A (very) quick review of 2015

Since so much of 2015 was taken up by the relentless and exhausting novelty of moving over 200km from rural Oxfordshire to central-ish Sheffield, then the year feels like it's been defined by that process. But (certainly from a work perspective, given this is my work blog) there was a lot more to it than that.

Firstly and most importantly, I started my new company Magnetic Phield. Initially a way of managing all my client work in a more efficient and professional manner, I'm hoping that in 2016 it will also provide a public-facing platform, that leads to more exciting and challenging projects. As I've written elsewhere, there's a lot I'd like to contribute in terms of social good, especially to the nonprofit/charity/sustainability/cooperative sector(s), and I hope Magnetic Phield will inspire me with the vision to do that.

In spite of the move—which did slightly put company-related plans on ice—I also managed to attend Drupalcon Barcelona. I promised myself only one big conference this year, to reduce the chances of a clash with our potential moving date. In the end, of course, we had to move two days after I returned from the conference! But DCBCN was nonetheless amazing: not just as a conference experience (for which I have copious notes), but also as a personal experience; sharing an apartment with other Drupalers was once again a highlight, and meeting and chatting to people—and mentoring in the Friday sprints—was the absolute core of the conference for me. That and the release of Drupal 8 shortly afterwards, obviously (although I've yet to take advantage of that for my clients!)

While following the conference immediately with a house move cost me some momentum, yet at the same time we're really excited to be in a big, cosmopolitan, continental-feeling city like Sheffield. There's a definite buzz in the air, that we have yet to fully absorb but can nonetheless feel, like an engine humming down at the bottom of the hill we're living on. I've joined Union St, a co-working co-operative with communal office space right in the heart of the city, and I'm meeting lots of new and exciting people already. House repairs and bouts of illness (probably stress-related, I think) have kept us from springing fully into action, but we have high hopes for the new year.

Meanwhile, in the wider world, climate change has begun to make itself felt all the more keenly. Our good fortune in moving out of an area of increased likelihood of flooding is tempered by having moved to a kind of Peak District "tornado valley". It's a stark reminder for us that, even in our affluent, privileged environment, nobody can remain untouched by the havoc we might eventually cause. And while some success was achieved at the COP21 gathering, this is obviously offset by the disastrous attempts by the UK's government (among others) to subsidize failed, dirty technologies, while pulling the rug out from under renewables. Sometimes these situations seem far too big for individuals to make an impact: but we all have our levers, and we can all find our fulcrums, and I'm hoping to be able to do that in the future.

With all that in mind, what might the new year bring? Well, right now everything is up for grabs. I'd love for Magnetic Phield to build Drupal 8 and modern-PHP appllications, but I'd especially love to work on more behaviour-driven development projects (there's a case study I need to write up!) I'd also love to be able to show people who might not always "get" technology exactly what improvements their organization could take advantage of, so communications is key for me. I'd also love to work more with local or smaller organizations, although I appreciate that's going to take time and patience. On a personal note, I'd also love to be able to fit in a lot more gardening, now that we have a bigger garden in which to do it!

But we all still have a few days left, between the solstice and the new year, to enjoy 2015. Technology is all very well, but it must be a means to an end: whether it's contributing to a wider social good, or helping people communicate to those dearer to your heart how much they are valued and appreciated. Given the latter, I can only suggest we all use the advantages that technology provides us with, to seek out and spend time with family and friends over the next few days. To my readers, my acquaintances, my fellow Drupalers, my friends, and my family: I wish you a happy festive season, and the best of luck for 2016.


Congrats on the move. I didn't know yd come back up norf. Regarding your new company, was the name at all inspired by Magnetic Fields, the late 80s game developer famous for super cars and lotus esprit turbo challenge...? :)



Well, hello, David! Yeah, for lots of slightly tedious micro-reasons—family, cost of living, transport connectivity—that all add up to a compelling case, we've travelled from Oxfordshire to Sheffield. It's too early, and has been a bit too stressful, to say whether or not it was the right thing to do. But we're persevering....

In all honesty I can't say Magnetic Fields, 1980s game developers, were my inspiration. Nor were The Magnetic Fields, indie-pop band popular back in the late 1990s/early 2000s. It's a commonish name, but given I was told that, whatever I picked, someone would misspell it, the purposeful misspelling hopefully helps it stand out!

Hope all's well with you, anyway, and compliments of the season.