Wow, this year has seemingly flown by! Somehow, it’s already December 31st, which means, it’s time for me to publish my year in review! I’ve decided once again this year to focus on major changes (or how things have stayed the same) in the last 12 months, instead of writing a sequential highlight reel.

Not a lot has changed in my personal life over the past 12 months, which is largely fine with me (I’m sure that will come as a shock to those who know me well… sarcasm). I am still attending the same LCMS church that I referenced in last year’s review, and continuing my study of theology, though at a slower rate than in 2022.

I’m also still working in the office 4-5 days a week, and therefore make much less use of my home workstation than I did in 2020-2022. And, as I alluded to last year, my workload has continued to shift from largely siloed work as a programmer, to more day to day interaction with engineers across our R&D department. This even led to me presenting to our dealer network on an impending new product offering by the beginning of December, a large change for someone who is an avowed introvert! I am very much enjoying my work though, and am happy to be continually challenged with a variety of projects and task that push me to grow my skillset.

2023 has seen me continuing to move to a more Mac-centric tech life. I still run Linux on a number of systems at work and at home (and in the cloud), but my daily driver is my MacBook Pro at this point, as MacOS on Apple Silicon has proven to be an extremely reliable platform when at my desk, in meetings, and on the go. I still tend to choose cross-platform tooling where I can, but am less afraid of choosing a Mac-only tool if it fits my needs.

In last year’s review, I mentioned that I had returned to using Evernote, and to the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. Unfortunately, both of those changed some in 2023. I stuck with GTD through mid-Spring, one of the longest stints I have ever been able to keep the practice up. Around that time, however, I began to fall off the wagon, which also coincided with my continued concern with changes that Evernote’s new owner, Bending Spoons, was making to the tool.

Over the summer I made the decision to migrate away from Evernote, to two separate tools: DEVONthink 3 for document management, and Obsidian for note taking. I am not sure if I will continue with them both long term, but so far they seem to be sticking (or have for the past 6 months, give or take). DEVONthink is where I drop all of the PDFs I may need to access later (largely scans of physical documents so that I don’t have to rely on a filing cabinet), and Obsidian handles my day to day note taking, meeting notes, etc. I also happen to be writing this blog post in Obsidian. 🙂 I am still keeping my eye on Bear, and I may give it another try in 2024, as it is still one of the most beautiful note taking apps I’ve ever found, and I find it very pleasing to use. However, Obsidian’s cross-platform and open nature (a simple folder of files, ultimately), combined with some improvements to the UI, have kept me using it on a daily/weekly basis so far though.

I have continued to use Todoist for most of 2023 as well, although I have looked at a few alternatives throughout the year. The most appealing option I have considered is OmniFocus, especially with their latest major update (OmniFocus 4). It is much more full-featured than Todoist, and has a few options, such as defer dates, that Todoist doesn’t really handle yet. However, Todoist has literally a decade of momentum already in my life, and so any migration to another tool is a large ordeal, and one I won’t make unless I’m positive it will provide some improvement. We’ll see what happens in 2024…

Unfortunately, my reading took a bit of a hit this year, although I still read more in 2023 than in many years in recent memory. I knew going into this year that I finished an abnormally high number of books in 2022, and that this year was likely to be slightly lower. I’m finishing out the year with an average of two books per month, or a total of 25 books completed. I ended up starting multiple series this year, and intend to continue reading a few of them, especially Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, and Naomi Novik’s The Scholomance trilogy. And, continuing on from last year, I once again used Prologue for all of my audiobook listening, with Plex as the backend library provider.

Speaking of Plex, I have continued to use Plexamp for virtually all of my music listening this year. I have continued to build my personal library of music, both by acquiring CDs (largely via eBay), as well as purchasing digital files when that is the more expedient (or only available) option. I have become accustomed enough to this style that of music consumption that I have a hard time even considering using a streaming service anymore.

In very brief JustinVollmer.com news, I have continued to use Hugo as my website framework, with GoatCounter as the only analytics on the site. I have continued to keep my blogroll and /uses page up to date, and recently added a /now page, inspired by Robb Knight’s recent The Web is Fantastic post.

And that concludes my 2023 year in review! I’m continually thankful for all the blessings of the past year, and I look forward to finding out what is in store for 2024!

Happy New Year!