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2020 in review: Technology

Thoughts on a few disparate things that summarise my year with technology.

Apple Watches and lockdown cardio

The Apple health ecosystem is impressive. I bought an Apple watch to help rebalance my exercise habits after I put on a lot of weight towards the end of the first lockdown. I chubbed up real good.

The watch really works as a motivational tool for me. Having it remind you to move and keep you honest about how much (or how little) movement is part of your day is powerful. No fooling it. Having the watch has massively beefed up the amount of cardiovascular exercise I do and it's led me rediscover how much I love running. More on that in a bit.

Having the watch plugged into the Health app on my phone has allowed me to keep an eye on the graphs and see that I've managed to reduce my resting heart rate by 5 beats-per-minute this year. Not sure that would have happened without the watch.

Runkeeper Go and staying injury free

After doing a lot of biking during lockdown I eventually decided to give running a go again. I always loved running but I struggle with leg injuries every time I ramp up the length and intensity. Always too eager.

Enter Runkeeper Go's guided workouts. Having someone coaching you though your runs and having them gradually taper up the intensity and duration of them has massively helped me. My habits in the past always mean I end up ramping up the intensity too fast, get injured, and limp back home, and get angry at myself. Runkeeper Go has managed to get me out the door and back home injury free for the last month or so by tempering my reflex to sprint before my body's ready for it. Highly recommended.

CSS Grid

I've converted to using grid. It is exceptional, for two reasons.

One: it's reduced the amount of time I spend debugging layouts (normally because of knock-on issues related to my overuse of floats).

Two: the way you express grid layouts is very intuitive.

You know a technology is good when it easily pushes out habits that have been ingrained in you for over a decade. My colleagues will tell you that I overuse floats, but no more. Grid me up.


At ReedPop we've gone all-in on the Django framework. Its powerful ORM makes it perfect for our kind of projects. We've moved 8 sites over to it, with more to come next year. Quite a trial by fire.

Going all-in like has meant having to learn its concepts and subtleties quickly, but it's good that we have a plan to migrate our legacy sites from PHP 5 to something slightly more modern. Not that I'm doing much programming myself these days with my new role.

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