New Year (2022)

Somehow 2021 seemed to both drag on and fly by at the same time. It felt like it was going on for far too long until suddenly it was December. The year certainly wasn’t terrible for me, many people had it a lot worse, so I’m not going to complain about anything. Instead I’ll keep my annual post simple: I hope you’ve made it through the last twelve months without too much trauma, but for those who have suffered I hope for a better 2022.

New Year (2021)

Well… that was a year to remember.

Or at least bits of it were. For many it will be looked back on in sadness for those who have been lost, often unnecessarily. For those of who have been more fortunate it was a year of wasted opportunities.

I have been one of the fortunate. I have not been ill, nor has anyone in my immediate family. I have friends and relatives who have suffered with COVID-19 but as far as I know all have recovered or are recovering. There is still a long way to go, however, and I will not be complacent.

Work-wise, the company that I co-own, TetraLogical, has gone from strength to strength. We started the year as two people and have ended it as six. This is beyond my wildest expectations and we go into 2021 feeling good about the year to come.

My biggest achievement in 2019 was my lifestyle correction and I’m pleased to say that I’ve maintained this through 2020. At the start of the year I was training five days a week and I’ve increased that to six days with a slightly different split. A few days before the first UK lockdown I achieved a deadlift personal best of 155kg and I’ve since set a bench press personal best of 100kg. I’ve consistently weighed around 90kg for most of the year and although I didn’t achieve the body fat percentage that I was hoping for I’m feeling fit and healthy. This year I’ve set myself goals of a 200kg deadlift and a 125kg bench press. I’m not sure how close I’ll get to this, but I’ve got a shot providing I can get back to a fully equipped gym sometime. I’m going to try again to reduce my body fat percentage and to do that I’m going to need to do a lot more cardio. That’s a big ask in miserable weather (it’s either too hot or too cold for me here!) but as vaccines are rolled out and it’s safe to get back in to the gym I won’t have any excuses.

There’s more I could add to this but I’m going to keep things simple for today. Maybe I’ll write more another day. Probably not, though…

I don’t know how realistic it is to wish anyone a happy new year for 2021, but I will at least hope for a better year for everyone.

New Year (2020)

It’s the time of year for my annual blog post – except this year I will be writing two, yes two, posts on one day!

It’s been quite a year for everyone so I’m not going to talk about how awful the national and global political situations are or any other minor problems in my life. Instead I’ll try to be positive.

Professionally there have been big changes. I’m now co-owner and co-director of TetraLogical, a small company focused on inclusive design and accessibility. It’s exciting and terrifying in equal measure!

I started the year by giving myself time to spend one day a month reading a book from cover to cover. This lasted for five months and was always a little moment of peace. I started to find this more and more difficult, and even found it stressful to fit this is. Sometimes what starts as a pleasure can become a burden when it is adopted too rigidly, so while I’d like to get back in to this habit I will be less strict about when it happens – if I skip a month, so be it.

I also find that I’m giving too much of my money for books to companies that, frankly, don’t need it and arguably don’t deserve it. In 2020 I aim to buy and read at least one book per month (on average) from an independent bricks and mortar bookshop.

I haven’t been traveling much over the last twelve months, but the locations I visited have been new for me. Speaking opportunities at Funka Accessibility Days and CSS-Minsk-JS added Stockholm, Sweden and Minsk, Belarus to the list of countries and cities I’ve been to. I’m already planning at least one and possibly two trips to Stockholm in 2020.

Anyone who has known me well for a while or has read a few of these yearly posts might know about my ongoing struggle with my weight. In that I have some rather good news and I’ve decided to write about my lifestyle correction separately.

And with that I’ll close by wishing everyone a good 2020. Things might look quite bleak right now but I’m trying to hope for the best.

New Year (2019)

In 2018 I failed to lose weight, practice violin, spend less money on things I don’t need, or much else that I started the year intending to do.

I did watch Solo: A Star Wars Story (more than once), though. It did not ruin my childhood, make me boycott the franchise, or any of the other hysterical things some people apparently do because women and / or non-white people appear in films (see Doctor Who for further examples). I actually rather enjoyed it.

Anyway, not the most successful year for actually getting anything done but I’m still fairly optimistic. I’ve managed to end the year with some good habits (for fitness, writing, and learning) that I think will serve me quite well and I have a few ideas about how I want to adapt my career that will give me lots of interesting things to study.

As usual, this regular post exists mostly as a reminder to myself but if anyone else actually reads it I hope you have had a good 2018 and have a better 2019.

New Year (2018)

Another year, another blog post; more than one each year would be extravagant, right? Once again I’ve not published anything on this site since the first day of the last year. Will I do any better this year? Probably not, but you never know.

I’ve not much to say about the year gone by. I travelled more than usual (or at least spent more time in aeroplanes), spent more time with family than usual, went on more dog walks than usual. But otherwise nothing particularly significant happened. Not a bad year, but just another year.

Instead of New Year Resolutions, last year I set myself some forfeits and rewards for certain actions.

First, I needed to lose weight. To that end I decided to avoid takeaway meals eaten alone; eating with other people was OK as the presence of other people stops me overeating to an extreme degree. My forfeit / rewards was:

I pledge to match any spending on takeaways that I eat alone in charitable donations. Because I want to donate some money I need a reward – if I manage to go the full year without any takeaways alone I will donate £1000.

Mission accomplished! I didn’t have a single takeaway meal on my own, so I will be donation £1000 to a charity to be determined. The downside is that I probably still managed to end the year heavier than I started, so I need to try something else.

By the end of 2018 I will reduce my weight to 100kg or lower. I’ve not decided what my forfeit will be yet, but it needs to be something fairly extreme. I have decided an intermediate goal and a consequence for missing the target by a long way. I can’t see the next Star Wars film until I’ve reached a weight of 115kg or below. I won’t say what the consequence will be if at the end of the year I am still above 115kg, but it is definitely something I don’t want; if you know me personally feel free to ask.

I also wanted to reduce the amount of unnecessary spending on things that I don’t really need. The forfeit for this was:

10% of my spending in this category will be donated to charities.

I don’t think I bought much less than any other year, unfortunately, but at least it will add to the £1000 that I’m already committed to donating. I’ve yet to work out the total yet, but I’m sure it’ll come to several hundred pounds. Although I failed I do like this idea, so I’m going to do it again this year.

I passed my grade 3 violin examination, but for a variety of reasons the regularity of my playing has dropped off significantly. I still want to play, but I’m not currently working towards grade 4.

Outside of work, I didn’t set up any mentoring. However it’s still something I want to do, and I know other people who have expressed an interest in doing the same, so maybe this year…

All that remains is to wish you all a happy 2018.

New Year (2017)

I started doing New Year posts back in 2010, and despite my highly irregular and low volume of blogging I’ve published every January 1st since then.

Until last year.

At the start of 2015 I challenged myself to blog once a month for the year. It’s not the first time I’ve set similar challenges, and having failed all previous attempts it should come as no surprise that I failed once again. This time was a bit different though. I wrote a blog post titled Setting an example, that covered some of my views on example code, and the level of quality that needs to be considered to avoid propagation of accessibility, security, and performance. One of the comments I received for this post was so mean-spirited that I really lost interest. I plan to address this some time in the future. After that I blogged twice more in 2015, about a change in job, but otherwise my Writing Resolution failed at the first hurdle.

Because of this I’ll cover a few things in 2015 as well as 2016, but mostly I want to look forward to 2017.


Highlight of the year was becoming an Uncle for the second time. My sister gave birth to Sophie Joy in June of 2015.

In this year I also left the BBC and started work at The Paciello Group. While I’ll always have fond memories of my time at the BBC, and will be grateful of the opportunities I was given there, I’ve been very happy working with the wonderful people at TPG and I’m look forward to 2017 with the company.


Other than the trauma of political upheaval, the rise of fascism, and the deaths of so many creative and pioneering people, 2016 was a rather simple year for me.

Life has mainly revolved around work, but I’ve also continued playing violin, have played quite a lot of Dungeons & Dragons (yeah, I’m a nerd), and watched new Star Wars films numerous times.

My weight has finally translated in to a minor (and correctable) health issue, and this has so far been the motivation I’ve needed to do something about it in a sustainable way.


Resolutions and me don’t get on very well, so I’ll try forfeits and rewards instead.

As in 2016, I need to continue to lose weight. One of my biggest temptations is to order takeaway instead of cooking, and I always over order. I pledge to match any spending on takeaways that I eat alone in charitable donations. Because I want to donate some money I need a reward – if I manage to go the full year without any takeaways alone I will donate £1000.

I’d like to reduce my spending on unnecessary purchasing of gadgets and gizmos. My small flat is cluttered with things I really don’t need. It’s not that I want to live a life without cool toys, but I want to have a better balance and to reduce my impulse buys. 10% of my spending in this category will be donated to charities. I’ll use my best judgement as to what offers genuine benefit versus nice-to-have buy unnecessary things.

In the same vein, I spend most of my money with large retailers. The convenience of Amazon is hard to resist. I plan to buy a lot more from independent retailers, particularly books. Bookshops need our support, so I intend to give mine.

For a variety of reasons I missed my last violin grading. In 2017 I will take (and pass!) grade 3, and will work towards the grade 4 exam at the end of the year. This one doesn’t need a forfeit or a reward, I play for my own satisfaction.

I’m not going to make a resolution to blog more, but I do have a few things I’d like to write, both here and on the TPG blog. Hopefully this post ends the drought, but don’t expect too much!

Inspired by Heydon and people offering their time over the holiday period, I plan to give some of my time to mentoring in 2017. I’ve not worked out the details, but I’ll post again when I’ve figured it out.

I hope you have a very happy 2017.

The Paciello Group

So, what’s next for me after leaving the BBC? I’m very pleased to be joining The Paciello Group as a Senior Accessibility Engineer.

Among several reasons for joining TPG is the opportunity to work with many of the best people in the field of accessibility, including my former BBC teammate Henny Swan.

I’m hoping to be able to learn huge amounts from my new colleagues, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to some interesting projects over the next few months.

Farewell BBC

Today was my last day as an employee of the British Broadcasting Corporation

I started working there on the 24th January 2011 and for 2 years 2 months and 1 week I worked with the team that at the time was responsible for most of the client side framework at the BBC. There were personnel changes along the way, but it was always one of the most talented teams I’ve worked on, and where I feel I’ve done some of my best development work to date.

After that I was given the fantastic opportunity to join the Accessibility team for a 1 year attachment. That year has turned in to 2 years and 3 months, and a new career working in the field of accessibility full time. For that I must give thanks to Gareth Ford Williams and Henny Swan who gave me a chance.

I may be leaving but I’m still proud of the BBC.

Writing Resolution

Or should that be, in honour of Sir William Curtis, ‘Riting Resolution’?

I’ve neglected this blog in the last 12 months and I’d like to change that. I’ve said the same thing in previous years of course, and it hasn’t really worked out before so why should this year be any different? Well, I had an idea of listing up front what I’m going to write about.

My goal is to write something at least once a month, and to put a bit of pressure on myself I’m going to list what it’s going to be about ahead of time. In the case of the first three months I’m going to put those subjects right here in this blogpost:

  1. January – the problem with examples
  2. February – accessible web design
  3. March – being an introvert

Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions about what else I can write about for the remaining nine months. And please remind me if I’ve got a deadline coming up.

New Year (2015)

Warning: this isn’t going to be a cheerful look back on 2014. I’ve struggled with a general malaise that has affected almost everything I’ve done. There is a good reason for this but I am hoping that I can start to get my life back together.

I’ve broken promises that I’ve made in good faith, and this bothers me more than anything else. If I’ve said I’d do something for you and haven’t in the passed year, or have behaved badly towards you I can only apologise. I will try to make 2015 the year I put things right.


For the last 13 months it has taken an effort of will to get enthusiastic about anything. Walking out of the front door of my flat has been a chore. Nights out, music festivals, and concerts have been just another thing I have to do even if I end up enjoy them. Practicing violin, something I used to do almost every day, has been something I’ve had to force myself to do even though I finding it relaxing. At work, especially at the start of the year, I have been brusque and uncivil at times.

I miss my Dad but he wouldn’t want me to behave like this. That should be all the motivation I need to fix things.


Work has been hectic, frustrating, and rewarding. It can be hard to accept that you can’t help everyone, and in fact sometimes the best way to improve accessibility at a large organisation is to step back a bit. It’s better to provide guidance than to take over, although it’s very tempting to dive in and do everything for people (especially when they are more than happy for you to do so) instead of providing support but ultimately giving them responsibility.

In August Henny Swan left the BBC, a huge loss to our team both professionally and personally. We’ve since been joined by Jamie Knight, who is doing a great job kicking off a major piece of work that we hope will change the way we handle web accessibility at the BBC.

Next year should see an increase in work on a project that I am very excited about, and that I will hopefully be able to talk about (and perhaps even show something) at CSUN 2015.


I started the year at my lowest weight for about 10 years. I’ve ended it at somewhere close to my highest ever. For the first time I’ve felt the effects of my obesity, nothing serious yet, but a general lack of wellbeing.

I’m at a stage when I need to lose weight, I need to get fitter, when before it had always been just a good idea. As this is a problem that is more psychological than physical it’s hard to know how to change things for the better.

I’d like to ask anyone who cares and is willing to call me out on my over eating and under exercising over the next year if they see things going in the wrong direction. I won’t be offended, I won’t be upset. You’ll be doing me a favour.

Final thoughts

These annual posts are primarily for my benefit, with a readership of between zero and few, but I feel the need to make a record on the first day of each year.

Regardless of how this last year has been, I am lucky to have a loving family, friends who care about me, and as much security in work and shelter as any of us do.

I’m not a believer in New Year Resolutions, but today is as good a day as any to start making my life a better one. Hopefully next years post will be a more positive one.