Great things of 2020


This post was originally released on my old personal blog, instanceof.coffee on the 31st of January 2021.


A continuation of my post Great things of 2019 but for 2020. I've switched phones in September but forgot to backup my Materialistic saved data so I lost most of cool blog posts & articles I've read. Thus these two sections may heavily be biased towards stuff that got posted on HN in Q4 of 2020. As always, everything is in no particular order.

Great blog posts read

Great articles read

Favorite podcasts listened to

  • Anime in America - A interesting look at the history of Anime and Manga and how it came to from Japan to the US. Despite living in Europe, some of the stuff that was mentioned seemed all too familiar.
  • Trash Taste Podcast - A genuinely funny podcast by three anitubers. It features hilarious stories, trash opinions and bad takes and I've loved every minute of it. I've gotten way too many weird looks because I've started laughing out of nowhere in public transport because of this podcast.

Continued listening to:

I've commented on these podcasts on last years post.

Favorite musicians discovered

While I have discovered many new musicians in 2020, none of them have sticked with me or become a huge part of my music listening. I've mostly used Spotify's recommendation engine.

Favorite shows discovered

  • My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (S1, S2, S3) - This show came out of nowhere and ended up being my all-time favorite series, with season three even being my highest rated anime of all time (10/10). I've genuinly loved every moment of this show. I highly recommend this show, especially because season 3 ends very satisfactory.
  • Orange
  • Just Because!
  • Carole & Tuesday
  • Grand Blue - This has to be the funniest anime I've ever seen. Highly recommended for having a fun time.

Favorite games discovered

I haven't discovered many new games in 2020. I've mostly continued playing games I already knew and loved such as Overwatch.

Countries visited

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was sadly unable to visit any new countries this year. However, I was able to visit again:

  • Germany

It was just a day trip, a quick hop over the border basically. No, I did not catch covid (as far as I know).

Great tools discovered

Everything from apps, platforms, extensions and more that I discovered in 2020 and use (almost) daily.

  • KDEConnect / GSConnect / Your Phone - I spend most of my screen time in front of my computer but I still want to receive notifications and interact with mobile apps from my desktop. These three apps (two for Linux and one for Windows) allow me to do that and it works surprisingly good.
  • Microsoft Todo - I'm trying to organize my life a little bit better and this has helped immensely. My Samsung Reminders app automatically syncs to it.
  • Neat URL - I love sharing links with other people but ever since the introduction of Google Analytics many urls are poised with useless arguments such as utm_source. This extension gets rid of them.
  • Nebula - Nebula is a independent streaming site which hosts videos from my favorite YouTubers such as Wendover Productions and TechAltar. It also contains great exclusive series and documentaries. It is very cheap and supports your favorite creators directly, so I can highly recommend giving it a shot.
  • Patreon - I've used Patreon in the past to receive donations for my projects but 2020 was the first year I gave money to someone else on Patreon. I've subscribed to OtakuVs to support the creation of their anime.
  • Samsung Notes - As I've gotten myself a device from the Note series, I had to use the S-Pen. And damn it's useful, mostly because of the great Samsung Notes app features and syncronization with OneNote.
  • Webtoons - I've discovered the world of Webtoons. You can imagine this to be some sort of modern version of Manga, optimized for reading on smartphones. I recommend True Beauty.
  • Windows Terminal - Finally a useable terminal on Windows.

This list does not include tools that aren't exciting, such as Microsoft Teams which I used extensively in online school while there was a lockdown.

Programming languages I hacked in

I didn't learn any new programming languages in 2020. I've focused more on frameworks such as Pyramid (Python) and actix (Rust).

Tech products I bought

  • Samsung LC24RG50FQUXEN (February) - Great value curved 144hz monitor. It has become my main monitor and joined my triple monitor setup.
  • SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless (April) - God I hate wires! After having yet another headset break on me, I've decided to actually spend a triple digit amount of money to buy an actual good headset and I'm not regretting it. It has held up pretty well already and being able to walk around the apartment while gaming or listening to online school lessons is so convenient.
  • HyperX Fury 32 GB 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM (June) - At the start of the year I've found that I've been hitting my 16 GB limit on my machine pretty often with all programs and games I have constantly open. The logical step was to upgrade and when digitec had a sale in June this was perfect. RAM prices really have come down since I've built my pc and I was able to buy this 32 GB kit for the price of the 16 GB kit I had in my pc since I built it in 2017.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (August) - I upgrade my phone every two years, primarily because the battery wears out. I've stayed with Samsung as a phone brand as I've already bought into their ecosystem with my Galaxy Watch & Buds. Seeing the camera issues that happened with the S20 Ultra in february I couldn't allow myself to buy a phone with these issues so it had to be the newest flagshig from the Note line. I've since really grown to the pen on the phone and I use it pretty often in school.
  • WD Black SN750 1 TB NVMe SSD (November) - My 250GB SSD has become full so I had to upgrade. Thanks to a great black friday deal on Amazon, I even got myself an NVMe one.
  • HyperX Alloy Origins (November) - Since the start of the year I've had problems with sometimes double typing keys on my CoolerMaster Masterkeys L. I've already cleaned it and it didn't help so it was time to replace it. Black friday at Media Markt got me covered with a nice mechanical keyboard. I've found these HyperX red switches to be very much the same as the CherryMX Reds I had on the Coolermaster.
  • Logitech G Pro X Superlight Wireless (December) - As already mentioned above, I've bought into the wireless hype. I was eyeing the Logitech G Pro Wireless since a few months already and when I wanted to buy it on Black Friday it wasn't discounted. Thus I've decided to spend the additional money to get the newest product of Logitech, the Superlight variant of the G Pro Wireless.
  • Dream Machine DM Pad XL (December) - With a new mouse we also need a new mouse pad, right? On the long term I'm planning to replace this with a Artisan mousepad so it'll probably not stay for very long.

A few comments about the tech I bought in 2019:

  • Buying a Samsung Galaxy Watch in 2019 might've been one of the best decisions I could've made. Once COVID-19 took over our lives, it was recommended not to touch surfaces because of fears of catching the virus. My smartwatch allowed me to see notifications directly on my wrist without having to take out my phone and touch it.
  • Noise Cancellation of the Sony WH-1000XM3 got worse after multiple updates (or maybe use?). I'm planning on replacing the ear cups to see if that makes a difference.
  • Despite a lockdown and home schooling, I wasn't able to use my Nintendo Switch as much as I would've loved to.

Plans from 2020

In last years' article I wrote down a few plans I had. I sadly wasn't able to complete all of them:

Goal

Achieved

Comment

Write a blog post at least once two months.

No

In fact, the only post in 2020 was the Great things of 2019 article. It is easy to blame the pandemic but I know it was just me being lazy.

Start building a portofolio on GitHub.

Yes

A little bit, but not completely.

Contribute more to open-source projects.

Yes

I completed Hacktoberfest 2020 for the first time.

Shrink my Plan to Watch list.

No

It grew even more. I'm now at 126 shows (at the time of writing).

Pass my upcoming Cambridge CAE exam in March.

Yes

Passed with Grade B

Pass the four month personal project we have in school in August.

Yes

Passed with 4.5

Stop some coping mechanisms.

No

That is 4 out 7 goals achieved or a 57.14% success rate.

Plans for 2021

In addition of trying to complete last years' goals, I'd like to:

  • Pass ending exams for my apprenticeship
  • Get a new job when my contract ends in August
  • Get my drivers license
  • Get into investing and the stock market