Daniel Matthew

2017

2017 was an odd year. I made some big changes in my personal life, for better or for worse, and I worried about what to do with myself.

Work

The majority of the year was spent working in Angular and TypeScript on the refresh of our reading lists project. I enjoy what TypeScript brings to the table, and the developer experience when paired with VS Code really helps build a mental model of what's going on in a project. Angular's love of Observables however… one day I'll sit down and watch this series of videos on RxJS.

During the last three months of the year, I shifted over to work on our Player project and was briefed with improving its accessibility. The biggest component of this was enabling those using assistive technologies to discover content in our OCR'd documents. I feel it's the start of something big.

Speaking

At the start of the year, I'd hoped to practice public speaking a little more. Sadly, my only talk was a 10 minute lightning presentation at Hydrahack in March. I'd like to put that right in 2018 and hone the intro to accessibility basics I gave at Codelicious.

Irish Citizenship

I am no fan of Brexit. I think Britain is shooting itself in the foot; I don't think the Government are doing a particularly good job of putting things in place for March 2019 – nor do I think Labour are any better, or acting as a robust opposition party; I was most aggrieved at the possibility of losing many of the privileges of being part of the EU.

Thankfully I can claim Irish citizenship via my mother, and have thus applied for a passport which should be one way to ensure I at least have the option of freely working or living in one of the other 27 member states.

If you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere. You don't understand what they very word 'citizenship' means."

This statement from May in the autumn of 2016 fucked me right off. As Quartz reports:

May’s attack on global citizenship also took in another swathe of the electorate: the younger generations that have grown up with the internet and the freedom of travel associated with EU membership. They voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU; May’s speech was firmly targeted towards people who voted to leave. The cosmopolitan, outward-looking young might feel more connection to peers elsewhere that to some of their own compatriots but, May’s rhetoric implied, they’re wrong.

Running

In May I ran properly for the first time in five years when I attended my first Parkrun. Prior to that, my last 'race' had been the Birmingham Half-marathon in October 2010 (1:52). I took part in multiple races making up the Warwickshire Road Race league, covering distances from 5km to 10 miles, setting personal bests each time. I signed up to Strava and got hookedobsessed by the Fitness/Freshness graph. (In fact, looking now, having not run since the end of November, it's looking a bit miserable).

I want to get out there again, and get my 10km time down under 40 minutes, and my half-marathon to 1:35 having aimed for 1:40 in 2017.

Yoga

In a bid to improve my flexibility and practice mindfulness, I gave yoga a shot. There was a definite improvement in both, but I also found my core and upper-body strength improving, and I'm performing arm-balances I didn't even consider beforehand. In 2018 I want to nail my handstand and gymnastic balances like the planche.

Travel

I visited France (twice), Spain, and Italy in 2017 – Flaine, Saint-Raphael, Barcelona, and Venice respectively – enjoying the sunshine, culture, and food in each.

There were multiple trips in the UK too – the Gower and Pembrokeshire on separate visits in the sprint, and Devon/Cornwall at the end of summer.

Photography

More foreign trips meant more photos! However, my aim of packing light and using prime lenses made choosing whether to take my 50 or 28mm lens a bit of a headscratcher. I've decided to split the difference and pick up the Zeiss 35mm prime. I'd like to try relying on my iPhone X for a trip, but I'd definitely like to pick up a case/wrist-strap.

Films

I watched a lot of films. In no particular order, my top five were:

  • La La Land
  • Dunkirk
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • The Handmaiden
  • Son of Saul

TV

Lots of great TV split across various subscriptions. I didn't even bother getting an RF-lead for the TV until the autumn.

  • Blue Planet II
  • Stranger Things 2
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • Halt and Catch Fire
  • Catastrophe
  • The Vietnam War

Music

  • SZA: Ctrl
  • The XX: I See You
  • Kelela: Take Me Apart
  • Kendrick Lamar: DAMN
  • Run the Jewels: RtJ 3

I'm positive for 2018. I'm working in a slightly different function at Talis hoping to consolidate our design language across all of our products – not just those I've touched already – as well as improving accessibility and performance for all our customers. I'm particularly excited to see where I can get with authoring a suite of components that have accessibility concerns baked in from the off. If only the HTML imports spec wasn't being cast aside!

Daniel is a front-end developer at Talis, with an interest in accessibility, performance, and web components.