How’d I do? Well…

2018 stats chart

I ended up writing 6 Android tutorials and 9 libGDX tutorials, as well as 6 other tutorials with other categories, totaling about 130 pages of content. I started coding the game, but I didn’t get very far.

So it’s a glass half full, glass half empty situation. I did make some progress on my goals, but not as much as I would have liked.

My Jerb

As part of my day job, I’m involved in a program called CodeU. This takes up most of my free time, which is why I haven’t made as much progress on Happy Coding stuff as I’d like.

You can read more about CodeU here, but the tl;dr is that I help develop a curriculum and technical project, and I’m a project advisor and generally around to answer questions about all of the above. I really love it, but it requires a ton of time to get right.

One problem I’ve encountered is the realization that this type of work doesn’t really “count” towards my “real” job, so I find myself working pretty long hours to keep up with my day job, and then coming home and working on CodeU. I could rant about this for much longer, but this Medium post sums it up more articulately than I probably can.

I don’t want to complain too much, and again- I love the work I do for CodeU. But this realization was a major part of 2018.

CCFest

Another big milestone of 2018 was getting more involved in the Processing community. I met Saber Khan, and I presented sessions at the LA and San Francisco CCFest events.

CCFest Schedule

^ This was a pretty cool moment for me.

My sessions were about the power and beauty of random, and it was a very interesting and humbling experience. CCFest is a mix of teachers trading lessons to use in their classrooms, students looking to learn more about creative coding, and artists talking about how they use code to make art. I am none of the above, so my impostor syndrome was along for the ride.

I like to think that I’ve done quite a bit of “virtual mentorship” - in other words, I’ve been answering questions on various forums and Stack Overflow for the last decade or so, and I’ve spent a lot of time writing tutorials and code examples. I hoped this would translate into in-person teaching skills, but CCFest reminded me just how hard teaching is. Watching Kelly Lougheed deliver her session was especially impressive.

CCFest classroom

^ I taught in a real classroom!

I went to a teaching college (my original plan was to be an English teacher) and many of my friends are teachers, so I had some idea of the amount of effort involved. But talking to the teachers at CCFest made me realize just how much thought they put into their craft, and I hope to continue learning from them.

I also met Casey Reas and had a fanboy “omg I love your work” moment with him. “Oh yeah you’ve been involved in the community for a while now.” Swoon.

Colors

I also spent more time than I probably should have playing with a couple color-related projects.

Comic Book Colors explores the use of colors in comic books. Here’s Saga:

Saga lines visualization

Movie Colors does the same thing with movies. Here’s Finding Nemo:

Finding Nemo visualization

These projects were a lot of fun, but they took up a good chunk of time.

2019

I think it’s important to set both short and long term goals, and to state them out loud (even if just to yourself). So in 2019 I’m planning to do a few things:

  • First, I need to finish up the curriculum and project for this year’s CodeU sessions. I spent most of my winter “break” in a marathon writing session (128 pages so far, roughly equal to the amount of content I produced the rest of the year), and I should be finished with this part of it pretty soon. After that I’ll have to write a lot of the surrounding support materials, which should take most of January. Then the first CodeU session starts in February.

  • At some point I’d like to post some of the CodeU content on Happy Coding. This will probably take the form of Google Cloud tutorials and lesson plans.

  • Speaking of lesson plans, I’d also like to expand the woefully neglected teaching section of this site. I want to go back and tie the tutorials together with a common thread, and organize things in a way that’s more teacher-friendly.

  • As for teaching, I’m hoping to get more practice teaching in person. I’d love to do CCFest again, and I’ve been daydreaming about teaching a class at my day job. This would have to happen later in the year, after CodeU ends in the summer.

  • Another thing I’ve been daydreaming about is playing with print. Something like making posters out of a Processing sketch or the color projects mentioned above. I don’t plan on making any money off of it, but it’s something I know nothing about so it sounds super interesting. Back in DC there was an event called Artomatic where anybody could set up their art in a shared space, and I’d love to find something similar out here.

  • Of course, I want to get back to my 2018 Android goals. I want to finish up the tutorials and release that game I keep talking about.

  • I want to put together a small personal webpage and upload some pictures I’ve taken. This has been on my mental to-do list for a long time, so hopefully I can finally cross it off this year.

  • I’d also like to get into a better habit of writing blogs more often. I say this pretty much every time I write a blog entry. I’m giving myself a goal of writing a blog entry once per month.

Some of these goals are weekend projects, others will take much more time. Either way I’m looking forward to making some progress.

How did you do with your 2018 goals? What are your 2019 goals?

See you in a month!