Hi! It's me, Joris.

It looks like I've linked you here myself. Linking people to a blogpost I wrote is often a bit akward, especially at work.

I likely shared this blog in an attempt to further a conversation. Usually the post does a better job at succinctly sharing information than I could by talking.

In any case, I hope me sharing this post doesn't come across as humblebragging, that's really the opposite of what I'm trying to achieve.

Thanks for reading!

2021 Project Highlights
5 min read

A year in review

After last year’s edition, I thought I’d also write an overview post of my 2021 side projects. It’s been quite a year again!

Family +1 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

I can’t start a yearly review without a mention of my son being born mid-August, a big life milestone and “project” on its own.

While we’re still finding a new balance with 2 kids (they can be a lot of work!) and everything else (work, friends/family, hobbies, exercise, etc); the amount of joy and happiness the kids bring on a daily basis compares to nothing else. Can recommend.

Mini Sauna

After a few years of pondering, I finally decided to build a small infrared sauna from scratch. This was without a doubt the biggest project I did in 2021. I wrote a lengthy blogpost with all the details, and a separate post on how I added home automation to it. I love this thing, it gets used every week.

My infrared sauna.
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My infrared sauna.

Inside view of the sauna.
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Inside view of the sauna.

Smart controls for the sauna (controlled via tablet or smartphone).
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Smart controls for the sauna (controlled via tablet or smartphone).

Learning Tower

My toddler daughter loves to help out in the kitchen. To help her see and participate better, I decided to build her a learning tower: a wooden (MDF) stool on locking casters, with the right dimensions for our home (easily stowable). She absolutely adores this thing - it’s used several times a week. This small project was a far bigger success than I could’ve imagined.

Building the learning tower.
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Building the learning tower.

My daughter using the it (first iteration).
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My daughter using the it (first iteration).

Final result, with cutouts and all painted.

Welding

In 2020, I welded for the first time. This past year I upgraded my cheap flux-core welding machine to a “real” MIG/MAG welding machine that works with proper shielding gas. The difference is pretty huge: I can now weld thicker metal and the entire process is easier and makes for much better results.

Welding ticks a lot of boxes for me: it’s a very hands-on activity, has the right level of skill challenge, and pushes the edge of what I’m comfortable with when it comes to power tools. Overall, it’s something I thoroughly enjoy (and recommend!) - I’m definitely hoping to do a few more (small) welding projects in 2022.

My new welding machine. It supports multiple welding proceses: MIG/MAG, stick and TIG. I’ve yet to try stick and TIG!
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My new welding machine. It supports multiple welding proceses: MIG/MAG, stick and TIG. I’ve yet to try stick and TIG!

Laser Cutter

Ever since buying my first 3D printer, my interest in all types of CNC devices has increased significantly. I think this is in part because CNC devices allow me to cheat and use a computer to offset my pretty poor arts & crafts skills. While it’s not quite within reach yet to purchase a CNC mill (because money, space, skill), this year I did buy a hobby CNC laser cutter/engraver and used it to make a few things.

Laser cutting setup - outside, because laser cutting produces nasty fumes!
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Laser cutting setup - outside, because laser cutting produces nasty fumes!

Laser cutting experiments
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Laser cutting experiments

A lasercut dream catcher ornament I made for my son’s birth.
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A lasercut dream catcher ornament I made for my son’s birth.

I bought the [Ortur Laster Master 2 Pro](https://ortur.net/products/laser-master-2-pro), pretty much on a whim after watching an excellent [video review from Electronoobs](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAAz0SjmknM).
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I bought the Ortur Laster Master 2 Pro, pretty much on a whim after watching an excellent video review from Electronoobs.

Kid Car

In late summer 2020, I decided I wanted to build a small go kart for my kids to ride in. I chose this project not so much for the targeted outcome, but mostly for the things I could learn along the way. While I made some progress this year, this has definitely been a slow project. I’m hoping to make a bit more progress in 2022.

Gitlint

Gitlint is an open-source tool I maintain that allows users to enforce style rules on their git commit messages. It has had another successful year with significant growth, recently passing the 500 star milestone on github 🤯. Highlights include 3 releases, finding a co-maintainer and a noticable increase of community participation. I wrote about my experience maintaining gitlint last year.

Gitlint's popularity continues to increase!
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Gitlint’s popularity continues to increase!

Finally also got around to updating the screenshot in the README :-)
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Finally also got around to updating the screenshot in the README :-)

Home Automation

I tend to work on my home automation setup in waves: I work on it as my main project for a few weeks and then move on to other things for a while before returning a few months later. In the fall of this year, I hit another home automation “high” and ended up changing a lot of things in my setup. My Smart Home 2021 blogpost contains all the details.

In early 2021, I added [automated curtains](https://github.com/jorisroovers/casa/tree/master/projects/curtain-opener) in the office.
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In early 2021, I added automated curtains in the office.

Home Assistant dashboard running on a wall-mounted iPad.

Blog

2021 marked my second full year of blogging (started late 2019). I’m quite pleased that I was able to keep up my targeted monthly post frequency. This does require a lot of consistent effort - about an hour on every weekend day, with occasional additional effort in between - but I’m convinced that blogging is something that is good for me.

Here’s an overview of my 2021 blogposts:

  • July: The Reasons I write
  • August: Project Mini Sauna
  • September: My son was born, I skipped!
  • October: My Smart Sauna
  • November: We're All Imposters
  • December: My Smart Home 2021
  • Reading

    When it comes to reading books, 2021 was the most productive year I’ve ever had, finishing 14 (audio)books. For someone who used to only read 2-3 books a year, that’s a pretty massive change. For the full list, I’d refer to my Goodreads profile. My Top Media Picks 2021 blogpost has a bunch more media recommendations.

    I especially liked the audiobook version of **Ready Player One** by **Ernest Cline**, expertly narrated by [Wil Weathon](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wil_Wheaton).
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    I especially liked the audiobook version of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, expertly narrated by Wil Weathon.

    **Project Hail Mary** was another favorite this year. Written by **Andy Weir**, author of **The Martian**. This book is as good.
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    Project Hail Mary was another favorite this year. Written by Andy Weir, author of The Martian. This book is as good.

    **Why We Sleep** by **Matthew Walker** is probably the most impactful I read this year. I even wrote a [blogpost](/posts/why-we-sleep) about it!
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    Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is probably the most impactful I read this year. I even wrote a blogpost about it!

    This year I read 2 books by the popular **Malcom Gladwell**. **Talking to Strangers** was particularly poignant. This is a book that you *have* to listen to instead of reading, it was especially created for that format.
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    This year I read 2 books by the popular Malcom Gladwell. Talking to Strangers was particularly poignant. This is a book that you have to listen to instead of reading, it was especially created for that format.

    **Range** by **David Epstein** outlines how specialization is not the only (or best) way to become successful. Great read!
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    Range by David Epstein outlines how specialization is not the only (or best) way to become successful. Great read!

    **How To Avoid a Climate Disaster**, written by **Bill Gates** himself is not a *gloom and doom* book about Climate change. Instead, it describes the technology we need to get to a zero carbon emission society - interesting stuff.
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    How To Avoid a Climate Disaster, written by Bill Gates himself is not a gloom and doom book about Climate change. Instead, it describes the technology we need to get to a zero carbon emission society - interesting stuff.

    And more…

    Visiting Spa Francorchamps.
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    Visiting Spa Francorchamps.

    When I looking back, I’m always amazed at how much stuff happens in a year’s time. Between a busy day job, our now larger family and an ongoing pandemic, 2022 looks to be busier than ever. Yet, the prospect of working on more side-projects and hobbies puts a big smile on my face - let’s go 🚀