This is, as far as I remember, the first time I’ve ever posted a review of a year to my blog, and that’s probably been because no old year has been as different from the one before it as this one has, and I’ve never expected as much out of the next year as I do out of 2011. Most of it was a lot like 2009 in one important respect — I had hardly any work, and spent most of it drawing the so-called Job Seeker’s Allowance. I spent most of the time on my computer or in town reading the paper over a coffee, and not as much time as I should working on this blog or on QTM, my programming project (or any other). However, there have been some important changes.
I had been interested in disability issues since mid-2009, and had long had friends with one disability or another, but this heightened when I read the story of Lynn Gilderdale in January, after her mother was tried for assisting her suicide. I have told the story many times here and it was widely reported in the British media. For reasons I still can’t quite explain, it had a huge emotional impact on me (part of the story is here) and I remember sitting in Costa and being reminded of her, lying there in pain all those years, every time I was about to swallow any of my coffee. I developed an intense interest in ME and it basically became my cause, and I made a few new friends through it including one quite special one, and it provided a whole host of new blogging material.
As those friends came, another lot went, including someone I had been friends with (online and through IM and Skype conversations) since 2003. This had been building up for some time, in large part due to the escalating Jordan controversy of the previous year and because of the antics of one particular former mutual friend. She cut off contact with me once because of accusations others made about me, and did so again after accusing me of allowing others to question her imaan (faith) when I posted a robust defence of polygamy in Islam. I had expected the post to be controversial, but this was over something I did not even know had happened. I can’t completely protect people who comment from being offended unless there is an obvious insult. With that, my last connection to the Muslim blogging community I’d been part of from 2004 to 2008 was severed.
QTM moved on in its usual fits and starts. I made two releases in the second half of the year. Sadly, I find that Qt’s future is uncertain, as Nokia (the company that now owns it) seems to have backed the wrong horse in the mobile phone market. Trolltech (which originally developed it) had its own Linux mobile and PDA platform called Qtopia, but the smartphone market now seems to be divided between the iPhone and Android, with Symbian (the main mobile target for Qt) being squeezed out. On top of this, KDE on the Linux desktop has lost a lot of ground and I had a letter printed in Linux Format in November in which I said I thought it was dead. Qt is too brilliant to just die, it’s really a joy to program with and it runs fast. Perhaps I should broaden my skills base in that area.
Then in June, my sister had a baby girl. I’m now an uncle, and some of you who know me on Facebook or Twitter have seen the odd picture of her and know what she’s called (which I’m not telling the whole world). Her pregnancy was particularly difficult and there was a month-long series of false starts, but when she did come, it was pretty quick. She also got married in August (to the dad, you’ll be pleased to know) and so I now have a brother-in-law (previously it was just me and my sis).
Two other good things happened this past year. The first was getting to the doctor to get my Asperger’s referral, after holding it off for ages. The second was that some work finally came my way last month — I’m not sure if it’s just a bit of pre-Christmas stuff, but nothing like it happened in 2009 and there were only a few days in December 2008 (and I got the flu and had to tail off). It was sorely needed because I ran into trouble with the benefits people, and it meant doing a lot of the country driving I used to enjoy doing a lot when I was driving. I do hope I can find something a bit more meaningful fairly soon, as well as a bit more secure than agency driving.
Anyway I know it’s a bit late, but it’s near the end of the New Year holiday in the UK (as New Year’s Day was a Saturday, we get an extra bank holiday on the following Monday), so I thought if I didn’t post this now I never would. I never exactly look forward to the new year, but for once I’ve got hopes that this coming year will be different (in a good way) from the old one. I hope that’s the same for my readers.
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- Swype dies unnoticed
- Review: Dispatches, “Inside the Priory”
- Zac Goldsmith, an authority on FGM?