Simon Harriyott

A year in the life of a tech blogger

This year's been a good one. Here are the technical highlights*.


I hosted my fourth Sussex geek dinner in Uckfield.


Went to a London geek dinner, and won a trip to South by South West in Austin, Texas. Thanks again to Paul Boag, who pulled my name out of the hat.


Won a copy of Andy Budd's CSS Mastery. Great book, and saved me loads of time.

Went to SxSW. Had the most amazing time. Met some wonderful new people. learnt a whole load of useful (and useless) things. Got to explore somewhere I'd never been before. Went the furthest north, south and west I'd ever been on a single plane ride. Saw icebergs. Had fun with the word "plectrum". Met a couple of my heroes. Got inspired.

I also submitted a session proposal to speak at the third Developer Day (DDD), on the subject of MSBuild. My session wasn't voted for.


My name and blog url appeared in the appendix of Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's book, Naked Conversations. I was deliriously excited by this.


I bought a tablet PC. This has changed my life, and my family's lives too. My children use it to draw pictures, surf the web, learn how to write and play games. I use it to blog in bed, write code on the train, take notes in conferences and to allow Julia to get online while I'm coding.


Went to Developer Day 3, a free event held at Microsoft in Reading on a Saturday. Learnt some interesting things, met some new people, and got to know some other people better. Gave my tablet PC its first outing.

Tried out Second Life to see what the fuss was all about. I can see what the fuss is all about, but other that a quick poke about with the API, I decided to leave it alone.


Went to a London Geek Dinner where Chris Anderson was the special guest.

Got a big spike in traffic after my SQL Server tips page got dugg, del.icio.used and meneamed (Spanish digg-like site) at the same time. Funny thing is, I didn't even write it!

Traffic Spike


I received my first cheque for $100 from Google Adsense, after about 18 months of having adverts on my site.


Went to two VBUG evening meetings, both about security.


Hosted a Sussex Geek Dinner in Brighton. It seems that there are many more geeks in Brighton than in Uckfield.


As it went down so well, I hosted another Sussex Geek Dinner in Brighton. These seem to be taking off now.

Started a new project with a complete stranger. I still haven't met him, but we exchange emails regularly, and think along similar lines.

Got the Ruby on Rails book as a birthday present, and have started learning how to use it. I absolutely love it, and I have another project brewing, which I'll start once I've finished the book.

Bought a cheap mp3 player on eBay to listen to podcasts to and from work. Scott Hanselman may not be as funny as Chris Moyles, but he's cleverer and doesn't play chart music.


He was so impressed with mine, that my Father-in-law bought his own tablet PC. He's a pastor, and can prepare his sermons on it without having to learn to type.

Went to the fourth Developer Day. They keep getting better. Again, I learnt some new things, and met some new people. The geek dinner afterwards was really good.

Things I've started to learn about this year


  1. Ruby on Rails
  2. Microformats
  3. Web Accessibility
  4. GreaseMonkey
  5. Windows Installer
  6. .NET Datasets
  7. PHP
  8. MySQL
  9. Xml Serialization
  10. Second Life API
  11. WinForms Threading
  12. PowerShell


Technical people I've met this year

I've met loads of fabulous, clever, funny, inspirational, famous and interesting people this year. Here's a list of those that I remember right now. Some I've chatted too briefly and I'll never see again, some I'll email occasionally, some I'll bump into regularly, and one or two have become friends.

  1. Sven Latham
  2. Simon Middlemiss
  3. Mark Nurse
  4. Dominic Mitchell
  5. David Stone
  6. Clive Walker
  7. Julian Blundell
  8. Geoff Adams
  9. David Child
  10. Dave Verwer
  11. Ian Cooper
  12. Toby Henderson
  13. Sarah Forrester
  14. Geoff Weekes
  15. Steve Bissonette
  16. Molly Holzschlag
  17. Jeremy Keith
  18. Eric Haugo
  19. Paul Boag
  20. Steve Marshall
  21. Jim King
  22. Robert Scoble
  23. Mick Court
  24. Joel Spolsky
  25. Lars Ploughman
  26. Diana Danka
  27. Thomas Kurz
  28. Derek Woodgate
  29. Blake Stephenson
  30. J. Scott Johnson
  31. Ben Folk-Rittenhouse
  32. Marc Canter
  33. Jen Dixon
  34. Tom Coady
  35. Neil Ford
  36. Sam Judson
  37. Gareth Rodger
  38. Anthony Steele
  39. Andy Budd
  40. Ewan Spence
  41. Holland Hofma Brown
  42. Jeff Casimir
  43. Julie Hamwood
  44. Brandon Silverstein
  45. Miguel Escobedo
  46. Simon Fryer
  47. Zi Makki
  48. Dave Seah
  49. Amy Kugali
  50. Ted Rheingold
  51. Scott Becker
  52. David Olimpio
  53. Aaron Gustafson
  54. Elliot Quinn
  55. Craig Murphy
  56. Walid Al Saqqaf
  57. Sokratis Papafloratos
  58. Christoph Burgdorfer
  59. Justin Butler
  60. Ian Finlayson
  61. Wright Sullivan
  62. Kathy Sierra
  63. Jason Whitmore
  64. Christopher Pollard
  65. Kaliya Hamlin
  66. Daniel Moth
  67. David Thompson
  68. Stuart Colville
  69. Matt Taylor
  70. Robert Schifreen
  71. Caz Mockett
  72. Christian Mitchell
  73. Paul Fisher
  74. Tom Morris
  75. Ben Lobo
  76. Danny Hope
  77. Tristan Roddis
  78. Jay Caines-Gooby
  79. Ben Metcalfe
  80. David Oliver
  81. Liam Westley
  82. Ryan the American
  83. Colin Mackay
  84. Ed Gibson
  85. Dave McMahon

* There have been non-technical highlights too, but that's for a different sort of blog.

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29 December 2006