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January 2024 Retrospective

This month Block, operator of the Square payments platform and Cash App, laid off over 1000 employees. Much to my surprise, just like when Uber laid off 25% of their workforce in May 2020, I was spared. As someone who has been at the company less than two years and is in a senior role with decent compensation I figured I was an easy head for the chopping block, and I honestly wouldn't have blamed anyone. Every company overhired during the pandemic and can definitely get by with less. I am very thankful that I did survive but "survivor guilt" is a medical symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for a reason.

I don't really have anything else to say here but I figured I had to write something to remember this when I look back years from now.

The Good

Persona 5 Tactica

It really is amazing how every Persona 5 spin-off has been a solid game in its own right. I beat Persona 5 Tactica in a little over 26 hours this month and enjoyed nearly every moment of it. It definitely isn't one of the best turn-based tactics games I have played, but with the unique Persona twist I really did enjoy the time I put in. Around the 20 hour mark it started to drag on a bit but thankfully the endgame wasn't a grind and I was able to push through and defeat the final boss.

If you're a turn-based tactics fan I don't think this game is going to wow you. But as a Persona 5 aficionado it was another nice little dose of that formula to help keep me sated until Persona 6 is announced.

Finished Box Set 1 of the One Piece Manga

I don't know what else to say other than the One Piece manga is amazing and I will read absolutely every volume of it.

Started converting this blog's engine to Swift

After having it as a monthly goal for over a year, I finally started converting this blog's engine from Ruby to Swift and so far it has been a lot of fun. At my job I am working in a very "mature" codebase where you cannot have 100+ iOS developers playing with their own random parts of a programming language. There needs to be some system of best practices that usually mean you cannot immediately use the new hotness like Swift Concurrency or Macros. But in my own projects there are no such limitations.

I haven't made that much progress yet but I am really enjoying re-tackling this problem from a different perspective. My existing engine evolved organically as I wrote the smallest Ruby scripts as quickly as possible just to get something operational. But with 15+ years of iOS experience I'm coming at this much more methodically and really want to build out a robust, tested engine that while I may be the only person who ever uses it, I can still be proud about how it was written.

Honourable Mentions


Thronefall is in early access on Steam and is part tower defence, part real-time strategy game. You control the ruler of some kingdom who has to battle a dozen of so waves of enemies. During the day you build or upgrade your structures and then at night you must defend them. Your character has a weapon and ability which means you are actively participating in the battle at night. You are even able to muster an army and direct them where to go.

Being an early access game it is fairly light on content at the moment. There are only four levels and each of them will probably take no more than an hour to beat once or twice. That being said, after those first four hours I was still really enjoying the game and felt that I had got my money's worth.

The way the game is extended is each level has a set of quests it asks you to do. These quests are just playing through a level again but with specific weapons and "mutations" that increase the difficulty. Each level has six quests which theoretically means there are 24 more reasons to replay the game. Unfortunately, in my experience, the majority of these quests were not fun at all.

When you're playing through a level for the first time, generally speaking, you'll find it hard to screw up. And even if you do, armed with your new knowledge, you'll immediately restart the level and be able to beat it the second try. I found that with the tools I was given there wasn't necessarily a "wrong" way to play and I felt empowered to experiment. But with these quests it sometimes feels like there is only one way to beat them. I would survive the first 10 waves but then get completely overwhelmed. The only way I could experiment with how to survive was beat those first 10 waves again and after doing that seven or eight times I wasn't just getting bored of the game, I was starting to resent it.

It was at this point that I decided to put my Steam Deck down and come back to Thronefall at a later date. I still feel that it has a ton of potential and those first four hours were a lot of fun. But I'm going to try to wait until it exits early access.

Season 7 of Rick & Morty

I watched all 10 episodes of the seventh season of Rick & Morty and just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had not known ahead of time that Justin Roiland was no longer voicing either Rick or Morty I honestly wouldn't have been able to tell. Both the voice acting and writing were great and came together for a solid three and a half hours of TV.

The Bad

Read Bad Actors

After Bad Actors, the eighth book in the series, I am definitely done reading about Slough House.

When looked at in a vacuum Bad Actors isn't necessarily a bad book. But as the eighth in the series it fell completely flat for me. At the end everyone was effectively right back to where they started and the cliffhanger from the seventh book was just never addressed. Sure there were some fun hijinks that occurred but if I had never read about them my life would not be any poorer.

The most damning thing I can say is that I wish I had spent my time reading something else that could have had more substance. Which is a far cry from how I felt just one year ago after reading the first three books.

Review January Goals

February Goals