Monday, January 02, 2012

2011: My Year in Review

2011 was a big year for me. I moved from London to the Bay Area, got promoted, wrote Professional Android 4 Application Development, and had my first Thanksgiving.

In amongst all that I read some books, took some pictures, and played with some Android gadgets. Here's a little summary of the highlights.


This year I used Google Books to store my 2011 reading list. My count was down somewhat (16 books compared to 23 last year), mainly due to the free-time spend writing the aforementioned book. This year's highlights:

  • Favorite Book: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin.
  • Most Read Author: I read two books by Courtney Summers and two by Wil Wheaton, but 16 books doesn't leave a lot of room for doubling up in a year when Feist, Pratchett, and Martin all release new books. 
  • Hardcover versus Paperback: 4 hardcovers, 5 Kindle eBooks, 7 paperbacks.

Lots of changes to the list this year. iPlayer, Ocado, and the London Cycle Hire Widget all drop off the list thanks to my move Stateside. Beluga gets dropped in favour of G+ Messenger, and TweetDeck gets the old uninstall thanks to increasingly poor performance and my shift away from Twitter towards Google+.

New to the list this year are Pandora and Google Music, which have revolutionized the way I listen to music since moving to the US. Cut the Rope, 3D Bowling, and the MX Video Player earned their striped keeping me entertained flying between California and Western Australia, and News Republic has come out on top when it comes to giving me news on the go.


A move to the Bay Area (and its hundreds of hiking trails through gorgeous nature reserves), a visit to NYC, and a trip back to Australia provided ample fodder for some photography. This year I tried my hand at some HDR processing too. A portfolio of my best pics is online here.


What am I carrying these days? Check out Reto Meier's Gadget Compendium.

The big changes this year were the introduction of the Galaxy Nexus to replace my Nexus S, and the inclusion of a Galaxy Tab 10.1 at the expense of the Xoom and a 7" Galaxy Tab. The 10" Tab is thin, light, and last forever -- indispensable for long haul travel.

Trends for 2011:
  • Lighter and thinner: The 10" Galaxy Tab probably weighs less than the 7" version. My Galaxy Nexus is the thinnest Android phone I've owned and is lighter than the smaller device it replaces.
  • Bigger screens: A 10" tablet replaced the 7" version and the Galaxy Nexus has a bigger screen than the Nexus S. People talk about screens being "too big", but provided they weigh less and don't suck up more power, I don't see a problem.
As for 2012? I'm hoping to see some Android @ Home gear this year. I think it might be time to upgrade my camera gear -- starting with a prime lens and going from there. I like the new Kindles, but the Kindle 3G I'm using right now does everything I need, so I don't see a Fire in my future.