A Look Back at 2016

2106-0117My last job responsibility before New Years Eve involved some minor updates to a system with slightly older technology. There’s something about working on an older system that puts me in a mood to think about how far we’ve all come together. Add in the transition to a new year, and I was feeling positively retrospective.

These past few years have meant some major upheaval in our industry, but spend an afternoon making updates to older technology and you will quickly realize that many of the changes have been for the better. IP control is fast, reliable, and makes for easy updates. Newer graphics are better looking and more dynamic. Newer control processors unlock a world of features and are easier to update and maintain.

How we in the industry make our money in the future is still a bit of a mystery. Bringing AV into the new digital age is not all sunshine and roses. But I, for one, will not miss the days when it took a solid eight hours to do firmware updates and then you could never update anything ever again for fear of breaking or bricking something.

There’s also something both satisfying and frustrating about opening up my old code. It’s immensely satisfying to see how your skill-set has grown and improved. But it’s simultaneously frustrating to have to live with all of your old mistakes. And I always have to resist the urge to fix what isn’t technically broken.

In many ways, 2016 was a rough year for me and my family. But professionally, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so fulfilled. I worked on several projects that challenged me to expand my skill set, think critically and creatively, and architect a system in detail for efficiency and reliability. And I got to work on quite a few projects that were just plain cool. Not one, but two major sporting events featured camera shots of lighting systems that I worked on.

I probably could have slept more in 2016. And spent less time in airport hotels. But I loved what I worked on, and had a lot of fun with my colleagues while doing it. I also had the immense pleasure of watching my mentee, Victoria Barela, learn and grow. I got more proficient in a brand new programming language. I setup my house so that I can turn the lights off and on with my voice. I implemented a base template and standards for programming at my company which was both fulfilling and time-saving.

In many ways, 2016 was the dumpster fire that we all joked about on social media. But when it came to technology, it’s nice to look back and realize that things were actually pretty great. I look forward to seeing what 2017 has in store.