Rick Hurst Web Developer in Bristol, UK


2011 retrospective and plans for 2012

These retrospective posts are annoying aren’t they – kind of like the xmas round-robin letters?! However, I wanted to do one again, because it helps me keep track of things, where i’ve been (and when – it all becomes a blur..). So, as I did with 2009, 2010 and 2011, I wanted to revisit the list from last year and see what happened and what didn’t.


  • Buy a new Bass Guitar and play the hell out of it – I did just that, although it still needs a load more playing. I think initially I started focussing too much on kit and trying to compose and remix stuff and generally ending up stuck in front of a computer, which was something I was trying to avoid! So this is carried over – but with the goal of having a jam or two in a room with actual humans rather than garageband. Not sure i’m ready to commit the time to a gigging band yet, though it certainly appeals..
  • More “work from anywhere” adventures. I worked from a few different places, but in doing so, came to the conclusion that I wish I was just on holiday and could actually spend it with my wife and son and leave my laptop shut! I’m now working full-time at Potato, office-based, which I have to say i’m enjoying, though I get to travel to London fairly regularly, and hopefully other places, so still interested in mobile working tech. I actually plan to merge the content from my seperate mobile working blog into this site
  • More blogging! – including some personal blogging – um.. I think I blogged a bit more – certainly after moving this blog over to eatStatic. I hope to keep this up and improve my output – one thing i’ll be doing is stepping away from the firehose of twitter for a bit again, and try to get my thoughts and opinions down in considered blog posts rather than the rapid-fire train-of-thought (with compromised punctuation!) that twitter encourages.
  • Attend at least one web conference – this nearly didn’t happen until a last minute decision to attend WebDevConf in Bristol, which I enjoyed a lot. I’m happy to say that i’ve got a ticket for new adventures in web design, so this goal will be achieved early in 2012.
  • Get further than “hello world” with Django – I’m certainly further than hello world now! My first few months at Potato were like an intravenous injection of Django, and i’m now proud to introduce myself as a Django developer rather than just a web developer. I’ve still got a lot to learn though, but all new personal projects will likely be Django from now on, rather than PHP.
  • Use and understand some technologies that i’ve been ignoring – as ever, there’s always new stuff on the horizon, but my first goal is to finally learn regular expressions properly, having successfully ignored them for the last decade!
  • More on-site freelancing for agencies – ditched for obvious reasons! I was actually a full-time on-site freelancer for potato before I went full time, so it’s clear that this one worked out for me in 2011.
  • Keep Trading and survive the recession – I achieved that this year, but I guess now this point needs changing to “keep employed”!
  • Launch a web app – In a very low key way I achieved this by making my eatStatic library/ blog engine public this year. However, even though i’m pleased with the way it works, i’m not intending on developing it any further, as i’ve already started on another blog engine for Too Old To Skate using Django, mainly as a learning exercise. I think maybe this goal should be changed to “do not start any more blog engines”? Now i’m out of freelance, 2012 is really going to be all about the work/life balance and not spending evenings with my face stuck in a laptop, but on the other hand I have a few ideas floating around…
  • Relaunch Too Old To Skate – See above. as ever, an ongoing project.
  • Attend at least one BarCamp – Failed. These type of informal events are the ones i’m interested in though – hacknights, barcamps, skillswaps, anything which is run for the fun and community of it rather than profit.


  • Skateboarding! – this isn’t new, but 2011 was the most lax year since I started skating regularly again, so need to get skating while my knees can still take it 😉
  • Learn to touch type – I’ve been saying this for years, but it’s about time I stopped typing with two fingers like someone playing Daley Thompsons Decathlon on a ZX Spectrum..
  • Be more proactive with geek socials – Bristol has a great geek/ design community, but I seem to have completely missed most of the face-to-face stuff recently and want to change that.
  • Practical Skills – growing things, making things, fixing things – not sure exactly what yet but it’s all about the analog at the moment…