My best of 2016: A year in review

Out with 2016, in with 2017

It’s that time of year again. The end of the year. Which means it’s time to get reflective, like I’ve done in several years past (2012, 2013, 2015). This has been a pretty terrible year for so many reasons (celebrity deaths, the US election, Casey Neistat ending his daily vlog). But this post isn’t going to be about any of that.

This post is about my favorite things that happened this year. It’s a highlight of my favorite content, both created and consumed. It’s a look back at this past year to see how far I’ve come, and to set goals for myself in 2017. This post, of course, is for you to read and enjoy. But it’s also largely for me. Oh, and some of the links are affiliate links. Just a heads up.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s dive right in.

Most viewed blog posts by me

Top video by me

Installing a purchased WordPress Theme

This is year two of this popular video leading the view count leaderboard. This video now has 44,958 views, compared to 11,061 views at the end of last year. The follow up video, Here’s why you can’t upload a custom WordPress theme published at the end of 2015, is second with 16,970 views.

Total number of blog posts written

Five

Dammit, I wanted this number to be higher this year. Here’s to 2017…

Top fiction books read

Most of my fiction reading this year was the Game of Thrones series. A fun read, but not really best-of-2016 good, at least for me. But that’s why this Top fiction section looks pretty sparse this year.

  • Roadwork by Stephen King
    I read this little-known Stephen King novel this year, slowly working through my goal to read every Stephen King book (although he keeps publishing new books faster than I can read them). Roadwork is easily my number two King book (behind The Long Walk). This year had me thinking a lot about the loss of the middle class in America, and Roadwork fits right in with that theme.

Top non-fiction books read

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    I’m putting this on the list, even though I still have a little left to go. There will be a mass tidying in 2016.
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
    I read this in preparation for seeing the musical, and loved it way more than I thought I would. Such an amazing story, so interestingly told. Still need to see the musical, though.

Favorite recently-released movies (no particular order)

Admittedly, I didn’t watch a ton of movies this year. So I’m sure this list is seriously lacking. Of the movies that I did watch, these were my favorites:

  • Tickled
    This is one of those jaw-on-the-floor movies. A seemingly light subject matter (competitive tickling competitions) just gets darker and weirder.
  • Swiss Army Man
    Amazing performances by Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, amazing work by the Daniels, just an overall feel-weird movie of the year.
  • Weiner
    This is one of the stranger political stories to play out…and this documentary is a great inside look at a complete meltdown with a surprising amount of candor.
  • Whiplash
    This came out in 2014, but I didn’t see it until this year (after seeing their newer movie La La Land). What a great film.
  • Amy
    This was just a straight-up sad story about addiction. Also, it’s amazing how much footage they had of Amy Winehouse.
  • The Lobster
    It feels like a movie made by an Alien who has come to earth and is trying to process/understand this whole concept we call “love.” 

Favorite TV Shows

Survivor (why wasn’t I watching this before?), Atlanta, Adam Ruins Everything, BATTLEBOTS, Planet Earth II, 30 Rock (re-watching forever), Last Week Tonight, The Last Man on Earth

Technology of choice

  • Synology DS416j NAS
    What a great piece of tech. I back up all my files onto this handy machine, and then back up the entire machine to Amazon’s cloud. My chances at data loss have significantly decreased.
  • Plex
    I’ve got Plex running on my home server, with storage in the NAS, and the Plex client running on my Apple TV. I can’t imagine a better combo
  • HDHomeRun Prime
    I also have cable internet for the first time since graduating college. Instead of a cable box, I oped for the HDHomeRun Prime, which digitizes everything. With the Channels app on the Apple TV, I’ve got everything I could ever want all in one place.
  • Quip
    It’s like Dollar Shave Club, but for electric toothbrushes. They send you a new brush head every three months, which reminds you to replace your old brush. It’s also a damn good electric toothbrush. 5/5 stars.
  • iPad Pro
    I’m still in love with this thing. It’s my living room computer (completely replacing my Air, which used to live there) and is perfect for bringing to the gym. I’ve had a regular iPad, and an iPad mini, and the larger Pro is really where it’s at.
  • iPhone 7
    My daily driver. I don’t really listen to much music, so I don’t miss the headphone jack. And this phone is just so much better than the 6. I just wish I had gotten the Jet Black…
  • UE 18 Pro in-ear monitors
    These were a holiday gift, and quite possibly the nicest piece of tech I own. These are the first in-ear anything that are actually comfortable to me. And the audio quality can’t even be described.

Biggest accomplishments

Got engaged

I just barely squeezed this into 2016 (it happened on New Years Eve day). What an amazing way to top off a pretty fantastic year. Looking forward to many more years with Avital Asuleen.

Won an NYC affordable housing lottery (and moved in)

Many people might not know that New York City offers discounted housing for residents that fall into certain income brackets. Apparently there were nearly 90,000 people who applied to City Point Tower 1, fighting for just 200 apartment, 39 of which we qualified for. And we were somehow selected. Ain’t that lucky.

Miscellaneous wins

Last year’s goals for this year

* The theme of 2016 was “changed priorities,” and so I fell short on quite a few goals

  • Create and release an episodic fiction podcast – Decided to focus more on video than audio this year, so priorities changed
  • Complete Apple’s Swift tutorial – Priorities changed, so no
  • Publish at least 20 blog posts across both Novice No Longer and IAmDann.com – BIG fail
  • Release at least five new tech-related videos and/or tutorials – I made two, so fail
  • Exercise on a regular schedule – I got this going on December, that counts right?
  • Gain enough networking knowledge to start taking on network tickets at work – Priorities changed, so no
  • Gain enough systems knowledge to start taking on systems tickets at work – Priorities changed, so no

Plans for 2017

  • Complete the Product Requirements document for a new app I’m working on
  • Publish at least 10 blog posts across Novice No Longer and IAmDann.com
  • Release at least five new tech-related videos and/or tutorials
  • Finish at least one ambitious film project
  • Increase my Excel abilities to Intermediate (bonus points for getting to Advanced)

Alright 2017. Let’s do this.

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