Year Review 2023
It’s that time of year again! Kind of incredible in a way, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since I wrote last year’s review. And what a crazy year it’s been, despite a lot of chaos and changes I feel incredibly accomplished with what I managed to achieve and create over the past 12 months.
The past couple of years have been marked by bad health for me, and thankfully I’ve felt pretty good and have been on the mend in 2023. Surprisingly, this was actually one of the only goals for this year that I got to! I was so intensely focused on design and programming this year that I never got around to working on art, unfortunately there wasn’t a Rebble Hackathon this year so I never got around to making more watchfaces for my pebble.
I did however manage to make a very strong portfolio of work for college, and got an offer to study Interaction Design (originally I intended to study Product Design) I started studying in September, and despite the high amount of work and stress, I’ve been having a blast. Unfortunately this took a hit to my free time, which put a halt on personal projects, but hopefully this should get better next year.
With that, lets take a look over everything I did in 2023, as well as some of my favourite things from the year!
Compared to the past few years, the changes to my setup have been pretty minimal this year. I think I’m finally settling into the hardware and software that suits me best which makes me pretty happy to see.
The biggest changes to my setup this year were on the audio end. During the summer, I was contacted by someone who was throwing some stuff out and wondered if I wanted a pair of speakers. I said yes before I even saw them, but damn are they gorgeous. They needed a bit of repair to the speaker cone, and are a little grubby, but all in all sound so good.
I decided to treat myself a little a spent 100 euro on a second-hand Yamaha amplifier on ebay to power them, and it’s easily the best purchase of the year. It sounds great, paired with it’s gorgeous design it’s so fun to have in my workstation. I have it hooked up to my laptop, iPod as well as some loose aux cables that lets me hook my phone or other things into it.
After having the parts for a year and a half, I finally modded my iPod replacing the dying battery and adding flash storage. While I was at it I also added a haptic feedback module from an iPhone to replace the click piezo speaker, though this mod was a little unsuccessful as I didn’t use a good glue for the job. This has made my iPod actually useful, though I’ve yet to switch to fully using it day to day.
A fun purchase this year was a Sony DSC-S85 digital camera from 2001! I’ve been interested in Sony’s floppy-based Mavica camera line for a while, and I was in the market for a cheap yet fun camera for travelling. The Mavicas were a candidate, however I was apprehensive about the maintenance required by a disc drive in the long run. That’s when I stumbled across the parallel line of cameras Sony produced which used Memory Stick media instead, and knew immediately that I should get one.
I ended up purchasing mine on ebay for about 30 euro off an older man, it came with it’s complete box and even a travel bag! And let me tell you, the camera is such a blast to use. The photos are surprisingly high quality, and you have a large amount of control over focus. It can even shot GIFs and video!
It’s been a bit of a bad year for content for me. I didn’t engage much with manga or games like I have in other years, it’s been a bit of a bad habit of mine to focus on personal projects instead of just relaxing. It has however been a good music year for me, I’ve discovered some incredible music and also expanded my tastes a lot more. I also watched a lot more movies this year, as well as rewatched some of favourite older series like Adventure Time.
∘ Favourite Artist & Album - Hozier, Unreal Unearth - It’s been an incredible year for Hozier. His third album, Unreal Unearth, launched this August to immediate success. The album is largely inspired by Dante’s Inferno, with songs directly referencing parts of the iconic poem. Arguably it’s Hozier at his best, with a clear and focused emotional narrative that follows through the album from start to finish. Executed to perfection with a high level of polish, it’s a massive achievement for him. I recently saw one of his last shows on this year’s leg of the tour, and it was just as incredible live. If you can, listen to the entire album in one sitting!
∘ Red Cat Ramen - I’ve read basically no manga this year, I think I burned out that motivation last year, but the one exception has been Red Cat Ramen. A new serial that started this year on Jump’s online platform, the manga follows a Ramen shop ran entirely by cats and the human they just employed to help out with tasks they cannot do. It’s a novel and enjoyable slice of life series that takes it slow and keeps things wholesome. Already slated for an anime adaptation for 2024, I highly recommend checking it out if you like manga!
A lot of time on personal projects this year was spent honing skills I picked up in 2022. I did however dip my toes into some new things like writing GTK apps for Linux, and creating an icon system from scratch. I also began to do logo commissions, which was a great learning experience and helped my skills to grow a lot this year. You can check out the full project list from this year in the design section of my site.
My massive summer project and something I did not expect to do this year, I spent two months rebuilding and redesigning my site from the ground up. This was definitely a necessary project, and it’s left me with a far better website than I had before. A massive part of this redesign was making it fully functional on older browsers, something which I’ll cover in a new blogpost in the new year. If you’re interested in the changes made though, have a look at my previous post: Re-designing my site, one more time
Easily my biggest piece of work to date, adwaitapod’s rebuild this year was a monumentous undertaking. I set out to update my original iPod theme to be far more performant, better designed and crammed full with even more features than before. The resulting theme has been a massive success, recently crossing 18 and a half thousand downloads and amassing a fantastic userbase. I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved with adwaitapod this year, and hope to take that energy forward to more iPod projects next year.
Beryl Logo Design
In May I reached out to Sam on fedi after seeing his post looking for someone to help design a logo for his new markdown-based to-do list software called Beryl. After some chatting, we had a clear vision for what the logo should look like and following ideation and experimentation we settled on a design we both liked a lot. It’s going to be an exciting year for the Beryl project, and I can’t help but be proud to see the logo! I highly recommend checking out the project’s site!
Looking towards 2024
This coming year I’d like to focus on honing the skills I have a lot more. Themify’s next update is deep in development already, and is shaping up to be a project which will define the year for me. I’m working with some friends on some exciting new ventures outside of my online life, which I think will help push me as a designer and help me realise my path a bit better. I also hope to travel a lot more next year, and have some exciting trips planned already!
Another thing I’d like to do is to use this site more, I started more than a few blog posts the past few months but have a habit of making them incredibly long. Expect a lot more short blog posts going forward!
All in all, it’s been a rollercoaster of a year. I’ve achieved a heck of a lot and looking forward to doing even more next year. Here’s to next year!