"He Wears Black and Has a Beard"

2013: Year in Review

Toby Roworth

Dec 30, 2013

As another year draws to a close, it would seem a good time to write a reflective post on what's happened at WearsBlackHasBeard this past year, as I did last year. If I manage it again next year it could almost be called a tradition.
This year's seen me go back to uni, after a pretty poor attempt at leaving Avolites - I was back doing freelance stuff six days later. My major project is (surprisingly) looking into lighting consoles. In fact, most projects I'm doing this year have something to do with lighting, a poor show for a noiseboy. And before anyone asks, the van's still not finished...
Despite a fair few weeks where I was too busy to post, I've averaged nearly a post-per-week, thanks to Rascal Engine Repair (RER)week and CrapBikeII (CBII)week. Hopefully we'll see a project or two take off this year in a similar way.
Readership has generally increased, if we ignore December. What's been especially reassuring is people mentioning in conversation that they've read my blog and shared it with others, especially CrapBike II.
And so it comes to the best bit of the review - my five top posts of the year, chosen by magic:
CBIIweek: The End One of the more popular projects this year, CrapBikeII has drawn attention both online and ontowpath. I managed a couple of weeks on it before I took a sabbatical due to illness. Ben and Q had a go on it the other weekend, without much success, but that gave me the chance to get back on the bike and remember how much fun it is. I also tried to add a trailer, but that went very badly:

Review: Shure SE215 An actual review, reviewing a product someone can actually buy, is somewhat rare from me. But this one seemed worthwhile, as it's one of this years most viewed posts. It kind of saw a sequel during this years PLASA roundup, but really deserves a full follow up; now I've had them for almost a year, my comments on build quality might be of interest (generally negative, but not massively so).
Behringer 1002B: Headphone Mod This post saw me become an international public service! I eventually found a comment from a guy who had followed my instructions to fix his mixer, and later found a (very well hidden - thanks Zuckerberg) message from him on Facebook talking about further mods. However, it turned out Paal used to do HiFi circuit design, so was somewhat more qualified than myself!
Anti-theft Device for an Office Chair After my chair go stolen one-too-many times I decided to alarm it. This post is a rare one with a video, and proved quite popular (the mask's still hiding at Avo somewhere, next to my Sapphire Jelly mould (more on that later)). This story was continues in two directions. The first was the loss of the alarm after filming the video revealed a structural weakness - my colleague eventually took it upon himself to replace it with a rape alarm, which proved quite effective (although far less theatrical). The second was a later attempt at stealing my desk, easily prevented by a bike lock and anger!
Disappointed Rant: Phone Cases Post of the year award has to go to a post that has been sparking healthy debate ever since. I've had a reassuring number of people agree with me, as well as others who've attempted to sway me from the true path by buying me a phone case (in WBHB Cerise). But the proof of the cake really was in the eating, when I put my money where my mouth was when I bought my Nexus 4. For three weeks I used it as God intended, no case, screen protector or any of the other crap the populace of ebay insist every phone needs five of. Then I put it down on my bedside table. When I picked it up, it felt wrong - lo and behold, the rear glass had cracked around the speaker. I'm still not putting a case on it though...

And there we have it, 2013 from the eyes of one who wears black and has a beard. 2014 should bring a small host of posts about printing-like-in-the-past-and-stuff, Sapphire Jelly, maybe some uni work and hopefully a series about doing up a Narrow Boat.
Thanks for reading - to end, here's a photo of "design". Happy New Year!