Reflecting on 2016

After a year like this, I felt like I wanted to reflect on all the things that happened. Some things were great, some were heartbreaking, and some were flat out strange...

Getting Married

On April 9th, 2016 - I married my best friend in our favorite 1940's era, single-screen movie theater. After the ceremony, we used the movie screen to display music videos that would accompany the music as we danced the night away with all of our friends and family. We both worked very hard to make the occasion an memorable experience for everyone who attended, and it really turned out better than we could have ever anticipated. I'll never forget the moment the DJ put on "Ghostbusters". It's a moment that I'll never forget as long as I live.

The Passing of Angus Scrimm

I was hung up a bit more by this than I anticipated. To give some backstory: My father and I didn't have a lot in common, but the one thing we did share was a love for horror movies. When I was very young (seriously, way too young) I would often stay up way too late (seriously, way too late) with my father watching horror movies on TV. Part of it was wanting to show my Dad that I was "brave" like him, but there was something that just clicked with horror movies and it was something that we could bond over. One of the first movies that I recall watching with him was the film Phantasm - the story of an alien who took up residence in an old mausoleum preying on the local residents who died to build an army of monstrous slaves.

The villain of this tale was performed by a man named Angus Scrimm. A very kind-hearted and soft spoken man who could turn into one of the most terrifying and ominous characters in an instant. Visions of Angus' character, The Tall Man, his brigade of minions, and the floating silver spheres haunted my dreams for many years. Angus was a horror legend, and a man that literally haunted my dreams as a child. He will be missed dearly.

Google Killed Chrome Panels

This was surprisingly one of the biggest set backs to my daily workflow. I didn't realize how much I used this "experimental" feature until it was gone. Leo Nikkilä built a fantastic Chrome extension that used the panels feature that would allow you to have an incredibly flexible "picture-in-picture" for any Chrome tab.

While there are decent alternatives, this would allow me to reuse my authentication since the panels are still rendering within the same browser. I've since switched to Helium, which is a pretty decent replacement.

Update: Chrome has recently introduced a picture-in-picture mode for streaming video. It's a decent alternative, but doesn't capture the full flexibility of the panels feature.

The Election

I really don't have anything to add here. I just needed to make note that it happened.

Apple Updated The Macbook Pro

This was another that was really disheartening. I felt like the new design was too occupied with making something "new" that there was no consideration for user experience and practicality. I've always thought very highly of Apple's designs and attention to detail, but I feel like both weren't considered when designing the new Macbook Pro.

The real sting came from seeing the lower-end model without the Touchbar. I thought, "Oh hey, at least they have an option without it." But... When I saw the nutty escape key, I thought it was a Photoshop. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

This is the first time in a long time where I've second guessed my hardware choices when buying a new laptop. I hope that sales will reflect the popular opinion and Apple will learn from it. Or, at least give us a solid, designed alternative to the strange Touchbar version.

Resident Evil VII Demo

When this demo hit, It really came out of nowhere for me. I wasn't really anticipating it and I had all but sworn off the Resident Evil series due to lack of interest. My love of horror has always been strong and with the release of Hideo Kojima's P.T. demo - I had hope that horror still had a bright future in gaming. Well, that is until Konami killed off the project...

Shortly after, the Resident Evil VII demo popped up and I was captivated due to it's similarity to P.T. and other recent horror titles. I was constantly tuned into various Twitch channels at nearly every hour of the day following the community as they tried to discover the deepest secrets that the demo contained.

With all of the negativity in gaming today, this was the most fun I had with an online community in completely absorbing everything this tiny demo had to offer. It was an experience that hasn't been matched since the launch of Portal 2. One of the highlights of the year and my life.

Fitbit Acquires Pebble

This hit me hard. Of all the devices that have came out in the last several years - Pebble was the one that changed my daily routine the most. I was critical of smart watches early on, but I eventually decided to take the plunge and pick one up. The Pebble was the only device of its kind that shared my love for simplicity and efficiency. It was focused on being an extension of your phone instead of a replacement and it valued battery life over flashy features.

I'm sticking with my Pebble until it's last charge. I've even picked up some replacements for it on clearance so I can quickly replace it should it ever die. Of course, eventually as the devices age and start to fail - Pebble fans will have to face a final death of the wearable. One can only hope that something new will be created to take it's place.

Update: I'm happy to say that my Pebble is still running strong and the Rebble team continues to make updates to keep the Pebble alive far into the future. In other good news, if you're looking for a Pebble but are having difficulty finding one at a reasonable price, the Amazfit Bip is a new smart watch that seems to be a comparable replacement.