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My 2018

With the 12 year of this blog's existence, I present to future me: stuff that happened in 2018 that 2019 version of me has already forgotten. And yes, content warning: this will be me, me, me!


The two real highlights of this year have been speaking at my two favourite conferences.

  • In June 2018 I had the great honour of not only speaking at, but also closing out the event in front of 1,200 odd people. I've spoken at a good number jsconf events in the past, but I also remember speaking in 2009 to 150(ish?) people - so a very different experience. The talk could not have gone better and I'm very proud of the preparation I'd put in and the final execution, and below a picture (by Surma) of me looking chuff as f**k.

  • speaking at ffconf: due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to step in to speak at my own ffconf event. I've always made it a point of importance to not speak at my own event, but I couldn't find a suitable replacement in time: so I spoke at the 10th year edition making it doubly special for me.

    The talk was a rendition of what I gave at earlier that year, but with extra danger! I decided that instead of closing my talk with a demo on my computer in the browser, I'd close my talk by generating audio from my phone directly into an original 1984 ZX Spectrum. Amazingly it worked too!

  • ffconf 10: for the 10th year running, ffconf was another amazing experience. I wrote about it on my blog and am still amazingly proud of the event that Julie and I have put on every year since 2009.

  • Next.js training: following my course, I released a course on universal React using Next.js - it's been received really well, and I've had the chance to provide the course in person too.

Here's me, being super proud, and utterly cocky, with my "Using a Modern Web to Recreate 1980s Slow & Loud Loading Screens" talk:

Cocky Remy Spectrum for my talk

Side Projects

As always, I try to find time to tinker and "play" with the web technology, and usually end up producing mini projects (sometimes "side projects" - I'm not 100% sure what the difference is). Here's some of them:

  • jsbin v5 features: I've been actively working on JS Bin v5 now for almost 18 months (and by "actively" I mean tinkering at random intervals). You can preview it here and there's some very neat features tucked away inside the UI, like Quokka-like value previews.
  • binary tools: With my talk this year, I had to generate a lot of my own tools and had to get a deep understanding of binary data manipulation and reading. One was a bit calculator another was to help understand 2's compliment.
  • forbind: I've revived an idea that I started some 8 years ago: forbind - middleware for your webhooks, it's not public yet, but I've been internally testing it for some time now - the next problem is how to monetise it 🤷‍♀
  • doesitmutate: a fairly dumb project, but it served as a reminder as to which JavaScript array functions mutated the source data - as daft as it was, people apparently found it useful.

I'm also starting to find I'm doing a few more tiny projects that don't make it to the open web, but that's not for trying to hide them. I'm making small hack demos for my kids - most recently I wrote an extremely simplistic version of a tron-like game.


  • Being ill: My biggest incident this year was three bouts of tonsillitis rendering me hospitalised (which knocked the damn thing on the head in the end). Then, frustratingly, I pulled my back in the gym (which I've done quite a few times now), and had some other odd symptoms which, together with my osteopath, we think is all back related. Hoping to be fully mended by end of Q1 2019 🤞 (oh, as a sodding bonus, my front tooth was removed - or at least the fake one that was inserted some 22 years previous…still waiting to put a "real" one back).
  • Turning 40: a huge milestone in my head (and probably many others). I had an excellent series of birthday celebrations, and genuinely the first in years that I enjoyed my birthday (by no fault of others, and entirely my own failing).
  • Reading: I've managed to keep up my reading cadence, and managed to finish 37 books
  • Genealogy: utterly fascinating topic (that I hope to write about), and very similar to debugging (in some way), and I've managed to trace my lineage on my paternal mother's side all the way back to the 1300s which then connects to a royal line which makes it easy to trace to William The Conqueror!

How did I do, and next

I wrote a few items I wanted to work on during 2018, and I managed most of the items on the list. I'm still pretty weak on "get off the damn laptop", but I'll continue to work on it. I also need to revisit my work ethic towards monitoring a good diet and working up a sweat and for heavens sake - stop squatting and deadlifting (which only messes up my back up)!

And as always - the years are always about them ❤️

My kids ❤️