31 December 2008

Year-End Review: 2008 Edition

Wow, its the end of yet another year, and boy did time fly. Its incredible how long a year seems to be towards the beginning, but as the year's end creeps closer and closer, it begins to seem more and more that the year is quite short. I know that it felt like that to me quite often this year, with school seeming endless and my degree so far away, but as I sit here now, I see the end of my studies rapidly approaching. I guess Einstein's Theory of Relativity definitely holds true not only in physics, but also in our daily lives - or should I say yearly? About a week ago, I thought about what has happened throughout the year and though not much happened. Looking back at my previous blog entries however (its the only way I can remember all that has happened - I feel like an old man), I realized that a whole heck of a lot has happened! So let me begin with my beginnings into 2008:
Most people have goals, and those people usually set New Year's Resolutions to help them organize a list of things they want to personally improve in themselves before the end of yet another year. Unfortunately, many people fail at these goals, and I am among those. As my blog post at the beginning revealed, as of this day, I have failed to attain a every one of them - almost. My 1 soda per month goal was working well, as I drank a whole bottle (the large ones that carry the equivalent of 8 glasses of day - the recommended amount) of water each and every day. Embarrassingly, November & December alone have made up for the lack of pop for the past year. As for my cliched "Lose weight" goal, I have failed this too. I was doing quite well for myself throughout the year, but with school and the fear brought on due to my wallet being stolen at the gym, I haven't stepped into the gym since the middle of October. As for attaining my goal for organization, after looking at my desk and even my computer's desktop, I'd say no. Money management, yeah right in this economic climate. Completed projects - with the exception of more versions of Twobile, that too has been an abysmal failure. For most, failure is a sign that they did not try hard enough, and maybe that is the point of New Year's Resolutions: to aspire and try to change, knowing full well that it would be mostly fruitless, but because of the failures, you keep trying. Now some give up, which is probably indicative of all that they do, and others never try, which signals to me that they never take initiatives or are self-motivating in the first place. Regardless, I continue to try. Why? Because I'm stubborn.
Now, on other fronts, a lot has happened throughout the year, so without further ado, here is my unordered list of everything that has either happened to me, by me, or somewhere on this planet around me that peaked my interest over the year:
  • New website domain and redesign
    Its hard to imagine that I've gone almost an entire year with my domain and my new blog design, which for both I've been very happy about. I've never had a domain name before, and having a personal one that I can have point to whatever I want whenever I want is quite liberating.
  • New style of glasses
    I've had the same style glasses since I was a sophomore in high school (which was 2000-2001, by the way), so with my new website and my blog redesign, I decided to also switch out my style of glasses this year for something a little more, um, trendy. I settled on a pair of square, black-trimmed glasses as opposed to my oval glasses that I had before, and have been quite happy with the style since.
  • Rants aplenty
    Like every year, I was pretty angry at quite a bit of stupid things this past year, which a lot of people have always been telling me that I should see someone about, but I still think that I was rightfully angry. There were a lot of dumb people, ridiculous ideas, outrageous events, and ridiculously stupid scenarios that made me bend my head down in shame that I share a planet with some complete idiots. Thankfully, though, my cynical side managed to quell those flair-ups of anger with laughter and made everything all better.
  • School
    What can I say - it has haunted me since I was a wee lad, and continues to haunt me. Hopefully, if my cards are played right and things turn out good, I will finally be able to go through that exorcism called graduation and get my bloody Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science. Gawd how I hate school.
  • The 2008 Summer Olympic Games - in China
    "Some believed that this day would never come. What are they to say now?" Yes, that's a quote from Halo 2. Yes, we had the Olympic Games in China. Yes, the specticals were amazing. No, China will not take over the world, so stop conspiracy theorizing.
  • The Phoenix Mars Lander
    Yet again, those geniuses at NASA managed to put another piece of machinery onto the surface of Mars and allowed us to delve deeper into whatever locked up secrets are kept in the Martian soil. Unfortunately, the mighty lander met an otherwise disheartening demise as it slowly ticked on into death. It will be missed. Hopefully whenever humans do begin to colonize the planet (if at all), in its honor (as well as the previous landers) we make it a monument of our first efforts in exploration of this foreign world.
  • The iPhone 3G
    A huge misnomer, the second generation iPhone was released in masse, despite my disgust in its horrible-ness. Many know my hatred to nearly all things Apple, as they wrap a lot of old tech with very little new tech, call it an "innovation" and market the hell out of it to uninformed or trend-following consumers too eager to pay the outrageous prices for another rip-off. I know, its a lot of harsh words, but I can tell you this much: almost everything the iPhone (1st and 2nd generation) did, does, and can do I've been doing for months, even years before its release. I say "almost" only because the multitouch display on it was a new thing, although that was put to rest quite quickly when the HTC Touch and G1 were released (which are built upon more "open" platforms, by the way people; there ain't no stinkin iTunes required to download and install programs here folks).
  • Gas Prices
    Since September of 2007, I've been keeping track of every tank of gas I've filled up in my car on a spreadsheet on my phone, and it was quite outrageous when gas prices rocketed over $4 a gallon. With the decline of the dollar, however, prices plummeted at an enormously fast pace, and are now rising again, but hopefully not to the level it was at before. To this day, I still believe that the increase of gas prices were still a large factor in the current economic turmoil we are involved in, but many would disagree. I'm just saying since it practically killed the American car companies when people started moving to the foreign-made fuel-efficient automobiles. And while I'm on the subject, why the hell did it take so long for the American car companies to finally realize that quickly moving to more fuel-efficient vehicles was a good idea?
  • My "Sean Recommends" Blog Featurette
    Each day I come across things that are useful, cool, innovative, tasty, or just plain awesome that I want to share with other people. Unfortunately, as of late, I have not been able to keep up on this much, but it encourages me to find things that other people may enjoy and share them with people. Don't think its worth it? The businesses that make or sell the products or services I promote definitely do. Besides, its been proven that viral marketing is more effective than other forms of advertising. So you online advertisers need to stop with the annoying popup, pop-under, and other online advertising annoyances. You probably get more turn-offs with your shady and annoying practices than actual potential customers.
  • Our First Anniversary of our Engagement
    Its amazing that last year I popped the question and recieved an answer that made me more happy than a box of termites in sawdust. Unfortunately, we still don't have a date set because of all the other things that we want finished before we start focusing on getting married, but we still as happy as ever, and that makes me even happier knowing that.
  • First Anniversary working at S4i Systems
    Its hard to believe, but this year I celebrated my first year at probably the best place I've ever worked, and I still love working there - which is unheard of when you look at my employment history (with the exception of Cingular/AT&T, but I stayed there not because I wanted to but because it was a job and needed the money for school).
  • My First 3-day Vacation Alone with Ashley to Six Flags Magic Mountain
    I know, it doesn't sound like too big of a deal, but to me it was. We spent 2 consecuative days at Six Flags, and leisurely returned back home on the 3rd, laughing and enjoying the rides and each other's company the entire time. It will definitely be a memory worth remembering for the both of us!
  • The 2008 Election Campaign, Obama, and My Political Commentary
    Never have I debated so much on politics as I have this year (and hopefully for the rest of my life). There was a lot at stake - the health care system, the environment, the economy, just to name a few issues that were brought up during this election. And it was also an awesome turning point in the nation's history, one that I am proud to say that I was able to live to see. Some may ask, ultimately, why I was so heated during this election, and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the reasoning was Ashley's father. Never in my life had I faced such skewed political views (thanks to the few and jaded sources he listens/watches/reads), and it irked me beyond any possible control. At least I didn't kill anybody over it unlike some (though I really felt like it at some points - not her dad, though, just other people).
  • My Stolen Wallet
    Probably the biggest setback this year was when my wallet was stolen. In it was a identity thieve's gold mine, but thanks to my knowledge of technology and my strong desire for quick action, I put the whatever protections in place I could to ensure that my identity was as safe as I possibly could make it. Let's just hope that whatever bastard stole my wallet from my gym locker gets the justice he deserves. If I could, I'd hunt him down myself, but all my leads were exhausted, so all I can do is pray that God imposes some sort of divine retribution.
  • The Large Hadron Collider
    Yes, the machine that doomsayers are calling the Death Machine. Realistically though, this is a huge leap in science, and could quite possibly unlock many of the intracacies of the universe that still lay hidden away from us. The LHC could quite possibly mean that further advancements in science could come as fast as the computing industry moves, where advancements are made made almost ever couple of days. Personally, I think its amazing. (Oh, and to you doomsayers, why is it that you keep flip-flopping between the LHC and the idea that the apocolypse will happen in 2012? What, can you not make a decision as too when the real end of time will be?)
  • Halloween and the Master Chief Costume
    Before dating Ashley, I was not one to dress up on Halloween. But, somehow, she unlocked that little bit of me that's still a kid and wants to have a little bit of fun. This year I decided to go farther than I have in many years and dress in a Master Chief costume, and it was great. There were a few problems, but otherwise, it was fantastic, and I had a lot of fun.
  • Movies
    Although this year didn't put out as many truly exciting movies as previous years, there were still a few notables, in particular 007: Quantum of Solace, Cloverfield, and The Dark Knight. Although with each I've had disagreements with how well they played, I believed each one won a spot on my "Excellent" movie shelf along with few others. And even though each have won or at least been nominated for awards, I still have to defend them for their high quality and entertainment value from those few people that want to be stubborn and not except them for what they really are: truly great movies.
  • The Xbox 360's NXE & Our Wii
    This year was the year for new forms of digital entertainment for me, and the Xbox 360's NXE proved to be no exception. Astounded by the starkly different UI and its amazing-ness in simplicity, I grew fond of some of the new features that the NXE provided, and are anxious to be able to use them (like Netflix streaming support) when the time comes and the abundance of new movie releases are available.
    And on the flip side, Ashley & I bought a Wii together and are enjoying it a lot. Its amazing at how such a small unit (and less powerful one to boot!) can bring so much enjoyment. In fact, Ashley's family got their own Wii for Christmas, and they've been having a blast with it. As I've said in my previous post, if there is anything you get, it should be a Wii. There's something in it for almost everyone.
  • Social Networks
    Over the last couple years, social networks have gained ground by leaps and bounds. Fortunately, it allows people you knew, know, or have come to know to connect together and meet across the globe. Unfortunately, it has also been the cause for the demise of others. Even more unfortunately is the fact that there is an overabundance of social networks out there, ranging from general sites like the popular MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, but also many specialized social networking sites (which kind of defeats the purpose of groups in Facebook). New ones have popped up, and others have faded away. In fact, I've signed up with a good number of them - so many that I've actually forgotten quite a few of them. Here's a list of all the social networking sites that I've signed up with:
  1. Facebook
  2. MySpace
  3. Twitter
  4. Digg
  5. Pownce (the site has faded away into the void, unfortunately)
  6. Ping.fm (to consolidate posting to MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook)
  7. FireEagle (social positioning)
  8. Navizon (social positioning)
  9. 12seconds.tv
  10. YouTube
  11. Qik
  12. inca-x livemedia
  13. Orkut (I've never used it though)
  14. and of course, this blog.
All-in-all, 2008 ended up being quite a doozy of a year. My only hope is that 2009 is less chaotic, less argumentative, and more rewarding.

P.S.
I'll be posting my 2009 Resolutions here soon. I just haven't had a chance to sit down and think about them yet.

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