Hello everyone! It's almost the end of the year 2022, and I hope you had a wonderful year. As we look ahead to 2023, I wish you an even better year ahead!
The past year was one of change, with many important events taking place around the world. Some of these events, such as the February Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the continued impact of COVID-19, had significant and far-reaching consequences. Other notable events included the global population reaching 8 billion people and the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
I won't be trying to list every single event that happened this year, but instead will focus on what happened in my own life and what I learned from it. I'll also interpret some events that happened and provide my thoughts on what may happen in the future. This blog post is divided into three sections: Personal, News, and Development.
In this section, I'll share some of the important events that happened for me this year, and my thoughts and feelings about them.
I graduated from high school in August, and looking back, I realize that I'm going to miss school. It's not just about the fun and memories, but also about the people. I've made so many wonderful connections and experiences, and it's hard to think about moving on and starting a new chapter in my life. I know that I won't always have the same group of friends and colleagues, and that can be sad.
After graduating, I started working at RWARRI, an NGO that helps people in poverty and refugees, as a web developer and IT specialist. It's been a challenging and busy year, with less time for personal pursuits, friends, and hobbies. But on the positive side, I've met some great people and gained some valuable experience in a work environment and with socializing.
As part of my job at RWARRI, I've had the opportunity to travel and meet people in different areas who are facing difficult circumstances. These experiences have really helped me appreciate how lucky we are, even when we have very little. It's easy to take our basic needs and comforts for granted, but seeing firsthand how others struggle to meet their basic needs has made me more grateful for what I have.
In addition to helping me appreciate what I have, these experiences have also reminded me of the importance of giving more than I receive. This can be as simple as volunteering my time or resources to help others, or simply being there to listen and offer support. As Jesus said:
It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
I've learned that these values are important not just in our personal lives, but also in our work and relationships with others. At RWARRI, we strive to serve others with compassion and generosity, and I feel fortunate to be a part of that mission. If you're interested in learning more about RWARRI and how you can get involved, you can visit their website here.
All is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:1)
This verse reminds us that everything is fleeting and temporary, and that we shouldn't place too much value on material possessions. This is a lesson that I've learned more deeply this year as I've started working and earning a salary.
While I've never been one to care excessively about money, my work has given me a greater appreciation for the role that it plays in our lives. It's not just about being able to afford the things we want, but also about having the resources to meet our basic needs. Seeing others who struggle to put food on the table has made me more grateful for the financial security that I have.
At the same time, I've learned to be mindful about how I spend my money. I try to focus on buying the things that I really need, and save the rest for future needs. I think the key is to prioritize spending on important things and not get caught up in materialism.
I just received my results for my final exams a few days ago, and I'm happy to report that I passed. Now, I'm looking forward to the next stage of my education and considering my options for university or college. I'm hoping to secure a scholarship and, even more hopefully, study abroad. I know that university will be a different experience, with more challenges and demands, but I'm excited for the opportunity to learn and grow.
I'm still in the process of researching and deciding on a major, so if you have any useful tips or advice, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm open to hearing from others who have gone through this process and can share their insights.
In today's world, it's almost impossible to avoid having digital interactions with others, whether through social media, group chats, or online communities like Discord or Matrix. While these platforms can be a great way to connect with others and share ideas, I've also learned that people can be more rude and vicious online than they would be in real life. This has led me to be more selective about who I engage with online, and to prioritize building trust and relationships in person.
That being said, I'm not suggesting that you should abandon your online friends or delete your social media accounts. But I do think it can be beneficial to limit your digital interactions and focus on more meaningful activities. It's easy to get sucked into the endless scroll of social media and waste valuable time that could be spent on things that are more meaningful and fulfilling. Next year, consider setting limits on your digital interactions and prioritizing face-to-face connections.
This year, I struggled with depression as a result of work-related stress and other events in my life. At times, I felt overwhelmed, lost all motivation and will to live, and struggled with impostor syndrome. These feelings were compounded by external events that made things worse. As a web developer, my productivity was severely impacted, and I found it difficult to complete tasks and contribute to my team.
Depression is a serious issue that can last for years or even a lifetime, and it's not something that can simply be brushed off or dismissed. Unfortunately, there are still many people who don't understand or take depression seriously, and this can make it harder for those who are struggling to get the support and help they need.
If you're struggling with depression, I encourage you to speak to someone about it. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or healthcare professional. It's important to have someone to talk to and share your feelings with. For me, speaking out about my depression really helped, and it made a big difference to know that I wasn't alone. If you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me.
There are also many other resources available to help with depression, including counseling, therapy, medication, and self-care techniques. It's important to find the right combination of treatments that work for you and to be proactive in seeking help. Remember, you don't have to suffer in silence – there is help and hope available.
Music has always been an important part of my life, and this year was no different. I found myself constantly plugged into my earphones or headphones, listening to music to help me focus and stay motivated while programming or completing routine tasks. Music has a way of filling in the silence and providing a sense of calm and therapy, at least for me.
I've also been experimenting with using white noise to help me sleep better. A friend recommended rain sounds, and I have to say, they work wonders for me. If you have trouble sleeping, you might want to try incorporating some white noise into your bedtime routine.
In terms of music genres, I really enjoyed listening to amaPiano this year. I usually use Spotify, but I'm slowly switching over to YouTube Music. Here's a playlist with 10 tracks I can recommend easily.
This year, I discovered a new hobby: cycling. It's been a great activity for me, not only because it's fun and enjoyable, but also because it helps me stay fit and explore new places. If you're looking for a new hobby, I highly recommend giving cycling a try.
In addition to cycling, I've also been listening to a lot of informative podcasts and reading more this year. While I've enjoyed these activities, I haven't been able to practice my hobbies as much as I'd like due to work and other commitments. I'm hoping to have more time for my hobbies next year, and to find ways to balance work and leisure more effectively.
In this section, I want to discuss some of the major events that happened in 2022 and share my (unprofessional) thoughts and opinions on them. Please keep in mind that some of these topics are sensitive, and I will try to be as neutral as possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the world this year, and we are finally starting to see some progress in terms of vaccination efforts and returning to pre-COVID situations. While it's sad to think about all the time and opportunities that were lost during the pandemic, I'm hopeful that we are on the path to recovery and normalcy.
Russian Invasion of Ukraine
In February, Russia invaded Ukraine and sparked a conflict with other Western countries. While Ukraine has been able to resist Russia's efforts, thanks in part to support from NATO countries, the situation remains tense and unresolved. It's important to respect the sovereignty of all countries and to strive for peaceful relations with our neighbors.
One aspect of this conflict that has particularly concerned me is the treatment of Russian citizens. The war is largely being orchestrated by Putin and his allies, rather than the average Russian person. It's wrong to view all Russians as enemies and to discriminate against them, especially in fields like software development where Russian developers have faced job loss and account suspensions.
In my opinion, unity is always preferable to conflict, and war should be avoided at all costs. It's important to remember that ordinary people on both sides are affected by these conflicts, and we should strive for peaceful resolutions whenever possible.
Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter
In 2022, Elon Musk made headlines when [he acquired Twitter for $44 billion][twitter-aquisiton]. This acquisition has had a significant impact on the social media platform and on the world at large. Musk has claimed that there were shady deals happening with the leadership of Twitter and the US government, and he has fired a significant number of employees (from around 7,500 to around 2,900).
The mass layoffs at Twitter have had a domino effect, with other companies following suit and also reducing their workforce. This has led to a decrease in demand for software development jobs and has caused many people to question if it's still a viable career path.
It's important to remember that these changes at Twitter and other companies have far-reaching consequences, and they can have a significant impact on the employment prospects of individuals in the tech industry. It's always a good idea to stay informed about developments in your field and to be proactive in building a strong career.
This year, OpenAI released ChatGPT, an AI system that can engage in real-time conversation and provide almost-perfect answers to any question you ask. While this technology is impressive and has raised questions about the future of humanity and the potential dominance of AI, it's important to remember that it's still in its early stages and has limitations. For now, ChatGPT is available for free, but it's unclear how long that will remain the case.
OpenAI also released DALL-E 2, a deep learning model that can generate digital images based on natural language descriptions or "prompts." This model and others like it, such as Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, demonstrate the increasing power and capabilities of AI. However, the use of AI for image generation has also sparked a movement among artists who feel that their work has been used without their consent. This has led to a global conversation about the ethical implications of AI art and the need for consent and proper attribution.
In this section, I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences as a web developer. This year, I've been interested in Linux systems, particularly GNOME and GTK, and have been exploring alternative technologies and approaches.
This year, I discovered many open source libraries that I really enjoyed, especially those that I have used in my own projects. The scope of these libraries is quite broad, but some of the ones that stand out to me include:
- Rabbet, a small link aggregator that I developed (similar to Linktr.ee)
- Deno, an alternative runtime to Node.JS
- Libvips, an image processing library
It's worth noting that, as a developer, it's often common to contribute to these types of libraries, especially if you rely on them in your daily work.
I am in the process of rewriting a small link aggregator I made, Rabbet using Deno and hope it'll be ready early next year.
I also started using new software/alternatives:
- Gitlab instead of Github (mainly for GNOME-related contributions)
- Notion for note-taking, finance management, and more
- Supabase, an open source alternative to Firebase
- Linux, specifically Arch Linux as an alternative to Windows
- Mastodon, an open source alternative to Twitter
- and more I probably forgot...
In the third quarter of this year, I lost my phone and had to purchase a new one. I was struck by the limited options available: it's either Android or iPhone. I believe that GNOME Mobile, a mobile operating system based on Linux, could bring significant improvements and potentially challenge the dominant players in the market. There are other Linux-based mobile OSes such as Plasma Mobile, sxmo, and others, but GNOME Mobile particularly caught my attention. I hope that it becomes a viable option in the future.
Developing with GTK
In addition to working with Deno and GObjects, I've also started learning to make GTK apps (using Vala, with the goal of learning Rust in the future). It's been an interesting journey, but one that has had its challenges, particularly the lack of good documentation. However, efforts are underway to improve the documentation, and I hope that it will become less of an issue in the near future.
Geno is a project I started to create GObject bindings for Deno. It is still in the early stages, but I hope to complete it soon and potentially create a GTK app with it.
Linux and the Community
I have been using GNU/Linux for some time now and have grown to really appreciate it. One of the best things about it is the community of people who share a passion for GNU/Linux. Many of the people who work on projects such as GNU, Linux, KDE, Fedora, Arch, and others related to GNU/Linux are not paid for their efforts. They do it because they are passionate about it and I think that is truly amazing.
In addition to the strong sense of community in the GNU/Linux world, it is also important to address the issue of mental health. If you are struggling with depression, it can be helpful to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional. There are also online resources and support groups available that can provide a sense of community and assistance during difficult times. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that help is available.
In conclusion, it is clear that the year 2022 has been a year of significant events and challenges, both globally and personally. From the impact of COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to the release of powerful AI systems and the emergence of new technologies, it has been a year of change and adaptation. As we move into 2023, it will be important to continue learning and growing, and to prioritize the things that truly matter in our lives.
I finally wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy new year!
Banner Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash