2016 Reflection and Check-in

Every year I write one of these thinking that I’ll look at it throughout the next year as a guide to what I might want to be doing. Every year I write one of these and finally look back at the last one for the first time!

Oh well, it’s still fun for me to revisit see what was on my mind.

Reading was pretty great.

I originally set my Goodreads challenge at 15 books, then bumped it to 20 at some point. As of now, I’ve read 25 books this year with a chance of 26 by the end of the night. My hope for a split of 2/3 fiction was pretty close as I made it through 7 non-fiction books.

I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and loved it. It was so easy to read compared to Ulysses and there were many parts of the book that I dogeared due to great passages.

I finished the original Foundation Trilogy as I hoped. I liked how the trilogy just kept getting better throughout. So many crazy things to think about while reading about the Mule while Trump was winning an election in real life.

I started on Finnegans Wake but ran away quickly on page one. I was definitely not ready for that yet.

And I’ll repeat this from last year—If you read, you should add me as a friend on Goodreads! If you haven’t used Goodreads yet, here’s a good explainer.

“Learning” didn’t go as I expected.

I never really even started on conversational German, but that’s okay. Vienna was very welcoming in English.

I never really focused on learning JavaScript deeply, but that’s okay too. I did pick up a couple of computer science books that I’ve started to dig into and another on intellectual property and open source. So I’m always learning, but we’ll see about next year.

I did figure out a better front-end development workflow that doesn’t require Vagrant or WordPress, even without using the REST API or JavaScript. We’ll see where that ends up next year.

I kinda did some writing.

There wasn’t really a specific goal here, but I did take the time to stop and talk about my work several times throughout the year, so that’s good. I did a bunch of writing to document things at WSU that hadn’t yet been documented, so that’s good too.

I did less speaking.

Unless I’m forgetting something, I really only spoke a couple times this year and took my own advice from last year by really just focusing on one talk.

At WordCamp Europe in Vienna, I talked about multisite in the Leupold Museum, which was super cool. There was a great turnout and—even with an unexpected moment where my laptop dropped off the podium—things went really well.

At WordCamp Seattle, I talked about multisite and sat on a panel talking about contributing to WordPress. The talk went well and the panel was an absolute blast.

At WordCamp Vancouver, I didn’t really speak, but hung out in Ian‘s session on contributing to the WordPress meta team and helped troubleshoot a few local environment issues with VVV.

And at WordCamp US, I also didn’t really speak, but led a session for first time contributors to WordPress core that was a lot of fun.

But I still got some travel in.

I always feel like I’m forgetting something, but here goes…

  • London, UK in January for the A Day of Rest conference. I got there a day early and stayed a day late so that I had some time to hang out. The conference was great, the contributor day may have been the most productive I’ve ever been a part of, and I spent the final Saturday walking 15 miles around London! I even drank in a couple of Orwell’s favorite pubs. 🍺
  • Portland, OR briefly in February as part of a visit to WSU’s Vancouver, WA campus. Still enough time to have a couple good beers and visit Powell’s.
  • Vienna, Austria in June for 3 weeks (!) to enjoy Vienna with Michelle and for WordCamp Europe. Vienna is a great city and we had a lot of fun.
  • Whitefish, MT – Glacier National Park for a couple days in July on a whim to meet my parents who were staying there for a week or so. That park is very beautiful.
  • Vancouver, BC in August for WordCamp Vancouver. Yet another amazing brew fest planned by Flynn. Great time hanging out with the Vancouver group, a great bunch of people.
  • Ocean Shores, WA in September for a combo birthday/anniversary hangout. We had fun and walked quite a few miles on the beach. Don’t tell anyone, but Oregon’s coast is cooler.
  • Portland, OR in September for another quick visit to WSU Vancouver along with a side trip down to Corvalis to talk with Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab.
  • Seattle, WA in October for WordCamp Seattle.
  • Philadelphia, PA in November for WordCamp US week. I arrived a couple days early, but it was super rainy, so I didn’t get too much sight seeing in. Had a great time with everyone at WordCamp though.

I burned out less this year.

It took me a few months into 2016 to realize how burnt out I was towards the end of 2015. I was then able to turn that into a conscious decision not to get burnt out this year—or to at least recognized when it was happening and to calm down a bit.

Thanks to that effort, the last few months of the year have been great and productive. I’m finishing with 1000 open ideas rather than wondering when it will feel normal. 🎉

I voted for Hillary.

And Trump won? Shit. 👎

WordPress!

We made multisite better! At least I think so.

As 2016 comes to a close, we have WP_Site, WP_Network, WP_Site_Query, and WP_Network_Query along with a handful of good decisions that we’ve made and documented in various ways. I’m pretty satisfied with the multisite stuff we got done, especially during the 4.6 release cycle. I’m really excited about the group of contributors that we have focused on multisite right now. I have a feeling that 2017 will be pretty sweet.

A fun memory that will be fun to look back on is the development of meta registration. A group of us spent the A Day of REST contributor day talking about the challenges of registering meta keys for inclusion with REST responses. The original GitHub issue is gone now (!), but it led to the creation of a ticket.

That ticket then became a hot topic during the 4.6 cycle once we decided it really was the time to get that included so that the REST API could have something to work with. I spent several mornings and nights hacking on our Airbnb couch in between walks around Vienna trying to get that in. Such a relief when we finally shipped it. 🙂

Washington State University

It’s been a great year for the web at WSU. We hired a second WordPress developer in March and have been able to make a lot of progress since. Some of it isn’t visible yet, but we’re ramped up to do some excellent things in 2017.

The numbers:

Numbers don’t really tell the full story, but they’re fun to look at.

Here’s an assortment of photographs that may represent 2016 for me.

I wonder why I haven’t done this before.

Okay, that’s enough.

Thanks for reading. Hope you had a great 2016 and see you next year!

Previous reflective posts: 20152014, 2013.

2015 Reflection and Check-in

2015 went by in a hurry, so much that I missed the usual day of reflection and am starting off 2016 with one instead. 🙂

Some notables.

I did better at reading.

The challenge of 25 books was too high, but 14 feels good. I’ll read more next year.

One of the reasons that I read more books over the last year is because I started focusing on it more. As of sometime in the last several months, our phones started spending the night elsewhere in the house. The lack of looping distractions before bed—Twitter, Slack, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Facebook—allows for much more focused reading time instead. Much more focused reading time makes for faster and more attuned reading.

All in all, a good decision.

That much more focused reading time finally allowed me to finish Ulysses after a 3 year struggle. And now that I’ve finished it once I’ll probably go back and try to read it again to understand. But not in 2016. 🙂

If you read, you should add me as a friend on Goodreads! If you haven’t used Goodreads yet, here’s a good explainer.

But not necessarily so great at writing.

I published 30 posts on jeremyfelt.com in 2015, compared to 26 in 2014. That’s not exactly what I had in mind last year when I wrote “An average of one thoughtful post a week wouldn’t be horrible.

But closer I guess. 🙂

We’re still in Pullman.

We moved in June from a rental house to apartment land. The transition has been nice in some ways, though the house was also pretty nice. We’re enjoying the area quite a bit and while we’re consistent in our back-and-forth about leaving or staying, we now tend to land on staying during most conversations. See also the part where moving is just a crappy experience.

We got rid of some stuff.

In the move from house to apartment, we were able to downsize a bunch of crap that had collected. I did finally get rid of that netbook from 2010 and those two laptops from 2008. How they managed to tag along this long is a disappointment.

I freelanced.

And actually met my goal of 100 hours even though I didn’t really get moving until June or July. I learned quite a bit about myself and some about working too much and getting burned out. I’m happy to have a steady and well paying job and I love contributing to open source software when I’m at home. I’m not entirely sure how freelance fits into that schedule yet, but I’m still working out the details. 2016 will probably be a bit more focused in how I apply freelance time.

I bottled a beer.

Almost a no-brew year. I couldn’t even remember if I had brewed this year until I looked at my photo library. It appears I brewed my last on December 28th, 2014, which means I finished it in late January. So, I’m still a homebrewer, technically. I’ll get started on some small batch stuff soon.

Travel!

I should have known when I set a goal of visiting a new country last year that there would be no new country. Oh well. We had a blast anyway.

  • Silverton, OR in February for Zach and Jennifer’s wedding. We took advantage of being in the area and drove out to the coast for a day and night at Cannon Beach before heading home.
  • Seattle, WA in March for WordCamp Seattle where I didn’t speak but ended up on a panel at the last minute.
  • Las Vegas (and Henderson) in May for LoopConf (where I spoke) and some Vegas-ing.
  • Portland, OR in May for, get this, an Ikea trip. We basically arrived, ate, and went to Ikea.
  • Penticton, BC in June for a couple sunny days in gorgeous Canada wine country.
  • Seattle, WA in July for a night to catch the NoFilterShow, which starred several YouTube personalities.
  • Vancouver, BC in August for WordCamp Vancouver. I had a chance to visit the UBC campus and hangout with Richard and team after stopping by the massive (!) blue whale exhibit. And then of course a few days of beer touring from the ever so knowledgable Flynn and friends. The Vancouver crowd is so great.
  • Glacier National Park for the first time in August! We only spent a couple days, and forest fires were blazing, but it was still such a gorgeous area. We’ll be back. There’s a great breakfast spot in Whitefish, MT and the Cheap Sleep Motel was shockingly pleasant. We then drove from Whitefish, MT to meet our friends in West Yellowstone for a couple days of hanging out in Yellowstone. It was Michelle’s first time and I hadn’t been there since 2004 or something. Such a fascinating place. And then! We drove from West Yellowstone to Bozeman for a nice last minute visit with my Aunt and Uncle for a couple days. We got in a couple great hikes and many great conversations. Lucky for us, we stumbled in with perfect timing to catch the local premiere of Meru including a nice Q+A afterward with Conrad Anker. You should see that movie.
  • In September, we drove off on another adventure. We stopped for a night near Devils Tower, hiked in the morning and then took off for Estes Park, CO. I’m not entirely sure why we stayed in Estes Park, but it was a fun reminder of one of the first trips Michelle and I took together (West!) from the Chicago area. We then kept going to Denver and to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. On the long way home we stopped in Glenwood Springs, CO for one night, spent an afternoon touching f’ing dinosaur bones in Dinosaur National Monument, and then relaxed for a couple days in Park City, UT, enjoying a really excellent hike in the process. On the (still going) continued long way home, we made a stop in Portland specifically for Vegan Beer Fest, at which we met Flynn! A lot of miles on that trip. 🙂
  • Made it back to Portland, OR a few weeks later for the reborn WordCamp Portland in October, where I spoke and had a great time being in Portland with everyone.
  • New York City for the first time right at the end of November for a WordPress core committer summit. I did not have time to sight see, but I did witness the existence of the Statue of Liberty at 3am from an Uber headed to my hotel from the airport. Sweet!
  • Philadelphia, PA for the first week of December for the WordPress community summit and first WordCamp US. That was an excellent, though draining week. Can’t wait for next year! 🙂

I found myself speaking.

I didn’t apply and/or didn’t get accepted much this year, but still ended up in a speaker role several times.

And of course, WordPress.

I’m still a fan, still a student, still plugging away, and still a committer. 🙂

We had what felt like a pretty consistent set of releases this year in 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4. No big surprises, everything on time for the most part.

And I now have a great memory of sitting down for lunch in the lodge next to Old Faithful with an Old Faithful beer and receiving a Twitter notification during a brief moment of cell service letting me know I had been given “permanent commit”. 🙂

I need to do a bigger mental regroup on what we accomplished in 2015 for the multisite component. We at least got WP_Network in, but there are several smaller wins as well. There’s a goal for 2016—better reflection!

Washington State University (#gocougs)

We’re still cruising! Right at the beginning of December, we hit 1000 hosted sites on our platform with just about 2000 users and 2 million page views per month.

These numbers are important because we still haven’t enabled open registration. Instead, a large number of institutional sites are in WordPress that could probably often be considered stagnant. This includes many that we thought would take years to be in.

Bonus highlight – we launched a brand new wsu.edu in March! Having that in WordPress has been amazing. Having it default to HTTPS on HTTP/2.0 makes me personally happy. 🙂

And that’s that.

There’s always more. See you in December!

Previous reflective posts: 2014, 2013.

A productive year, 2014

2014 was a good, productive year. Many, many things happened and many, many things shipped. I’ll take it.

Washington State University

As 2014 started, things were in full swing at WSU. We launched our first sites on the WSUWP Platform in the middle of February and have continued marching ever since. We’re now at 39 networks with 429 sites and 704 users. In the process, we’re sharing 117 repositories of our work on GitHub. Crazy!

My primary focus remains the central publishing platform, WSUWP, and the server provisioning that maintains that and other server instances. I continue to look for ways to help guide anyone toward sharing their work.

I think my favorite thing to come out of it all has been the open lab sessions we started holding in May. Every Friday morning a group of around 10-15 arrives and talks about the web for a couple hours. I’m hoping to promote this more throughout the university in 2015 so that we need to find a larger space.

Noteables: College of Business, Medicine, Hydrogen Lab, College of Engineering and Architecture, SWWRC, WSU Projects, WSU Labs, WSU Hub.

Varying Vagrant Vagrants

It was also a great year for VVV. Just about a year ago, we transitioned to an organization on GitHub. A few months later, we started the process of choosing an open source license. On October 7th, it was so.

Due to the productive year in other areas, and the temperance from changing a codebase that was in a licensing decision, it was a very slow release year. We did do quite a bit though and both our 1.1 and 1.2.0 releases were great. I’m excited about the things to come in 2015.

WordPress

I love WordPress. And it’s been a wonderful WordPress year.

3.9, 4.0, and 4.1 were such great releases and so many things are coming together for even greater releases next year. I was humbled and happy to be a guest committer for the 4.1 release cycle. While I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to, I was happy that we kept marching. The working group that has started to form around multisite will lead toward great things soon I think.

I was really happy with my talk at WordCamp Seattle, and had a great time before during and after. Most fun was finding my coworkers off in their own groups during contributor day contributing away.

WordCamp Vancouver was excellent as always. The community we have in Cascadia is so much fun. I will now take an extra day every time I go up so that I can (a) get a beer tour with Flynn and (b) go sight seeing.

WordCamp San Francisco was amazing. I was very happy with how my lightning talk turned out and had some great conversations as a result with others in higher education. There aren’t really words to describe the experience at the community summit and contributor days. What an intense week.

And the Pullman WordPress Meetup! We’re now 24 strong and have had a successful 7 meetups. Every month I leave wondering why it took an entire year to finally start this up. We have such a great community of people.

Web Conference at Penn State

The Web Conference at Penn State was a good break from WordCamps and a much different crowd than I’m used to. I wish I had a video to share, but no go. PSU was a great host and I met several people on the web team(s) there and came away very inspired by what others at big schools were already doing with WordPress.

Location

No moving! We stayed in Pullman and we stayed in the same rental, a 12 minute walk to work. After all the moving we’ve done over the last several years, it was nice to pause for a minute.

We did travel a bit. I’m happy to have lived in this area as the scenery is pretty amazing. We made it up to Nelson, BC a couple times. To Missoula, MT twice. A route almost entirely around Idaho on the way down and back from the Grand Tetons. A few weeks back home in IL. A crazy trip to State College, PA via midnight rental from Pittsburgh. A nice walk around Bowen Island after a ferry from Vancouver.

Beer

Strong Belgian Ale, Burtonian English Pale Ale, Blackberry Stout, and a Scottish ale a couple days into its primary ferment. While I’d like to ramp up on variety, that will likely only happen if I switch to smaller carboys. 5 gallons goes a long way!

Now it’s time to continue watching Twin Peaks and pop some bubbly at midnight. Reflecting can wait another year. You all are wonderful, thanks for being here and a happy 2015!

A Very Good Year, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZmCQyKGktc

I still have a draft post titled ‘2011, a year for the epic books‘ hanging out, waiting to never be published. That was an amazing year.

I don’t have a draft saved for 2012. I’m very good at thinking about all the things I would put in a round up post, but then putting it all off until weeks after and then ditching it entirely.

This year has been a very good year. It likely goes alongside 2011 as a year for the epic books, so it should get a write up. I’ll forget less then.

Work: 10up and Washington State University

I started off the year as a happy director of web engineering for 10up with a fantastic team. In April we put together our first developer summit and had a great time over a few days in Portland expanding on workflows and knowledge. I’m so grateful for the time I had, the people I met, and the friends I made while working with #team10up. The entire experience of my 1.5 years with 10up took so much to the next level.

In July, I started a new position with Washington State University. As senior WordPress engineer there, I’m leading the charge to build out a central publishing platform built around WordPress at WSU. Our efforts have been very well accepted so far and I’m looking forward to an extremely exciting and productive 2014.

Vagrant, WordCamps, and WordPress

At the end of 2012, I unleashed the fun that is Varying Vagrant Vagrants in the hopes of breaking up with MAMP. It was a success and not only provided for a MAMP free 2013 for me, but lead to talks at meetups in Seattle and Portland, an unconference session at WordCamp Portland, and talks at WordCamps Chicago and Vancouver. Throughout the year we’ve spread the word of VVV. We pushed version 1.0 just a few weeks ago and Vagrant has grown in general as part of the WordPress development workflow.

WordCamp Seattle was the only WordCamp at which I didn’t talk about Vagrant. I did have a great time sharing the floor with Tanner and Kailey for lightning rounds on WordPress coding done right.

In October, I attended the first WordCamp Europe in October. That experience was amazing. Not only did I get to spend a full week walking around and learning about the beautiful town of Leiden, I met so many people in the WordPress community that I hadn’t yet had the chance to meet and made several new friends. The week was full of great conversation and made a great impact on my view of the overall WordPress community and what we’re working toward.

Due to my new position at WSU, I was able to spend a ton of time consumed with WordPress core for August and September. I’m now more familiar with the multisite portions of WordPress than ever and was recognized as a Recent Rockstar for the 3.7 release, my favorite thus far. I’m looking forward to a very productive 2014 in the world of WordPress.

Location

The year was almost a 50/50 split. We made the 352.3 mile move from Portland, OR to Pullman, WA half way through July. While I miss quite a bit about Portland–mostly people, Pullman has been welcoming and all around great so far. We’ve settled in well and are enjoying it enough to start thinking of Pullman as a home for many years to come.

Beer

This year was a pretty big year for beer. Not only did I expand my knowledge (probably a bit far) on the various styles of beer in the world, I became a home brewer a few months ago. I’ve brewed a pretty weak IPA, a nice stout, and a yet to be determined porter. In 2014, I’m looking forward to making some really nice IPAs and exploring the world of Belgian Ale’s thanks to a new book Michelle got me for Christmas.

Homebrewing aside, the highlight of the beer year was a trip to the De Molen brewery in Bodegraven with Konstantin while in the area for WordCamp Europe. We had many wonderful beers, among them the Hel & Verdoemenis, considered the best brew in the Netherlands. On the way out of the brewery, I was able to grab a couple of the best beers in the world, the Westvleteren 12. Even though I drank that in a hotel room after carving away at the wax with inefficient tools, it was great.

My goal for beer in 2014 is to be more focused in consumption and more crafty in creation. Any visitor to Pullman, WA will be guaranteed a good brew. 😉

Miscellaneous notes for 2014

For Christmas I got two amazing things. An Aeropress and a guitar.

As a mass consumer of coffee, the Aeropress has already changed my life. I’m looking forward to drinking smaller servings of more quality coffee throughout the year and cutting the habit of drinking coffee because it’s always there.

And the guitar! In 2011, that epic year, I sold 3 guitars, a mandolin, and a couple amps. My love of music had dwindled a bit, mostly because I hadn’t made time. Michelle came through this Christmas with an acoustic guitar that has lit the fire again. I’m looking forward to a 2014 full of music. 🙂

And last, but not least. You all rock. Happy New Years!