A yearly tradition, you can check my 2006 and 2007 Years in Review if you are interested. I like to use the Year in Review to reflect not only on activity regarding this blog, but my personal trends and activity as well.
A new category for this year’s roundup, it’s always been present for me, but since so many people are joining the different networks, you can find me somewhere. I’ve also begun a new rule: for every new site I sign up for, I delete one of my old accounts somewhere else.
- Social Networks using: @rosso on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, ASmallWorld, FriendFeed. In 2008 I became an organizer of the Girl Geek Dinners in Milan as well.
- Biggest resource of 2008: Twitter. It’s a sounding board, it’s my news alerts, it’s my friends. You can check out my Twitter Landing Page to find out more about how I use Twitter.
- Biggest “sell-out” of 2008: Facebook. I can say that everbody and MY mother are on Facebook, so you know it’s mainstream. I’m the Grinch who blocks applications on Facebook.
- Biggest Time-sucker of 2008: FriendFeed. Some people love it, some people hate it, but I think it’s going to take more organization and time for groups to settle down to get some real value out of FriendFeed. For now, it’s too much information, and I’m straddling the Italian and English groups which can be difficult.
- Working with causes, powered by Social Networks and Bloggers: In October we did a fundraiser re: Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and raised over $400. It doesn’t sound like much but we were happy to have helped! In December I participated in my 3rd Menu for Hope benefiting the World Food Program, this time as the Regional Host for Europe. We raised over $60,000 which is really an achievement in this economic downtime. Thanks to everyone!
Blogging, Photography and Computing
- Most popular 2008 blog posts: Laduree Macarons and Finding the Perfect Macaron Recipe, An Introduction to Italian Candy – Caramelle, World Nutella Day Recipes: Clusters, Mousse and Cupcakes!, and The Guide to Italian Aperitivo and Drinks in Italy
- RSS feeds following: 211 (only up 1 from last year) in 13 categories, with Google Reader. I use the Trends feature quite often on Google Reader to clean up my subscriptions. I’m sharing things I read via Google Reader in this blog’s sidebar as well as you can subscribe to my shared items here.
- My most popular 2008 Flickr pictures: My beautiful friend gets married in India, Pear & Nutella for World Nutella Day
- Camera equipment: Still using my 10MP Canon Digital Rebel XTi, and my Canon PowerShot SD750 7.1MP for quick shots and video. This year I bought a new Canon 50mm f1.4 lens which I love(d) until I broke it this month in Istanbul. I’m already looking for a replacement.
- Backing up Data & External drives: I bought a Western Digital 250GB Passport in January 2008 and then this fall I got a Western Digital MyBook 750GB to back up my backups and have another repository for the enormous amounts of data I’m creating and consuming. I’m also using Mozy (a Pro account) to do a further backup online of my photos and other critical files.
- Bloggers met (in person) in 2008: This was a big year for meeting food bloggers as I attended my first BlogHer in July in San Francisco. I also met blogger 1.0, Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp in Milan in May and tons of Italian bloggers through the Girl Geek Dinners and other events.
- Password Security: After resisting for so long, I’ve finally decided to start storing my numerous numerous passwords for all my sites and memberships online. Thankfully, a service exists that is run not only by an expat in Italy, but by a friend and fellow Girl Geek. Passpack.com is the service – I definitely encourage you to try it out! It’s FREE! I’m loving it.
Reading and eBooks
- Books (new) read in 2008: 69 (100% were ebooks). These are only new books for this year – I tend to re-read from my library as well. My digital library is almost as big as my shelf library was back in the States.
- Ebook Advocate: I have been digital for 3 years now and I’ve never regretted it. This year I’m going to try and calculate how much money I’ve saved (will be a lot since I’d have to pay Amazon shipping or Euro prices here in Italy).
- Biggest reading month: December – 9 books.
- eBook readers used: HP iPaq and luckily retired that in July for the Apple iTouch 16GB (1st gen) which is easily my favorite gadget of the year. Because of the iTouch and the apps available for it, I’m reading mostly eReader format, and hoping Mobipocket will come out with an app, too, but not holding my breath (they are owned by Amazon!) I also tested the iRex Iliad for 2 weeks and played with a Kindle.
Open Source Software
- Advocacy: I made a presentation at the Girl Geek Dinner in Milan in October talking about advocacy and getting involved in Open Source Software (English). The Italian version is here.
- Software I’m Using: WordPress for websites/blogs, Firefox web browser, FileZilla for FTP, VLC media player, Open Office docs and spreadsheets, PDFCreator, Synkron synchronization software, 7 Zip zip files.
- Saying Goodbye to Microsoft Office: I officially uninstalled Microsoft Office from my home computer and I use Open Office and Google Docs for all my document needs outside of work.
- Still Dependent on non-OS: Adobe Photoshop. I’ve been using it for about 12 years now and I feel comfortable in it. I’ve been trying out Open Source GIMP for some simple operations in the meantime.
Food, Cooking & Eating
- Best New Discoveries: Organic Nutella, homemade macarons, Ferrero’s Rondnoir, Indian fry bread, Sicilian granita for breakfast, Indian street food.
- Food Trends in 2008: eating local / locavores, BACON everything, cupcakes still hung on this year. Time Magazine looks back on 2008 trends.
- Trends in 2009 I see coming up: more bacon, urban gardening and farming, and a return to comfort foods as haute cuisine. Epicurious predicts their 2009 trends
First, let’s look back: How did I do on my “I Dare” cooking challenges for 2008? Not as well as I’d hoped.
- Macarons – I made macarons several times this year and love making them! I expect to make several more varities this year.
- Roast – Left over from 2007’s goals, though I didn’t blog about it, I went on a roast-making rampage in the autumn and I now feel like a certified roast maker.
- Orecchiette and Ravioli – I had an orecchiette-making lesson in December that I haven’t blogged about yet. But my raviolis definitely need some more attention.
- Bread – Not much excuse here, I didn’t make much bread.
- Indian – I also spent more time eating than cooking Indian.
So what’s in store for “I Dare” cooking goals of 2009?
- Cake, cupcake, cookie decorating – I got a good piping set this summer but I haven’t had much practice with it. There’s a pretty impressive decorating section on the Wilton site to get me started.
- 12 Fresh Pastas – I’m going to dedicate myself to fresh pasta this year, at least one new type a month. Orecchiette and ravioli will definitely play a part.
- Alternative flours, grains and legumes – I played with quinoa this year, but I want to delve more into wheatberries, lentils, millet, barley, etc. and use alternative flours like chestnut flour and chickpea flour in my cooking.
- Playing with Flavored Liquor – after making my own Basicello liquor in 2007, my appetite has been whetted for more. Italy is a great place to be if you love flavored liquors.
- Croissants – Since I love a good croissant, and Italy’s “cornetti” or “brioche” on average are mediocre, I’d like to try my own hand at them. Luckily the Daring Bakers have left a ton of tutorials for me to follow!
Can you come up with 5 “I Dare” cooking goals for 2009?
Travel and Moving Around
- Cities lived in: 1 – Milan, Italy
- Countries visited: 2 – U.S., India (Jan 2008)
- Years without a car: 5.5 and counting. I thought for sure we’d buy a car in 2008 but it hasn’t happened yet.
- Carbon: According to Dopplr, a service I used to track my travels, I Total: 2,227 kg CO2
New Year’s Resolutions
I would like to say I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do. Someone who loves lists and goal-setting as much as me? I have a few, but I’m not publishing them online this year.
How was 2008 for you? Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? Do you hate them?