It somehow seems appropriate to begin the usual round of “year in review” posts with some of the stuff I enjoyed during 2022.
This was, I think, the year I watched the most video, ever–something I will definitely try to correct next year, since it is too big of a rabbit hole and has gotten in the way of my actually accomplishing stuff.
I blame it partially on my work schedule, which has shifted towards late mornings and evenings, in turn leaving less energy (and time) to pursue other things but passive watching.
But let’s do this again, this time before the year is over…
Severance still takes the crown in terms of sheer impact. I wrote about it earlier and still stand by everything there, since this is just one of those shows that makes an imprint–to the point I had flashbacks when this season of Mythic Quest (which is still quite fun, by the way) depicted brand new white walled office corridors.
After that, The Peripheral was likely the series I enjoyed the most. Despite plenty of criticism, I think I liked it because it took William Gibson’s concept and just ran with it off into a tangent–or, if you prefer sticking to its canon, a “stub”, in fact. Having read the books it was surprising, sure, but definitely entertaining.
It is also very much a production of our age: dystopian future, female hero, anti-hero, villain and ally, a visually pervasive sense of timeless futurism, and, of course, the shadow of The Jackpot, which I strongly believe has already started in our timeline…
Next up, Andor was a close third. Like many people, I think Rogue One was one of the best Star Wars movies ever, and Andor plays to that feeling of a lived in, gritty universe that goes a step beyond what The Mandalorian aimed for before it devolved into futility with Boba Fett and Kenobi, neither of which I remember finishing watching.
And, of course, I quite enjoyed Stranger Things – it has remarkable staying power, and this season had a pretty entertaining plot.
Other than these, I’ve fallen into the habit of having TV evenings with the kids where we watch some of my (occasionally ancient) DVD archives. They’ve quite enjoyed things like Allo Allo, Samurai Jack and, amazingly enough, Yes Minister1, among other stuff.
I still have a sizable backlog of movies from last year, since going to the theatre is now very much a thing of the “before times”. So, before you ask, I didn’t watch Top Gun. Heck, I haven’t even watched The Matrix Ressurections yet…
But we did watch a few things here and there. Lightyear easily takes the cake here, because it was so crammed with nice little Easter Eggs (and a major plot twist) that it made its little side trip into Pixar’s increasingly grown up world so much fun, and seems well worthy of becoming a new franchise. I can’t wait for Zurg’s comeback.
Everything Everywhere All at Once came out of left field and was pretty amazing, but somehow I enjoyed Three Thousand Years of Longing a bit more–it’s flawed, but original in its own way.
As to the usual superhero fare Dr. Strange was infinitely better than the inanity of Thor. I honestly don’t get why they let Taika Waititi get away with this (not that I expected the movie to be… serious in any way, but it was just too dumb to be fun). I have Black Adam queued up on HBO to watch over the holidays and I completely expect it to top either, which given its ratings is quite telling.
Yes, well, it’s become a habit too, despite my stated intent of weaning myself out of it back in January.
Like many geeks on the planet I watch LTT and a variety of PC hardware/gaming channels, but the ones I actively seek out these days are mostly related to 3D printing and other Maker activities:
- In the Maker space, Zack Freedman is the kind of quirky, quintessentially geeky hardware hacker that pulls the kind of oddball creative stunts I love (and the creator of Gridfinity, which I use extensively).
- Ivan Miranda is probably the next most entertaining, due to the sheer scale of his projects and his enthusiasm.
- Thomas Sanladerer and CNC Kitchen rise above the dozens of 3D printer channels by going into the techniques and rationale at length (I also follow lots of 3D printer channels that focus almost exclusively on reviews and modding, but I’ll spare you those).
- Jeff Geerling and Andreas Spiess sort of book-end the spectrum of single-board computers and electronics I’m particularly interested in (most of the IoT and home automation channels are… boring and shallow by comparison).
Then there’s music, game development, and a choice bit of gadgetry:
- Floyd Steinberg and Charles Cornell are also good examples of the spectrum of music-related stuff I’m interested in (from custom synths to music theory with actual fun examples).
- Stimming’s latest series is a great example of why I’ll watch or listen to anything he does.
- Benn Jordan is surprisingly great–I’ll just leave it at that, you go watch and let it sink in.
- Jakob Haq is definitely the one to go for if you care about music on iOS in any way.
- Loopop is the gold standard for music gadgetry reviews, and I have to avoid watching it to avoid gear acquisition syndrome.
- The Linux Experiment turned out to be a quite entertaining way to expose my kids to the ecosystem, and Nick has a good sense of humor.
- Sebastian Lague posts amazing stuff about game development that me and my kids quite enjoy, and David R.B. has been posting live updates on his development of Arcadian Rift that provide a lot of background on what game development is really like these days (also something we all enjoy here).
- Michael Fisher takes me back to when I was a mobile product manager, and his reviews have amazing production value. My hat’s off to you, sir.
And, finally, noclip runs very, very good documentaries about the history of some gaming franchises (some harking back to the 8-bit days).
In fact, one of the best reasons I spend a fair chunk of time on YouTube turns out to be indie documentaries, which have been steadily increasing in quality and production value over the years–so it’s definitely not all influencer fodder.
I probably game a couple of hours or so a week at most, and I must say it’s become mostly casual. Besides some classic arcade emulation, I have been enjoying Dead Cells, and pop into xCloud every few days to quite literally sample the catalog–I just don’t have the time for prolonged gaming sessions.
That time goes up and down as I mix up some indoors exercise with Beat Saber, Pistol Whip and similar games on the Quest, but not by much since my work schedule has been making it hard do do any form of exercise during the day, and I don’t really think of those as gaming–they are definitely something I enjoy doing and wish I could do more, but VR is still very much a separate state of mind for me.
As far as triple-A gaming goes, I’d say that other while on vacation it is a rainy day occupation, at best. I haven’t finished Control or Halo Infinite yet. In fact, as I noted recently, I find Halo Infinite’s final section to be somewhat gratuituous and utterly boring. It was ultimately so frustrating I just went and started replaying the open world section again.
Since I now work in telco again, I spent a lot of time reading various technical tomes regarding 5G “advancements”.
Which, to be blunt, turned out to be mostly rationalizations of why earlier 3GPP releases were dismal failures at adopting mainstream technology, and a lot of over-engineered explanations as to how virtualization, Kubernetes and IP SDNs are eating traditional vendors’ lunches.
The only really interesting bits where I learned completely new stuff were, as usual, about the radio layer–everything else is just obfuscation of things that anyone in the ISP and cloud-native spaces have taken for granted for a few years now.
Oh, and the Programming Rust book, for which unfortunately I have no immediate professional use.
Sadly, none of the non-technical books I read this year really stuck with me. I did make a stab at going through Charles Stross’ and John Scalzi’s latest oeuvres (and I found The Kaiju Preservation Society to be quite entertaining), but my search for brainier books sort of fizzed out and I ended up wasting time on pop sci-fi instead to take my mind off things.
Again, I intend to make up for that next year. We’ll see how that goes…
It is always fun–and perhaps essential–to educate your offspring in the machinations of government, especially when they’re so masterfully portrayed. ↩︎