Highlights of 2016. Goals for 2017

It's that time of year when people who write blogs also write notes about (some of) what they've been up to for the last twelve months and make public (some of) their aims for the coming year. I don't see why I should be any different, so here goes.

I've been writing this blog for a couple of years now (in fact it's almost exactly two years since I wrote the first article1 on this site, which was actually published at about 11:30 at night on New Year's Eve). In that time I've spent a lot of time writing some fairly complex technical articles and this has led to me interacting with lots of interesting people (and in more than one case, actually meeting them in real life, which is great). You've heard it before, but I happen to agree with it: writing a blog is worth doing. If you're thinking about starting a blog but haven't yet, perhaps you might find inspiration in this post of mine.

Without further ado (apart from the next paragraph), let's proceed.

Note that I am not going to confine myself to tech-related achievements and aims, but I'm also not going to burden you with everything either; this isn't meant to be like one of those so-called (erroneously, I might add) round-robin letters3 which are sometimes received unbidden inside Christmas cards.

Highlights of 2016

  • I had over 100,0002 page views on this blog this year, mostly from search engine traffic. I am pleasantly surprised by this. I got around 60,000 views last year, so it's going in the right direction.
  • My post about fixing the WiFi on the Surface Pro 3 (from 15th Jan 2015) is still my most popular article. It also applies to the Surface Pro 4 as well.
  • I ran a prize draw and somebody won a physical thing. You should subscribe if you want to be included in future competitions. You'll get some free stuff (not much) and I won't pester you or sell your details or anything annoying.
  • I became a friend of Redgate, visited their office (spoiler alert: lovely office, lovely people) and had my SQL Prompt article featured in a couple of their emails which were sent to a lot of people, which was nice. I also told people they should attend (online) SQL in the City and if you didn't manage to do that, you can still watch the sessions on their YouTube channel. More info here: https://www.red-gate.com/community/sqlinthecity/.
  • I became an Ethical Hacker. It's a certification. I wrote about it here.
  • I attended every assembly, sports day, etc that my kids were involved in. This and the next one are my greatest achievements of 2016.
  • I deliberately took the summer off work and spent time with my wife and kids. I don't write about my family on here as I suspect most of you would find it rather tedious and somewhat irrelevant. However, I am married and have three young kids (aged 6, 4 and 2). I'm sure you've all heard that stuff about people on their deathbeds being more likely to regret having missed out on their kids' sports days than having missed a few work meetings. The thing is, I'm sure it's true. People tell you your children will grow up quickly. That's true too. If you have the luxury of choice, you should choose to spend time with your kids. And if you don't have this choice, see if there's a way you can spend less money and buy fewer things and give yourself this choice. I might write a separate post about this soon.
  • I was elected Member-at-Large of the Triple Nine Society.
  • I was appointed Information Officer of the Triple Nine Society. I might explain this in more detail in a separate post4. Until then, bear in mind what John Lennon said: "They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool"

Selected Goals for 2017 (I have lots more)

  • Be awake to see in the New Year (since I've had kids I haven't always managed this).
  • Play with my kids whilst they still think I'm cool.
  • Continue to attend my kids' events.
  • Help people. I like helping people and I like teaching. I'd like to do more of that next year.
  • Find some interesting consultancy work. If you think you can help with this, drop me a line.
  • Speak at some events.
  • Remain a friend of Redgate. I hope I can do this.
  • Get tomchats.com up and running (a podcast of me chatting to interesting people about stuff, not just tech-related. If you're an interesting person, drop me a line and tell me why we should chat).
  • Run some more prize draws and get some more subscribers (honestly, it feels more worthwhile writing this stuff when you think a few people might be reading it).
  • Actually email my subscribers occasionally. A few of them have never received an email from me at the time of writing this.
  • Finish my email security article series.
  • Write some stuff which doesn't necessarily involve tens of hours of research. I'll still write the technical stuff, but I'd like to write some more things which might help people in other ways.
  • Continue to refer to my blog posts as articles on this site and as blog posts everywhere else. For no reason whatsoever.
  • Start writing my novel.
  • Finish writing my novel. :-)
  • Start training properly again and lift some heavy stuff. Maybe compete in powerlifting again. Not sure yet.

What about you? Have you got any interesting goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments below if you fancy sharing. And if you want to join me in some of my ideas then that's great.

And that's it. Have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017 and don't make lots of resolutions you won't be able to keep.

If you found this article interesting or useful (or neither), you can comment below, subscribe for free Azure and SQL ebooks (I daresay you've just seen a pop-up of some kind suggesting you might like to do so. Click here to see it again. I promise not to pester you and you might even win something) or follow me on Twitter (I'll probably follow you back).


  1. See my goal of still calling my blog posts articles...

  2. That's not a decimal place marker, but it's also not 100,000 squared, sadly. The blog got just over 102,000 page views.

  3. This irks me massively. "Round-robin" refers to a tournament in which everybody competes in turn against everybody else.

  4. I will write more about this as it's likely that it will apply to at least some people who might be reading.

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