. 2020 Year in Review

Rick Carlino

Personal blog of Rick Carlino, senior software engineer at Qualia Labs, co-founder of Fox.Build Makerspace. Former co-founder of FarmBot.

2020 Year in Review

This year was undeniably difficult. The year 2020 saw a global pandemic, civil unrest, political instability, and a historic recession. I am grateful to have finished the year in a position of safety and stability. This is not the reality for many in these difficult times.

My year in review article is significantly shorter than years past. If you want to see my unabridged 2020 plan, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to share my goals and hear about yours as well.

Looking Back

Back in 2019, I set three goals for 2020:

  • Sustain my health, relationships, and long term habits.
  • Focus on the things that matter and make fair use of my time.
  • Connect with others on everything I do.

I set 9 goals and completed all of them, though my completion of many goals was not as thorough as I would have liked. Given that 2020 was the year that brought us “social distancing,” my social interaction goals were tough to finish and a hectic work schedule left me with less spare time than in years past.


  • I formed a mastermind group at my local makerspace. I am still attending meetings. It’s one of the most useful things I have done this year.
  • I got my best time ever in the Frozen Gnome 50k Ultramarathon and completed the Fox Valley Marathon (virtual).
  • I registered for Bootlin’s Embedded Linux training (January 11th, 2021)
  • I remotely attending EuroForth, an annual conference for the Forth Programming Language.
  • I completed my annual “Think Week,” where I studied numerous topics of interest. Some notable subjects were CNC machining, GIS systems, trigonometry, and a few others.
  • Started a YouTube channel so that makerspace members could get training without face-to-face contact.
  • Built a distributed, peer-to-peer time series log database to explore some intellectual curiosities I’ve had.

What’s Next?

Like most people, I look forward to the end of the pandemic and a return to normalcy. In 2021, I will continue looking for ways to stay connected to friends, family, professional collaborators, and peers. I plan to focus on two things in 2021:

  • Blogging and professional interaction. Blogging is something I enjoy doing but struggle to make the time for. I want to fix that this year.
  • Life-long learning and skills acquisition. I have some professional areas where I need to fill knowledge gaps, and I want to make time for this in 2021. I will do my best to blog about the process as I go.