2021

This year I've decided to put together a personal review of my 2021. It's not something I usually do, but I've found that if I don't talk about these things in the open I'll end up losing them or letting them rot on the vine.

The things I managed to do

The things I neglected

  • Every single side project languished. I just couldn't bring myself to sit down and devote the time they needed for maintenance, let alone anything else. Things like Made in A2, Play Your Pride, UMSI.club. They all have some kind of community attached, and I feel guilty over ignoring them.

  • So many experiments I planned to finish never got finished (or even really started). Like a workflow to publicly publish my Obsidian notes, a WordPress block for displaying a Ken Burns-style animated image effect, a public site for my family's recipes, an 11ty site for displaying color palettes, a website for a collection of Michigan-centric recipes.

The things I did not do

  • Rebuild my battlestation. My computer is on its last legs, and I'm holding out hope it carries me through the chip shortage.

  • Put together a successful workflow for detecting and constructing near-perfect looping gifs from various meetings I participate in. This is mostly a solved problem; it's just a video file, some python, and time. I have yet to produce anything notable, but I think that's mostly because of the video content.

  • Bring back A2Events, re-write it for 11ty, and open source it. A2Events was originally an event website, in Python, for Ann Arbor that automatically ingested events from various platforms. I shuttered it after Facebook locked down their APIs post a previous wrist-slapping by the US government.

  • Produce an 11ty-powered Jargon File, for no reason other than I want to.

  • I still have in my notes a "Made in Michigan" website, which is an old idea.

  • Find a setup that would let my office generate real-time point clouds for video. No one asked for this, or even hinted at it, but in some of our legacy content previous iterations of my office had faked various kinds of computer vision type effects, and sometimes I feel the need to make producing that kind of thing slightly more legitimate.

  • Put together an unasked-for and unwanted soundboard site for my office. Probably as a PWA.

  • Do something interesting with NFC cards/stickers. Back when Eddystone was a thing I wanted to try some experiments with linking physical areas with digital interactions and even though that particular technology has been discontinued I still think the idea is an interesting one.

  • Construct some kind of automated website monitoring network, for work, and produce reports for things like performance, accessibility, correctness, and content changes.

  • Create some kind of (11ty-based) news clips project that scans news APIs for mentions of whatever institution you care about and collates the articles.

  • Put together a homelab.

  • Put together some kind of Slack-based jukebox, where people collaboratively listen to music. Pre-pandemic I was experimenting with something like Mopidy and Spotify, but I have yet to find the right combination of features, quality, and fidelity.

  • Find some kind of mechanism to run a research paper's abstract through an AI and summarize them for a non-academic audience.

  • Analyze/visualize content produced at work, including: sentiment analysis, various composition analytics (keywords, reading level, subject), and mapping against website traffic. In part because of curiosity and in part to talk about how I did it.

  • Visualize social network traffic in the area. Maybe on a map, maybe with some kind of image mosaic, maybe try something with sentiment. Bonus if I could put something together in 11ty and open source it.

  • Attempt to get a behind-the-scenes blog going at work. This was, frankly, a naive idea of mine to find the space for my office to talk about the work, technical or otherwise, that we do and where we have found success (or not).

  • Open source work code. We're actually doing less and less I feel comfortable open-sourcing, but at one time I had hopes we could do a large part of our work in the open.

  • Develop some collection (plugins probably) of interactions (embeds, etc.) with 3rd-parties targeting research institutions. Things like various scientometrics, ORCID interactions, Arxiv/preprint archive interactions, etc. Maybe Planck?

  • Find some method for consistently linking to or explaining complicated science concepts.

  • Measuring and visualizing time spent at work on various tasks and perhaps delivering an overview of what various segments of work costs in terms of both money and time.

  • Run some Raspberry Pi based shenanigans in my work office. Maybe IOT things, maybe as a generic server, maybe just a RetroPie.

  • Run a network of Slack bots at work.

  • Try something with R and Legos to generate custom Lego diagrams of various images (and maybe build them).

  • Try something with slit-scan photography.

  • Clone various things in WordPress or 11ty. Any kind of shuttered social network, things like Product Hunt or Hacker News, things like Axios or Quartz or FiveThirtyEight. Just because I could.

  • Put together some kind of POI-based 11ty project that lets you aggregate a map from various data sources.

  • Put together some kind of 11ty setup to generate an ebook (and website).

  • Buy a house.

  • There was a period where I was producing odd posters, flyers, and stickers and putting them up in various public spaces. I haven't done it in a while, but I wanted to start doing it again.

  • Produce some custom enamel pins, just to try it.

  • Do some things with Twitter bots. Maybe for work, maybe in combination with Flickr.

  • Put together some kind of useful community toolkit in 11ty. Potentially some kind of news and events aggregator that is flexible enough that it could serve a small town or a small interest group.

  • Make a Pinboard.in backup in 11ty.

  • Explore if you could easily build a useful family website in 11ty.

  • Take the very few unique needs I've observed from work, try to ideate over them, and release something open source and more generalized.