This year I spent more time thinking about writing than actually doing it, which initially bothered me but saved me a lot of effort in rewriting and reorganizing my thoughts. I enjoy sharing things I learn and find helpful, which sometimes comes in the form of a personal reflection. I then realized I only enjoy blogging once a year, while also don’t like blogs that awkwardly blend personal matters with evergreen information.
You are now seeing the line I’ve drawn for myself. An annual reflection of the things I’ve most thought about, sprinkled with all the personal context as to why they spent so much time in my head. I think years are a great measure of time for personal reflection as its a very natural way of defining
What you’re not seeing yet is the distillation of knowledge broken up into small, actionable blocks of information. A personal wiki of everything I think is worth sharing; from the Ethereum Virtual Machine to Evo Moment 37. A hyperlinkable public proof of knowledge.
This is the next step.
For my entire life I was uncomfortable around deep bodies of water because I didn’t know how to swim. A few years ago on a trip to Mexico, my lifesaver snapped on me and I briefly slipped underwater in a cenote (underground cave with a pool of water). Thankfully another tourist acted quickly and got me out, but the experience left Celeste and I bit shook.
She took matters into her own hands when we stayed in Nicaragua for a month and found me a swimming coach. I had hour long lessons every weekday for three weeks and came out feeling like I had developed a superpower. Aside from conquering a fear I feel more in tune with my body and its natural capabilities. It is now my exercise of choice and I enjoy every second of it.
In preparation for my trip to Nicaragua, I urgently needed a VPN for my home network to be able to do some of my work remotely and without taking all my hardware around. A sensible person would have purchased a new router with VPN capabilities. I am not a sensible person.
Instead, I repurposed my previous workstation computer, threw on a USB to Ethernet adapter, and turned it into a hypervisor-router-network-attached-storage monster of a server. Thus beginning my journey into the wonderful world of homelabs.
In short, a server is a computer that never sleeps, providing on demand services to other computers. One could argue a router is a specialized networking server. In any case, I discovered a way to repurpose old hardare, learn a lot more about networking, and take greater ownership of my own data by hosting my own services.
Beside the very powerful makeshift router I created, I found an open source clone of Google Photos that lets me store as much media as I’d like for the fixed cost of the hard drives and the ongoing electricity usage to keep it turned on. As the de facto CTO and historian of my family, truly owning my data and hardware is an empowering skill that I am happy to start evangelizing.
Growing up in the hayday of MySpace, now well over 15 years ago, I’ve seen many social media networks come and go. I joined Twitter in 2008 not really knowing how to use it until about 8 years later when I created a specialized account for the competitive Smash community. Even so I found it limiting as I felt like I could only ever talk about Smash, despite that being a small fraction of my interests.
Then came 2021 and the NFT gold rush. I made yet another blank slate to persue the psuedoanonymous identity so common in the ecosystem. I thought I would manage to be fully anonymous but I found myself connecting with people at a deeper level than I had imagined. Despite the dwindling market conditions I was heavily engaged, especially in conversations around art and technology. All was well until Twitter was sold off and the platform was sold off and quickly turned to a lawless land.
Enter Farcaster, a self-described sufficiently decentralized social network. Where the underlying infrastructure and protocol are decentralized and usable by any willing party (like email) and the primary interface is highly opinionated and constantly experimental (like Gmail). I actually joined Farcaster in late 2022 but it merits its place in this year’s reflection as it now accounts for about 95% of my social media usage.
Its core user base is primarily tech founders and crypto enthusiasts but its driving philosophies will make it a viable contender for the likes of Reddit and other platforms that welcome people from all sorts of interests and hobbies to find things to nerd out about. Despite being early to a lot of platforms, I don’t consider myself a trailblazer by any means as I’ve not made compelling cases for anyone to follow my lead.
At least in the past. This is me telling you to sign up for Farcaster.
Parenting (a toddler)
Luciano has been three different people this year alone.
He started the year as a blobby boi who could barely sit up. Starting solid foods seemed like it’d be a struggle but it was a huge success. His taste palette is beyond sophisticated, slurping anything between strawberries to sardines. He even likes to chew on lemons, make a sour face, then do it again. I envy his curiosity.
There’s also his appetite for books. We read to him a lot as a toddler and he politely would allow us to finish even the longest of Dr. Suess books. He’s more opinionated now and rightfully demanding. Sometimes I read the same book five times back to back. Others he walks away after the first page. Despite all the animals he’s now seen, to him every animal to him is doggy. I love how eager he is to grab bookshelves to hand to someone and sit on their lapto be read to. The first book I remember wanting to read for leisure was at 19 years old. He’s already a bookworm and I’m so very proud of him.
Later on he met his extended family in Argentina as well as in Nicaragua. He behaved like a champion on every plane ride and long road trip we put him through. It wasn’t long before he started exploring his walking. Then one day it just clicked and he was off to the races. There’s an adventerurer inside him and I can’t wait to show him the rest of the world.
ADHD is a condition I long glossed over as I felt like I didn’t really know many people that were physically hyperactive. After successfully overcoming what seemed like years of depression, I did observe some quirks of mine that I wanted a fix for. After months of research and talking to my psychiatrist, I am about 90% confident I have undiagnosed ADHD. My hyperactivity isn’t physical but mental, and in the grand scheme of things its both hindering and a gift to be able to piece together so many loose thoughts and interests together. I am also not discounting the possibility that I am seeking a solution for what could just be a lack of discipline.
Beeper, the all-in-one messaging app, has really helped me stay punctual with my conversations. I used to hop through half a dozen apps and get distracted by their content feeds, only to then get frustrated and disable notifications or worse, uninstall the app entirely. While kinda finicky at times, Beeper consolidating my messaging into a single place has been very refreshing.
Salads have been very slowly integrated into my regular diet, but this year I discovered a way to accelerate my enjoyment of them: virgin olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper. Turns out for years it wasn’t the salads that I disliked, it was the vinegar in the vinaigrettes!
Lorenzo, our sweet old cat, is no longer with us. He had stage four kidney cancer and was increasingly uncomfortable every passing day in recent months. He was the first pet I truly lost and I held him in my arms until his very last moments. The house has been sadly quietier without his dog-like howls, and noticably colder without the warmth of his constant urge to sit on ones lap. I hope you come around to visit us in your free time, Lorenzo.
Generative AI is the worst it will ever be again today, right this moment, and will only continue to get better. The implications are hard to overstate. I had a brief moment of doom and gloom when I realized I’ll be out of a career in my life time once user interfaces are replaced with a direct connection to The Singularity. If there’s one advice I can offer to anyone is to always say please and thank you as you prompt.
There are two ongoing geopolitical wars. The U.S. is having another presidential election. Bitcoin is halvening again. Disinformation and deep fakes will continue to spread like the plague.
It seems bleak at times but I think we’ll be fine. As far as other outlooks, there may not be another. Don’t ask me why. Go ask your mother. (Shoutout to Dr. Suess)