2022 was the first year I was finally free from the corporate shackles and ready to work on whatever the hell I wanted. What did I do with my newfound “free” time? Let’s see...
Well, it appears that I’m officially at the age where deaths in the family are not uncommon.
This year we pay tribute to my father’s wife, Mary Kay, who passed away in August, after a long and delibitating struggle with chronic illness and pain. I still remember their wedding in 2002, and the 20 years of happiness they brought to each others’ lives. The final few years were tough on both of them, so my hope is for peace and healing as time moves on.
I started off this year by focusing on my long-term goal of scanning all 6000+ of my JPEGView postcards. This effort involved some programming to put together the workflow, but mostly ended up being web development and a lot of physical shuffling and dealing with scanners. More on that below.
The vast bulk of my 2022 was spent developing and releasing my new emulator DREAMM, which is a specialized emulator that can run the PC versions of the LucasArts adventure games. This project came about because someone asked me about my old LucasArts SCUMM game ports to Windows, and I realized I was still salty about how that all shook out.
Determined to produce something new and better, I came up with the idea of a bespoke system that presented a simple, easy-to-use interface on top of an emulator optimized to run the games. It was a great excuse to write a new 80x86 emulator plus leverge lots of other experience and code I had previously written.
What started as a simple 16-bit DOS emulator eventually blossomed into a full 32-bit combo DOS/Windows/FM-Towns emulator by the time of its first release in early July. At that point I was proudly able to say that DREAMM supported the full SCUMM catalog, from Maniac Mansion to The Curse of Monkey Island, including the unique FM-Towns releases as well.
But even after 1.0 was out, I was still brimming with ideas, and got to work almost immediately on version 2.0, which will have a pretty significant number of new features. I’ve rewritten the UI and game experience on top of SDL, which gives me MacOS and Linux support. I have expanded game support to include the GRiME engine games (Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island), as well as some non-SCUMM LucasArts games like Dark Forces and the X-Wing and Rebel Assault series. And I’ve created optimized 80x86 emulation cores in native x64 and ARM assembly, giving a 40-60% speed boost.
Though I had hoped to have 2.0 out before the end of the year, it looks like it will be early 2023 before it’s officially released. If you’re interested in giving it a try, email me at email@example.com.
This year singing went pretty well. I continued to sing regularly at church each week and got to sing a couple of solos/duets. The only other regular tenor left the area at the end of the year, so in recent weeks I’ve been belting it out mostly solo in the tenor section.
We were able to return to a normal summer schedule and put together the Summer Fling Singers 2022 Concert New World Polyphony, which was a fascinating journey through early choral music from North America. At this point, I’ve managed to exhaust the supply of directors I personally know, so for next year I’ll either have to identify a coach I’m not already familiar with, or start bringing back folks we’ve already worked with.
I also decided to officially throw in with the Sine Nomine Renaissance Choir this year, in large part due to their compressed schedule. Not too different from Summer Fling Singers, each program this year is just 7 rehearsals and a concert, which is a manageable commitment for me. Our fall concert was focused on William Byrd and was a lot of fun to sing.
This year marked my 7th year as a board member of the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium, and my 4th year as treasurer. 2023 will be my last year on the board, so the goal is to help find and transition to a new treasurer.
My big web development achievement for 2022 was the creation of postcardware.net, a site dedicated to showing off the 6000+ postcards I received in the 1990s as “payment” for my postcardware program JPEGView.
The project began with acquiring a feed scanner and scanning all 6000 postcards, front and back. Feed scanners are great for black & white documents, but for color glossy images that have been gathering dust for years, it was a bit of a nightmare dealing with all the dust streaks. I ended up fixing a bunch by hand in Photoshop just to avoid manually cleaning the scanner every 5 postcards.
In addition to all the scanning, I also created a database with information about each card, including who sent it, when it was sent, and where it was sent from. This produced some interesting statistics, and served as the basis for the creation of the website.
Prior to my life being taken over by DREAMM, I managed to get through tagging and OCRing about half the collection. Hoping I can find time to finish up the remainder in 2023!
For the public-facing area of the site, I created a super simple homepage which lets you click on a random card and then dive into searches of the database. The database search is pretty good overall and is fun to just poke around with.
My choral rehearsal tracks site continues to grow, and has gained a handful of Patreon users this year. I’m still employed by a few local choirs to add tracks, but overall it’s been a lower priority this year.
Finally, I updated The Final Rip on this site with albums acquired in the past few years, and fixed up broken YouTube links.
On the weight management front, I started off the year well, dropping close to 10 pounds, but it’s crept up quite a bit since then and is accelerating toward a number I really don’t want to hit. So come January it will be time to refocus.
After catching up on lots of old series, I settled into watching an hour of sci-fi/fantasy TV most evenings, while also catching recent Marvel and Star Wars series with the family. This year, I managed to watch or complete:
After hitting over 50 books last year, I decided to re-up with that as my target this year. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite keep the same pace, but still logged over 40 books. Here’s this year’s GoodReads page. And my own summary (asterisks indicate a re-read):