2012 Year in Review

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I took this cue from Kurby Turner, the independent Mac/iOS developer, as I think it might be helpful to reflect a year’s work, life, effort, etc. As the old Chinese saying goes “Ji Wang Kai Lai” (learn from past, and look forward to the future).

New job: Software Development
Today is my one year anniversary at my new employer. Looking back, from the initial ramp up to more comfortable work on my own pace, and then deliver the first iOS (iPad) app to the field, back end work, report work and support. I feel good about my effort and the support I got from my coworkers. Sometimes my wife will ask me “why it took so long for you to complete a project”? Because it’s not trivial to do it.

I also wrote a few blog posts on iOS app development, and the back end (.Net) web service. I plan to do the same as times goes. Generally speaking, now I have more confidence doing customized app development, full life cycle, and from front to back end (all tiers).

Our daughter goes to the Hope Montessori Infant Toddler Community at Creve Coeur (off Manson road, near Olive Blvd). We are truly blessed with the teachers and staffs at the Hope family (I consider them as family, both adults and children, because sometimes they are better than family ๐Ÿ™‚ . Serenity (Yoyo) learned English and all kinds of things there, which laid a good foundation for her future. For us, we learned parenting lessons there. Sometimes I wonder how much quality time I spent there, from afternoon pickup, to field trip, to social (work-day, Fettuccine, Montessori and Vino, the FMV movie). We watched the FMV movie with great fun, my wife and my friends (couple) did not attend the FMV event, and really enjoyed the movie after I showed them.

We did one family vacation, and I had 2 business trips in year 2012. We went to Orange Beach, Alabama in the Memorial Day weekend, with Chinese friends. We drove there. It’s funny Yoyo would not go to bathroom on the road, she wants to use bathroom in the hotel or condo (destination). For the business trip, I visited 2 mines in West Virginia, the 2 hours I spent in underground mine is both interesting and a bit unsettling. That’s the first time I visited mines (both surface and underground). In November I visited Las Vegas, stayed in Palazzo (Venetian), which I stayed 3 years ago when I attended AU (Autodesk University, the developer/user conference) in 2009.

Personal Finance
As I wrote this post, I found I made both good moves and bad moves on this topic. I did well in 401k accounts (because I did nothing). But not in the Scottrade brokerage and IRA accounts (because I tried to do too much). Overall I still did ok, because majority of my assets are in 401k (both existing accounts and new account).

Today (01-03-2012) as I listened to Charlie Ellis on the Consuelo WealthTrack podcast, I can not agree more on one comment from Charlie: we all strive to be above average in school or at work. In investing being average is actually not too bad. I understand what meant: 80% of mutual funds perform below average (the index), hedge fund and individual investors are not doing better. So in other words, being average is actually in the top 20% ๐Ÿ™‚

Credit card: I did not apply as many credit cards as in year 2011 (a lot airline mile cards, and hotel point cards that year). In year 2012 the notable card I applied and got approved are Citi Thankyou Points (40,000 points), NFL Extra Points (Barclays, $400), and Chase Sapphire Preferred (40,000 points). I closed some credit cards (Delta Amex, and BA Chase). Looking forward, I don’t see a lot credit card deals in the pipeline.

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