Reflecting on 2023

by webmaster 2023-12-31 #general

In 2019, I started the "tradition" of reflecting on the past year, mainly from a developer & geek point of view. I think it's a useful tool for summarizing how I've grown as a developer, and what cool new things I've done and accomplished.

I continued this in 2020, 2021, 2022, and now, 2023.

2023 TL;DR

đŸ”ŧ đŸ’ģ Laravel đŸ”ŧ 🏃 Running đŸ”ŧ 🏊‍♂ī¸ Swimming đŸ”ŧ 🕹ī¸ Gaming đŸ”ŧ 📚 Reading

đŸ”Ŋ 🛠ī¸ Side projects đŸ”Ŋ 🚴‍♂ī¸ Cycling

🙈 Personal

As usual, I won't share any personal stuff here.

Thankfully I've been heathy, barring various minor physical sport-related injuries.

🚧 Work

In 2023 I changed jobs. I am still full-stack and full-time remote, but in a small SaaS startup this time. It's a great place to be at, and I am happy to be working professionally with Laravel once again.

📝 This blog

The blog has now been around for 5 years. As time goes by, the motivation to write diminishes. Or rather, I would like to write more, and sometimes I create article outlines in my head, but when it comes down to actually doing it, I always find better (read "easier") things to do.

In terms of traffic, I decided to check Google Analytics for the first time in years. It turns out that tracking is broken because I haven't implemented GA4 😆 - so broken it shall remain.

Since I'm no longer tracking I don't know which of my articles people liked in 2023, but here are a few that I think are pretty decent:

🗂ī¸ Personal projects and software releases

In 2023 I worked less on side projects, especially as the year progressed and I became more involved at work.

Here are some of the personal projects I worked on this year:

  • Seismic - a desktop taskbar app (only tested on Mac) for tracking earthquakes. Made with Tauri, Svelte, Tailwind CSS.
  • React Hooks in Svelte - a comparison of React hooks vs the Svelte equivalent. Made with SvelteKit + Skeleton UI.
  • AQI Desktop - a very experimental desktop app for tracking the Air Quality Indicator in your zip code. Made with Native PHP + Tailwind CSS.
  • Syenite - a super opinionated static blog engine. Still WIP. I would like to use this engine for a future fitness-oriented blog. I could almost tag it 1.0 but you know how that last 10% takes most of the dev time. Made with SvelteKit, TailwindCSS, and a variety of libraries.

💾 New dev tech

I described my 2023 stack at the beginning of the year and nothing has changed, except for the fact that I decided to make my own blog engine.

The only new thing that intrigues me this year is HTMX. I wish it existed back in the days of jQuery. Today, however, it's a bit redundant with a Laravel back-end, since Livewire is the perfect equivalent.

⚙ī¸ New gadgets

The only new, "big-budget" gadgets I bought this year were both sports-related. A bike computer - Garmin Edge 840, and a watch - Garmin Forerunner 965. They are both great devices, but the watch is absolutely amazing. It's a bit of a downgrade from a Fenix in terms of durability, but everything else is leagues ahead, and it has helped me take my fitness to new heights.

⛑ī¸đŸƒâ€â™‚ī¸ Health and fitness

Speaking of fitness, 2023 saw my activities shifting towards running, and slightly away from cycling. I still ride quite a lot, but running has definitely been the headliner this year.

In 2023 I rode only 5100 miles (8200 km) vs 6400 miles last year.

On the other hand, running has become my top fitness activity (at least in terms of enjoyment). It's very ironic since I always dunked on running as being one of the most boring activities in addition to wrecking your knees and joints.

Well, I stuck with it for short distances at first, moving on to longer and longer runs. After a while I really began to enjoy it. I learned a few things that helped me progress: do 80% of your runs at low intensity, run short distances often, and listen to your body for recovery.

A couple of things that contributed to my newfound love for running were the fact that I could listen to a lot of podcasts and music during it (so I didn't get bored), and that it's super convenient to throw on some gear and go for a quick 30-45 minute run every day, at any time. In that respect it's way more convenient than cycling which takes me quite a while of prep before I am ready to go.

As my running fitness increased, so did my distances and paces. My favorite pace at the moment is 9:30 min/mile (5:57 min/km). If you're a seasoned runner this probably doesn't sound like much, but it's a pace that I can run comfortably for miles and miles.

At the same time, I started to enjoy longer distances. My daily 4 mile run became 5 miles and most days I wanted to run more. I ran quite a few half-marathon distances. I thought that sometime in 2024 I would be ready for a full marathon. Well, it happened a lot sooner than I had anticipated. One day in early December I decided to go for it and I completed the full distance in 4h 30m. Pretty good for a debutant, especially considering it was a trail run and quite muddy over a long stretch. This was a solo run - not a race.

Also in 2023 I learned how to swim properly in terms of technique and endurance, all from watching YouTube videos and applying the theory. So now I'm a much stronger swimmer who can go longer distances without becoming winded.

Health was good otherwise, except for minor sports injuries that recovered quickly.

📚 Books

I read more books this years, by applying some discipline in the form of reading one chapter every night before bed. I really enjoyed The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, and an old classic (this time I hope to read the entire series) Ringworld by Larry Niven.

đŸŽŦ Movies and TV

I don't watch TV in the traditional sense, but I do stream a fair amount of movies and TV shows.

Some of the movies I liked in 2023 are: Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery (2022), The Menu (2022), The Whale (2022), Tetris (2023), Dungeons Dragons Honor Among Thieves (2023), Creed III (2023), The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023), John Wick Chapter 4 (2023), Polite Society (2023), BlackBerry (2023), Nimona (2023), Asteroid City (2023), Big Bug (2022), Spider-Man Across The Spider-Verse (2023), Bottoms (2023), Totally Killer (2023), The Equalizer 3 (2023), Jules (2023), Oppenheimer (2023), Killers Of The Flower Moon (2023), The Holdovers (2023), Finestkind (2023).

I also watched individual seasons from various TV shows. Excellent ones include: Wednesday S1 (2022), The Mandalorian S3 (2023), The Sandman S1 (2022), One Piece S1 (2023), Foundation S1,S2 (2021-2023), The Fall of the House of Usher S1 (2023).

🕹ī¸ Gaming

2023 was a gaming resurgence. Some of these games aren't new, I just happened to buy and play them this year. I have a huge backlog of games, so I can wait very patiently to buy them during sales.

On PC/Mac I really enjoyed: Last Epoch, Halls of Torment, Satisfactory, Death Must Die, Hardspace: Shipbreaker, ΔV: Rings of Saturn.

On Switch I had fun with: Cult of the Lamb, Loop Hero, Hades.

Twitter and social media

In 2023, Twitter was dead to me. I stopped posting anything of value. I'm also on Mastodon, but to be honest the death of Twitter has completely demotivated me from participating in any kind of social media. I'm also on BlueSky but that place seems dead.

I finished the year with 594 followers on Twitter and 106 followers on Mastodon (double than the end of 2022).

Things to look forward to in 2024

Development stuff

Last year I said I was excited about new versions of various tech stacks. I've reached a tipping point and I just wish things would slow down for a change. I'm tired of the never-ending release cycle. My wish is for everyone to take a year off from new releases (who am I kidding tho?).


This year ChatGPT has been omnipresent, and we've been building heavily on it at work. Going forward, I would also like this space to slow down a little because the implications are disquieting. Again - who am I kidding - change will happen with or without my approval.


I don't have any specific personal projects in mind. At the very least I'd like to finish or continue polishing the ones that are still WIP after many years.


I have a feeling I'll be gaming more in 2024. I'm burnt out on work and side projects and I need some long-term R&R. I already have a few queued up on the PC: Witchfire, Outer Worlds, Noita, We Who Are About To Die, Astral Ascent, and on the Switch I might buy The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Health and fitness

Being healthy is good and I'd like to continue that. Likewise with being in shape. In 2024 I hope to expand my running volume (cumulative distance) and keep it on an even keel with cycling and swimming.

That about wraps it up for now. Once again, thank you for your readership dear friends, and lets make 2024 the best year of the 20s yet!

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