My best of 2015: A year in review

By Dann Berg

Published or Updated on

This post originally appeared on Novice No Longer.

Sitting here on New Year’s Eve day, I can’t help but feel reflective (as you can see from the gif). I like to take this time to go over my previous year-end posts (2012, 2013) and craft a new mega-post for this year. These types of posts are mostly for my own use, but I always like to post them publicly just in case any of this information can help you in any way. Oh, the book links are affiliate links. Just a heads up.

This has been a big and eventful year, so let’s just dive right in.

Most viewed blog posts by me

Top video by me

Installing a purchased WordPress Theme

This video became really popular this year, and currently has 11,061 views and 49 comments. It makes me want to create more video content.

Total number of blog posts written


Significantly lower than years past, but I’ve been working a full-time job unrelated to journalism or online business, so I’m not surprised. I definitely want this number to be higher in 2016.

Top fiction books read

  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace I’m actually reading this for a second time. Felt inspired after seeing the movie The End of the Tour. I love this book.
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed I knew I’d like this book, but didn’t realize just how much I’d like it. Highly recommended.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir The characters were terrible_, the writing mediocre, but dammit if it wasn’t a fun and entertaining read. So much better than the movie._

Top non-fiction books read

Favorite recently-released movies (no particular order)

  • It Follows I’m typically not the biggest fan of horror/suspense, but this movie is incredibly well done. Bravo.
  • The End of the Tour I miss David Foster Wallace. :(
  • The Dance of Reality I was excited when I heard that Alejandro Jodorowsky was making a new film. Then I saw it, and was blown away.
  • This is Where I Leave You Shut up, I liked it. Jason Bateman and Tina Fey are so great.
  • Wild Book was way better, obviously, but this was still a great movie.
  • Unfriended Another movie I’m surprised made the list. The gimmick doesn’t feel gimmicky — in fact it makes it more fun to watch.

Favorite TV Shows

Nathan for you, Game of Thrones, The Soup (I’ll miss you), Last Week Tonight, The Last Man on Earth

Gadgets of choice

  • 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro This is my work computer, but it makes the top of my list anyhow. I love this machine.
  • iPad Pro I got this mid-December, but it’s already one my favorite belongings. It’s replaced my personal 2011 13-inch MacBook Air for so many things (but not everything yet).
  • Kindle I use the old model. No touch screen. That way I can move my finger along as I read. It’s better that way.
  • UE Boom 2 This bluetooth speaker is goddamn amazing. Even though it only plays podcasts 99 percent of the time.

Biggest accomplishments

Have an original one act I wrote produced on 42nd Street

In March, a play I wrote called Diary: A One Act Play was produced by The Manhattan Repertory Theatre and Casa de Beverley, and ran for four nights at a theater on 42nd Street in Manhattan. I had an amazing director, incredible actors, and felt so honored to see my work on stage. It’s also captured on film, so you can check it out if you want.

Set up a home server

I’ve been wanting this for a while. I ended up snagging a Lenovo ThinkServer TS140 for sale on ebay, and a Synology DS214se 2-bay NAS. I first got Xen up and running on the server (mostly for practice running the hypervisor) and then installed Plex Media Server running in a VM. Then, I got the NAS up and running, moved over all my media, and got everything shared via NFS. I feel so much more comfortable with Linux and the command line now. Everything’s working wonderfully…at least for now.

Soft launch my Idea to App Online Course

I haven’t done an all-out marketing initiative yet, but my Idea to App Online Course is currently available for purchase! More on this in 2016.

Miscellaneous wins

Last year’s goals for this year

_* I didn’t write an end-of-year post last year, so I’m gonna wing this section_

  • Finish The Non-Programmer’s Guide to Getting an App in the App Store online courseDone.
  • Create a powerful autoresponder series for new newsletter subscribersDone.
  • Do more public speakingDidn’t get a chance to do as much as I wanted. Boo.
  • Exercise regularlyI definitely exercised more_. Now I have to work on_ regularly_._
  • MeditateMissed this goal again.

Plans for 2016

  • Create and release an episodic fiction podcast
  • Complete Apple’s Swift tutorial
  • Publish at least 20 blog posts across both Novice No Longer and
  • Release at least five new tech-related videos and/or tutorials
  • Exercise on a regular schedule
  • Gain enough networking knowledge to start taking on network tickets at work
  • Gain enough systems knowledge to start taking on systems tickets at work

Alright 2016. Let’s do this.

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