New Year’s resolutions are for people of a more optimistic disposition than I. This time of year, what I typically feel is not enthusiasm about what I might achieve in the coming months but rather disappointment at how far behind I am on various projects, how many things on my to do list for the previous year are still undone, and how much work and stress await me in the new year. In 2009, I had a rather spectacularly long and ambitious to do list, and sure enough—despite my best efforts—lots and lots of those things are about to be pushed right onto next year’s list.
But this year, I decided to undertake a little exercise to help me feel a bit less guilty and dispirited about all those undone tasks. I sat down and wrote a list of what I did manage to accomplish in 2009. And you know what? I think I actually did OK. Despite life’s usual range of complications—administrative problems, illnesses, travel snafus, unexpected bills, and a million other things—when I look at this list, I kinda go, “Dang! That is not a bad showing for a year’s work.”
I thought I’d share my list here—not to brag (hey, if I’d pulled off everything on my to do list, that would be something to brag about!) but to offer a bit of perspective. If you’re the sort of person who, like me, gets depressed at the realization that you haven’t done “enough” (whatever that means), try making your own list of accomplishments. I’ll bet you’ll discover you’ve done much more than you thought, and I hope that helps you feel better about yourself!
So here’s what I did in 2009 (or at least what stands out in my memory), in no particular order:
Put a bun in the oven (so to speak). Baking until June!
Wrote the 900-page Mac Security Bible, published by Wiley.
Wrote two brand-new Take Control ebooks:
- Take Control of Upgrading to Snow Leopard, version 1.0 (81 pages)
- Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal, version 1.0 (108 pages)
Also worked on Take Control of [REDACTED], which will be published in 2010.
Wrote new editions of four Take Control ebooks:
- Take Control of VMware Fusion 3, version 1.0 (effectively the second edition of Take Control of VMware Fusion 2; 142 pages)
- Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, fourth edition (196 pages)
- Take Control of Passwords in Mac OS X, second edition (120 pages)
- Take Control of Maintaining Your Mac, second edition (95 pages)
Also finished work on two new editions that will ship in 2010: Take Control of Easy Mac Backups, version 1.0 (effectively the second edition of Take Control of Easy Backups in Leopard; 108 pages) and Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac, third edition (approx. 177 pages).
Wrote minor updates to three Take Control ebooks:
Did 15 podcast interviews:
- MacVoices: Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner
- MacJury: Ebooks and Ebook Readers with Michael Cohen, Glenn Fleishman, Kirk McElhearn, Matt Neuburg, and host Chuck Joiner
- MacJury: Holiday Gift Ideas with Jeff Gamet, Nancy Gravley, Jean MacDonald, and host Chuck Joiner
- MacVoices: Take Control of VMware Fusion 3
- MacVoices: The first 1,000 issues of TidBITS, with fellow staffers Mark Anbinder, Jeff Carlson, Geoff Duncan, Glenn Fleishman, Rich Mogull, and Matt Neuburg
- MacVoices: Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, 4th Edition
- MacJury: What’s new in Snow Leopard with Peter Cohen, Nancy Gravley, Matt Neuburg, Ian Schray, and host Chuck Joiner
- Tech Night Owl Live: Upgrading to Snow Leopard
- MacVoices: Take Control of Upgrading to Snow Leopard
- MacVoices: Take Control of Passwords in Mac OS X
- MacJury: Google’s no-longer-in-beta services, the future of Web apps, and other recent tech developments with Jeff Gamet, Dori Smith, and host Chuck Joiner
- Tech Night Owl Live: IMAP, Gmail, and Mail
- MacVoices: Take Control of The Mac Command Line with Terminal
- Tech Night Owl Live: Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal
- MacVoices: Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac, Third Edition
Wrote 26 articles for Macworld:
- Working with multiple browsers
- Five jobs other browsers do better
- Eight reasons to choose Safari or Firefox
- Five reasons to partition a disk
- Review of BusyMac BusyCal 1.0
- When to use Twitter instead of e-mail
- Four reasons to switch to IMAP
- Find and merge address book duplicates
- Prune your contacts
- Three ways to improve Gmail
- The seven most underused Mail features
- Web workflows: Don’t waste time
- Six reasons desktop e-mail still rules
- Five Favorite Entourage Tips
- A three-part series on passwords: Intro at Top password tips; part 1: Create stronger passwords; part 2: Manage your passwords; and part 3: Remember your passwords
- Two tips in Launching apps: Beyond the Dock
- One tip in Your Mac, your way: the workspace
- Keep working when you’re not online
- Streamline e-mail with Gmail
- Categorize e-mail for better searching
- Find e-mail easily with flags
- Search the Web without a browser
- Go beyond Google searches
- Improve your Google searches
- Alternatives to MobileMe
Received a 2009 Neal Award for Best How-To Article
Wrote 12 articles for TidBITS:
- Solving the Photoshop Elements Color Shift Problem
- Clicking the Right Button
- Apple Opens First Retail Store in France
- Parallels Desktop 5
- Backblaze for Business Offers Flat-Rate Online Backups
- Examining Snow Leopard Installer Changes
- Apple Releases MobileMe iDisk app for iPhone and iPod touch
- Achieving Email Bliss with IMAP, Gmail, and Apple Mail
- Backblaze Publicly Launches Online Backup Service for Macs
- AirPort Utility 5.4.1 Update May Be Problematic
- Apple Adds iDisk Sharing Feature to MobileMe
- Log In to Me
I also edited all the weekly TidBITS issues, participated in tons of staff discussions, and discharged sundry other editorial duties.
Gave quite a few presentations in person at Macworld Expo in January, and several more by video to Mac user groups.
Served as technical reviewer for several new books by Apress and Peachpit.
Paid off more than half of our family debts.
Completed a Level 3 (of 5) French course (two evenings a week for about four months). Passed the exam too!
Ate raw oysters for the first time in my life.
Lost more than 50 pounds. (No, it wasn’t due to the oysters.)
Replaced almost my entire wardrobe (as a consequence of the last item).
Walked hundreds of miles and did countless pushups.
Thoroughly dejunked, uncluttered, and cleaned our apartment.
Traveled to San Francisco, California; Saint-Malo (Brittany), Provins, Orry La Ville, Chantilly, Chartres, and St. Germain-en-Laye, France; London and Birmingham, England; Porthmadog, Wales (and environs); and Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, and Maidstone, Saskatchewan.
Saw Spinal Tap, Lucinda Williams, and Cesária Évora in concert; Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart on stage (in Waiting for Godot); a performance of As You Like It at the Globe Theatre in London; and stage productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelve Angry Men (both in French).
Revamped JoeKissell.com, which now incorporates my blog previously at alt.cc/jk and will soon feature a series of essays called Disquisitions.
Prepared a rather elaborate Christmas Eve feast for 9 people, all of whom somehow managed to fit in our tiny apartment.
Dined at La Tour d’Argent.
Began volunteering for SOS Help.
And, in case you were starting to think life was all work and no play for me in 2009, I also
wasted spent plenty of time interacting with my favorite media…
Read 13 books (plus probably several more I’m forgetting, and not counting others I’ve started):
- Cold Dark Matter by Alex Brett
- The Confusion and The System of the World by Neal Stephenson
- Free by Chris Anderson
- French Cooking in Ten Minutes by Edouard de Pomiane
- Hungry for Paris by Alexander Lobrano
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- Next by Michael Crichton
- New Europe by Michael Palin
- Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson
- Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar by James Marcus Bach
- The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
- A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke
Watched a lot of TV:
- 24, Season 7
- 30 Rock, Season 3 and the first half of Season 4
- Battlestar Galactica, Season 4.5
- Burn Notice, Season 3
- Community, first half of Season 1
- A couple hundred (give or take) episodes each of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report
- Dollhouse, Season 1 and most of Season 2
- FlashForward, first half of Season 1
- Fringe, Season 1 and the first half of Season 2
- House, M.D. Season 5 and the first half of Season 6
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season 4 and the first bit of Season 5
- Lie to Me, Season 1 and the first half of Season 2
- Lost, Season 5
- The Office, Season 5 and the first half of Season 6
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, entire series (again)
- V, first half of Season 1
- Innumerable random viewings of the news – usually NBC Nightly News, France 24, or BBC World News
Watched a lot of movies too (mostly in theaters, but a few on video):
- 17 Again
- Angels & Demons
- Away We Go
- The Boat that Rocked (a.k.a. Pirate Radio)
- Body of Lies
- A Christmas Carol
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- The Devil Wears Prada
- District 9
- Gran Torino
- The Hangover
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- The Hurt Locker
- I Love You, Man
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
- The Informant
- Inglorious Basterds
- Julie & Julia
- Land of the Lost
- Michael Jackson: This Is It
- Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
- The Pink Panther 2
- The Proposal
- Public Enemies
- The Reader
- Revolutionary Road
- The Road
- Slumdog Millionaire
- The Soloist
- Star Trek
- State of Play
- Sunshine Cleaning
- The Taking of Pelham 123
- Terminator Salvation
- Whatever Works
- The Wrestler
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- Yes Man
Purchased my first flat screen TV and Blu-ray player, and rearranged the living room to accommodate them.
And, of course, there were many intangible accomplishments. I made new friends, and got to know existing friends better. I saw and did lots of interesting new things here in Paris. I took long walks with my wife. I spent time with my son. I played with my cat. I smelled flowers and watched sunsets. I ate large quantities of chocolate. I also end the year with an empty inbox.
This hasn’t been my favorite year, not by a long shot. I’ve experienced enormous amounts of stress and anxiety, and on the whole, I’m happy for 2009 to be behind me. But all things considered, I’d have to say I’ve filled the past 365 days rather adequately.