2011 Look Back and New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time again, isn’t it?

Everyone is more or less having a look back at what he/she has done (or failed to) in the year that is soon-to-be a part of history and look forward to some goodies in the forthcoming new year. Since 2008, I began to do this sort of thing, you know,  retrospecting the passing year and defining resolutions for the new year. Though in none of the past four years did I fully achieve the new year goals, I really enjoy this way of self-motivating.

One year ago, I wrote this 2010?s Retro & 2011?s Resolution, now let’s examine the list:


  1. close current outsourced iPhone project prior Chinese New Year (Feb 3rd) (a little behind the schedule but the client was still happy about the work)
  2. release Wash My Car 2.0 by end of Mar, with many ideas I sketched with paper&pencil but got no time coding (I made it an universal app and it looks semi-pro)
  3. release a half-done free app by end of May, which I’m sure will release interest from targeted community
  4. release another free app by end of July, which I personally will love to use
  5. release another free app just about end of 2011, which I missed the perfect timeline in end of 2010
  6. release an app just designed for iPad, i have 2 app ideas right now, but my mind will be wide open
  7. finish coaching at least 2 of my buddies (both just bought Mac Book Pro this X’Mas), enable them to take outsourced iOS projects (now I’ve got 2 fellows to help with client projects, actually we’ve done 2 projects this year together, this allows me to spend more time on app architecture designing and trying some hard-core technologies)
  8. have 2-3 outsourced iOS projects, in terms of work load, same as the currently ongoing one (We did 5 projects, so 2 smile faces here)
  9. write more blogs, I know my blog looks almost dead (I wrote 9 blog posts in 2011, not much, but improved, keep the momentum!)


  1. nail down 176 migration visa to Aussie for me, my wife and new-born son (yes we’ve got it in Mar)
  2. make an appropriate landing plan to Melbourne, including timing, job-hunting in advance, household, car, etc (yes we traveled to Melbourne in Nov and Dec, and worked out our permanent moving plan)
  3. become proficient in baby-caring (I hope my wife agree with me, thanks to being self-employed, I think as a father I’ve done more and experienced more than most of daddies do )

Result: 8 vs 4     67% goals achieved in 2011

I guess I was too ambitious on planning my own apps and I failed tragically with zero output. On one hand, I wouldn’t know I could have 5 client projects in a year, which killed most of my time and energy in the second half of 2011; on the other hand, it was a bad example of “don’t sleep on your ideas”.

Speaking of client projects, I don’t blame them, instead, I feel grateful for having real client projects running down all the year, some of them were in great complexity and tight schedule. The grinding requirements, the picky art designers, the mysterious glitches, the sleepless overnights, the last-minute changes…being through all of these, with good endings, I feel myself an upgraded iOS developer.

Now I don’t fear requirements asking for customized UI that user doesn’t feel a bit Apple-like, because I’ve dig a handful of 3rd-pary libs from github and I even wrote some tricky fancy UI controls if I found nobody did something alike;
and I don’t fear parsing JSON/XML or whatever web-services/CMS servers return to me, because 80% of my projects involved client-server talking;
and I don’t even fear building a back-end server (with push notifications) by myself, because I’ve learned how to build RESTful web-service server with Ruby on Rails, yeah, I can code Ruby in Textmate now;

Hum, a little bit off-topic, am I?

Now, back to my 2012’s Resolutions:

  1. Client projects: I want to do 4 major client projects (mostly with my current clients). So ideally, given each project takes 2 months by average, I’ll be busy for 8 months. I’ll take conservative approach for developing new clients unless my man-power is growing or I can’t get enough projects from current clients.
  2. Own apps: I want to seriously get 2 of my longing app ideas done and published on App Store, it’ll likely take me 2 months in total. One app will be free, another will be $0.99, we’ll see how my first non-free app sales report goes. In addition, I really want to brainstorm with everyone I know for some really good app ideas, anyone?
  3. New iOS skills: mainly it’s what’s new in iOS 5, ARC, storyboard, etc. I’ve never practiced iOS 5 new stuff in real projects, worrying about the backward compatibility. I’ll take some time to watch the WWDC 2011 videos and try using ARC in future projects. I’ve also got to clean many “have-to-read” articles cluttered in my Evernote and Read It Later account, either read or delete,  I don’t want to be procrastinated.
  4. Ruby and Ruby on Rails skills: okay, I admit I’ve only done a crush course on both topics and immediately started writing back-end sever for one iOS app. I found it’s fun to explore a new world of script language and server-side programming. Now I want to do 2 books – Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer’s Guide and Agile Web Development with Rails
  5. Android: no, I’m not aiming to much for this. I just want to buy an Android phone and try writing something on it, I did “hello world” once a while ago but that’s all. This time, I want to sail further and to see how painful being an Android developer, or not. I’m not a big fan of debating iOS vs. Android vs. WM, but it’s definitely worth it to touch down Android fields.
  6. Better life-style: my wife contributed to this part in great detail, and I agreed with two –  I’ll eat every breakfast right after I get up, instead of checking mails/news on iPhone; I’ll go to bed no later than 12 o’clock, I’ll try. In addition, I’ll try get back to tennis court and swimming pool. I’ll keep using the 100 pushup app and try to re-gain those bulks I lost.
  7. Workplace: we’ll move into a new flat early 2012, which has a home-office room. Been working with my MBP 13″ for 1.5 years, in bedroom, in living room, in Cafe, in library, I’ve always been longing for a real home-office room, a clean IKEA desk, a lamp, a shelf, an external monitor or an iMac. I want it because it’ll boost my productivity and give me a clear switch between work and off-work modes.