2022: The Year in Review

illustrations illustrations illustrations illustrations illustrations illustrations illustrations

Published on 15 December 2022 by Andrew Owen


At the beginning of the year, I committed to publishing a weekly article on my DevRel blog. I always aim to publish by Thursday morning on the US east coast, and I’ve mostly managed to keep to that. Coming up with new ideas can sometimes be a challenge, and I’ve often fallen back on what I learned in my days as a newspaper reporter, when I’d try to write at least one full page feature a week. Sometimes that meant going back to the well and reworking old content. And other times it meant relying on old staples, like the look back on the year past and the look forward to the year to come. I’m also going to allow myself one lighter article for the holiday season.

Besides starting the DevRel blog, this is also the year I resumed keeping a daily journal. I decided to do this because, having left technical writing to become a developer advocate, I wanted to keep my hand in. I have a complete cuttings file from my days as a reporter, and a fairly complete set of sailing and travel journals from the time before I became a technical writer. So if nothing else, I’ll have something to refer to if my long term memory ever fails me.

This then is my personal look back on 2022. I’m not going to discuss the ongoing pandemic, because that’s next week’s subject. Except to say that in a year marked by change, the pandemic was the one constant. In January, the first change for me was my personal website, replacing WordPress with a static site generator. The consolidation in the video games industry continued when Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard, publisher of “Call of Duty”.

In February, Russia launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine, just as the late Anthony Bourdain predicted it would in a 2014 episode of “Parts Unknown”. This completely disrupted the lives of my Ukrainian colleagues. Having used a Russian email address since the late 1990s, I had the mild inconvenience of migrating all my online accounts to a new address, which only took about three days of effort.

In March, my family and I visited Hungary for the first time. I was there to take part in a user group conference. I got to meet my colleagues in person for the first time. And I gave my first in-person talk in front of a live audience in over a decade. I also got to have dinner with the main code contributor to the open source retro computer project that I’m community manager for.

In April, I came up with a tool chain that I’m still quite proud of. It takes JSON translation strings in UTF-8 format, managed by Weblate, and automatically generates message binaries in the appropriate code page encoding. As one friend described it, my mission has become to apply current enterprise software methodologies to hobbyist projects.

In May, customers who ordered the first batch of 400 Mega65 retro computers took delivery of their machines. Some of them even noticed that I’d rotated and sliced the old Commodore logo to create a new Mega logo for the meta key. But with the pandemic having passed 500 million cases worldwide, we now also had to deal with a monkeypox epidemic.

In June, a Google engineer claimed its Language Model for Dialog Applications (LaMDA) system had achieved sentience. My hot take is that AI has mainly been used to exponentially magnify unconscious bias in data sets. The Google engineer was initially put on leave and later dismissed. And six months after getting my booster, I got Covid-19.

In July, another European heatwave demonstrated that we may already have crossed the tipping point for climate catastrophe. I visited Turkey for the first time in about six years. I stayed in Bodrum and, when I wasn’t sipping cocktails by the pool, spent most of my time visiting the historical sites. Also, I bought a house.

In August, I chalked up another year on the planet. At the start of the year, I weighed over 180 pounds, but with calorie control, I’d managed to get it under 170 pounds. I decided that would do for now and switched my focus to core strength and balance. So I dug out the Wii Fit for a daily 45-minute yoga session. I highly recommend it.

In September, Queen Elizabeth II died, a week after I became eligible to apply for Irish citizenship. Many of my British friends posted memorials on their social media feeds. My feeling was that I should watch “No Time To Die” and then put the whole British thing behind me. At the end of the month, my grandmother-in-law died. She was the last of her generation in my family, and that really did feel like the end of an era.

In October, I found it hard to ignore the rolling dumpster fire that is UK politics. I may have emigrated, but I still have many friends and family who live there. If you’re not from the UK and you want to know how bad things are, the Collins Dictionary’s word of the year is permacrisis.

In November, I spent a week in Wales catching up with friends and family. I also took my car to England to get sound deadening fitted. I’ve reached the age where I should probably buy a Lexus, but I don’t want to announce how old I am on arrival. So I’m keeping the Toyota I bought when I was in my thirties. Later in the month my uncle came to visit and I did so much cooking that I undid all the progress I’d made on my weight since August.

In December, I started a new role as a solutions engineer. But I intend to stay active in developer relations. I’m still community manager for the Chloe retro-computer project, and I’m planning to begin creating developer-focused video content for it next year after I finish migrating the firmware repository to a new dedicated account. And I’m still going to be writing the weekly DevRel blog.

And that’s almost it for this year. Next week is the holiday article, which will be followed by my look ahead to 2023.