I’ve been reading and listening to other people’s review of last year, and setting goals for the next year.  I’m not typically a “resolution setter” but I do remember last January having the typical thoughts flow through my head.  Here’s a brief rundown of 2007, and I’ll post soon about 2008.

In January 2007, I realized that drive-time radio was messing with my head. If it was talk radio I either learned all kinds of trivia that I didn’t need to know anyway, or just wanted to argue with the next human I saw about whatever they were debating about that day on the radio. If it was music it was never the music I really wanted to listen to anyway and there were still a bunch of commercials which are never fun. So whenever I got where I was going I was never quite in the same state-of-mind that I was in when I started the trip, which I didn’t like. My solution was just to turn it all off – so I did. The first 6 months of this year my car radio did not come on at all and it was honestly really peaceful. I’ve had it on maybe 10 times since then, mostly for traffic, weather or a little Christmas music. Since 2008 is an election year I am sure they will be arguing or debating all the time on the radio again, and in between there will be political ads on all the channels, so I’m keeping with the radio free zone. I do have my iPod(s) that I load up with music I want to listen to and podcasts that I have subscribed to. The weather is pretty obvious out the window, and my drive is much less complicated now, so I won’t miss out on much. This was really positive.

Next I wanted to learn a lot more about some new technologies that Microsoft has come out with – the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). I spent last year reading a ton about it, doing projects on the side, and even going to a training class in Chicago. I wanted to learn it even more and start to spread the word about it to more people. So I presented at the Day of .NET conference in the spring and lead a summer special-interest group (GRUISIG) that met six times with 5-12 people who were also interested in learning together. I’d consider this a positive result as well. I always want to be part of a group of people who is learning things together. I’ll keep attending the .NET User group, and plan to be learning and working with a group as well this year (more on that later).

I wanted to get more active – personally and with my kids. We got new bikes for everyone that needed one, a bike carrier for the van, and actually went on some good longer rides together (and more shorter ones too). But we easily could have done more / should have done more – so I need to do better here this year. We also painted the lines on the driveway for some basketball games and did get out there maybe 10-12 times. We didn’t go camping and really didn’t do much hiking / nature walks as we’d talked about. So we laid some good ground work this year, but clearly fell short of really ramping up the activity. This is moving forward into 2008

Professionally, again, I wanted to update my Microsoft certification. I’d been studying with a group from work since the fall for one of the tests and I figured I could knock out three tests without too much trouble. I know people go back and forth about the value of a Microsoft developer certification. I have known several people with all kinds of paper certifications that really didn’t execute very well at all. I also know some awesome developers who haven’t taken any tests at all. Microsoft certification is really part of the puzzle (and certainly not the most important part). But I know, personally, preparing for the tests and taking them has really helped me (I’ve taken 7 now – passed 5). I learned many things studying for the tests that I would not have learned when working on the projects that I have been on or in the books that I have read. I know for a fact that many of the things I learned while studying helped me design and program projects that came later (and solve problems in between). Anyway, I passed one test and prepared for a second. I’d like to get the other two tests done in 2008.

Well, I’d give myself 7 of 10 for the year – let’s look forward to 2008 next.