I remember 2011 like it was only last week

Ah…the obligatory end of year, start of year post!

This time last year I was writing about how challenging 2010 had been.

I’m pleased to report that on the whole 2011 didn’t throw up as many major problems as the previous year.

We’ve settled quite nicely into our new house, Bryony’s hearing didn’t get any worse and I managed to start playing football again after recovering from my knee operation as well as losing a couple of stone in weight as a by-product of that. (Christmas may have undone a little of that work though!)

On the geek front I purchased an Amazon Kindle, a HP TouchPad and a Windows Phone.

I also expanded my collection of retro games and consoles alongside visits to Replay Expo and the Retro Computer Museum

On the gaming side of things Portal 2 was without a doubt the highlight of my gaming year. I’ve not played as many games on my Xbox as in previous years on account of spending so much time on the retro stuff but Portal 2 was so refreshing and entertaining I’m glad it had some of my attention (taking nothing away from Arkham City which I’m thoroughly enjoying at the moment!)

On the personal front I stepped out of my comfort zone and spoke at a Pecha Kucha event in Coventry as well as realising the writers block I had was actually a symptom of not spending enough time resting and thinking about something other than work. I celebrated 10 years of being with my significant other, Bryony and wrote all about how the Internet changed my life!

In sadder news, Tony Sale passed away. I visited Bletchley Park the weekend beforehand and as ever it was great to see the fruits of his labour. He’ll also have been pleased to know that Bletchley Park’s future is safe.

On the business side of things 2011 was also much better than 2010. The second half of the year was one of the busiest I can remember for some time and this in conjunction with my decision to make sure I spend enough free time “not working” meant some things had to be dropped down the priority list – this blog included – but I’m happy that I’ve learnt my lesson from the summer.

One of the things that also dropped off quite badly in the second half of the year was the amount of reading I did for the same reasons outlined above. It didn’t stop altogether but the pace with which I was getting through books at the start of the year was totally different to the end of the year. My reading tracking experiment showed between the start of 2011 and May 3rd, I’d read 18 books – the final total for the year was 26. A much slower pace! I’m happy with my experiment though. It’s been good to look back and see what I’ve actually read this year which also makes recommendations to others easier too. Richard Tubb wrote a great piece recently about why reading is important which is worth a look.

Christmas always reenergises me when it comes to reading though. My family always know that books are a good choice when it comes to gifts and I’ve got some excellent ones again this year!

So 2011 was pretty decent – I’ve met some great people and done some really interesting things – thank you to everyone that contributed to my year whether that was virtually or in person.

Bring on 2012!

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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