CodeFX Occasionally #76 — 5th of January 2020
Happy new year everyone,
I hope you had a good time those last few days and are ready to rock 2020. I’m definitely full of energy to make this year a good one! Here’s how…
This is the second half of the turn-of-the-year newsletters, focusing on my plans for 2020. Last week’s warnings on self-centeredness fully apply.
I send this newsletter out some Fridays. Or other days. Sometimes not for weeks. But as an actual email. So, subscribe!
Motto for 2020
Every year I pick a motto for my professional endeavors, a headline for the year, so to speak. Last year’s was all the things where I gave myself permission to produce content whichever way I like as long as it comes out regularly (aimed for once a week) and discoverably (all easy to find from a single source).
When looking back at 2019 last week, I forgot to check whether I fulfilled my quota, so let’s do that now:
Like the rest of the look back on 2019, not as bad as I thought it would be, but not great either. I was pretty active in weeks 14 to 28 — probably not coincidentally the three months after I decided to aim for that rhythm. 😁 It dropped off after that, though.
Likewise, working towards making those publications more discoverable saw some first steps, but I didn’t get it done. In retrospect, I should at least have created a Twitter thread that I update with every publication. Hm, I like the idea… I think I’m gonna do that for 2020 even though I hopefully won’t need it for very long.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Where was I? Ah yes, the motto for 2020. That’s a tough one because my goals didn’t change. All I want to do is get my new site online and once again write, stream, code, shoot, etc. — but this time for real. I plan to do all the things, but this time follow through on it. Ha follow through! That’s gonna be my motto.
Follow through… I like it!
As to content, I’ll once again go for all the things, one thing per week — but this time I’ll do it! (No, really!!1) The channels are as before:
- blog posts
- videos on YouTube
- streams on Twitch
- news and the occasional thread on Twitter
- talks at conferences and meetups
- the few odd articles, podcasts, what-have-you here and there
Now let’s discuss how I want to make these publications more discoverable.
As mentioned, I’m working on my new site. Following a great presentation at a local meetup, I hired Karlsruher design geeks Dorfjungs (German for village lads) to create a new look and structure. There are a few key differences to my current site at blog.codefx.org — in order of increasing importance:
- designed to my liking, not limited by my (nearly non-existent) art skills
- coded by me, so I can fully customize it
- not just a blog, but a hub for all my online activities
- not a fake storefront (“CodeFX”), but personal (“nipafx” aka Nicolai)
Most of them should be pretty obvious, but the second to last deserves a little more explanation. Essentially, I want to make the new site a one stop shop where you can quickly see all the things I put online. At the same time, it should be easy to filter by channel and topic, so you can just as quickly hone in on what interests you the most.
We’re about half-done with the design and I’m already hard at work implementing it. Just like for accento.dev, I’m using Gatsby and it’s so cool! You’re getting nothing out of the box (that you later need to fight against) except a powerful tool set and an invitation to build whatever you like with it. That you’re only using web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS, React), the underlying structure of first filling and than querying a GraphQL store, the ease of creating and reusing React components, and the lightning fast updates from code to preview (< 0.1 sec) make for very pleasant development. And the resulting static web site is damn fast, too.
I’m present and decently active on a number of platforms and if you count in my slide decks and IDE look (during streams or live-coding talks), you end up with at least half a dozen places where I can/must create a visual design for my presence. So far, that has been half-hearted and not very creating. I’ve always simply picked something that I liked (often from the same pool of elements, at least) without paying much attention to making it recognizable.
That came back to bite me several times, most prominently when people come up to me after a talk and tell me they didn’t know this “Nicolai Parlog” guy from the conference program was the dude writing on CodeFX. Such fail! I need to put an end to that. So once the new site is online, I’ll start aligning all other channels with the new design (actually, you can already see it on Twitch). I have to admit, I can’t wait for all of them to be recognizably mine. ☺️
I’m constantly trying to improve my behavior, my habits, and my outlook on life. These efforts have seen widely varying degrees of success, but I’m very happy with where they worked and won’t let up where they didn’t.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, I’ve tried on and off a number of things that have worked well while I did them, but I didn’t stick with them. In line with my motto to follow through, I want to spend 2020 ingraining these in my everyday behavior to see the change that I’ve already glimpsed at.
If you’re interested, I’ll happily tell you more about all that in the future — it’s already getting late and one of these habits is not to stay up too long, particularly not in front of a screen. 😉
Last words: I know new year resolutions are somewhat tacky, but I like the calm of the last days of the year and the energy I feel in the first days of the new one and I don’t want to squander either. This is a good time for reflection and change and I feel repeating that cycle year after year made my life better. If you have any resolutions and feel you could need help following through on them, let me know, and we can write/talk about it or I can simply check in every now and then.
Either way, get better!