Thursday, December 31, 2009

Plans for 2010

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What a year!

I can't believe all the awesome stuff I was able to participate in this year. I think it is due in small part to blogging the list of stuff I wanted to do at the beginning of the year and then checking in on the list periodically.

More important than the list itself was the conscious effort I made to change how I approach projects and activities. The best way I can describe it is I made the decision to say "yes" to things. Instead of being scared and nervous about new projects and responsibilities I decided to Just Do It. I recognized that there was a very clearly defined emotion that would make me chicken out from doing the things I wanted to do and being the type of person I wanted to be. So I decided that whenever I have that feeling, I should do the opposite of what it tells me to do. As a result I've been involved in many exciting projects that I definitely do not regret.

I'm also a believer in putting your goals down in front of you and tracking your progress. I think making things concrete that way makes it easier to actually make progress. That ranges from putting numbers on things and making graphs to just writing out your thoughts a the end of the day. It's easy to lose focus. When some free time comes along and you're not sure how to spend your time it's easy to get distracted and waste your time away doing stuff you don't really care about.

At the beginning of the year last year I made this list of stuff I wanted to try to do. It wasn't so much a list of new year's resolutions, but more of a bunch of things I didn't want to forget about. I checked in again on my list in March and July.

Cooking, Bread, Beer, Cheese, Kombucha - I learned a lot about food ways this year but haven't turned any of it into a regular practice. I am happy with all I've learned and may get back into some of the recipes. I also started packing my lunch on a somewhat regular basis which I'm pretty happy about. I'd like to keep that up.

Local Food, CSA, Farmer's Markets - I did a lot of thinking about this and shopped at a few farmers markets. I need to work a farmers market into my weekly routine. I'm proud of this big table I created about CSA's in the Cincinnati area; I'd like to update that for the new year. I may sign up for weekly service from this company in 2010.

Gardening, Composting - Never did get a garden started, but I did grow some sprouts so that must count for something. I also didn't do as much composting as I wanted to, but I did build an outdoor compost bin so I'd have a place to get rid of collected kitchen waste. I plan on increasing my usage of the compost bin in 2010 and use the compost for a garden. I also want to get a rain barrel. Another idea I had was to make a big window hydroponic garden system at the hackerspace.

Paper Making, Crafting/Upcycling, Knitting/Weaving - I made another big batch of paper for Christmas cards and they turned out pretty alright I think. My next goals are to try and get smoother sheets and to try putting seeds in the mix.

Rapid Prototyping, MakerBot - This is an enormous success for this year. Getting a MakerBot is one of the most awesome things that happened to me this year. It ranks up there as one of the most awesome things I've ever done. Every time I make something new with it I get excited. I've even contributed some objects to Thingiverse and they were featured as a "Thing of the Week" on the Thingiverse blog. My goals for rapid protoyping are to basically build more rapid prototypers. I already have firm plans to build a Mendel and a CNC router. I also started a regional group for reprappers and makerbotters in the SW Ohio area that I should spend some more time on. I think rapid prototyping / distributed manufacturing / fab labs is a big and important phenomenon and I love being a tiny part of it.

Online Projects - All of the projects I was working on around the beginning of the year of somewhat stagnated, but I still believe in some of them. The biggest thing I hope to do in the first months of 2010 is to get skilled at using Drupal and hopefully that will allow me to flesh out some of the ideas I've had for websites. I've got a good Drupal book and an idea for a basic site I plan on building ASAP.

Local Currency - This has been on the back burner, but the local currency conversation has been heating up online and there are a lot more resources online now than there were at the begininng of the year.

Hackerspace - This is probably the biggest thing that has happened with me this year and I still can't believe it sometimes. Literally a month or two after I was thinking about starting a hackerspace, some other folks and I managed to create one. It's called Hive13. It is really cool and deserves a post of its own. My goals for 2010 with the hackerspace are to have more classes and build up our tools / fab lab. I also hope I get a chance to visit some other similar groups in Cincinnati and other hackerspaces in other cities.

Libraries - This seemed like a life-threatening year for libraries but we managed to come out of it ok. I'd like to continue to explore the ideas I was having about the future of online / decentralized libraries. I'd like to experiment by setting up a personal library online and a library for the hackerspace. I'd also like to make a tool library for the hackerspace.

Screen-Printing - I got some screen-printing gear for my birthday, but I am really sad that I didn't get around to printing anything. I have everything I need. I think first up I will screen-print something cool onto an old sweatshirt. I also have an idea of screen printing designs onto the homemade paper to make gift cards.

Android Apps - I stopped about midway through the tutorials and I don't know if everything I did is out of date now or what, but I'd still like to find time to play with this more.

Clothes Audit - In addition to moving forward on all the projects above, I had an idea for a project that I want to do some time when I have some time. I want to basically inventory all my clothes. I feel like I have way too much clothes and I only wear a small fraction of it. I also want to be able to look at all my clothes in terms of how many days I can go between doing laundry. For example, do my numbers of white socks sync up with my numbers of white undershirts? How many towels do I really need? Just to basically analyse it as a system and then cut out the waste.

In terms of doing stuff instead of just thinking about doing stuff I couldn't be much happier with how 2009 went. It was a very good year. I think 2010 will be even better!