2021 – Year Review!

This post was most recently updated on February 1st, 2022.

8 min read.

Well, it’s been a year. It certainly does not feel like it has been a whole 12 months since I last wrote one of these, you know?

I failed every single one of the goals I set for 2021, but I’m not going to lie, family takes (and deserves) so much time that it is no wonder that our hobbies suffer a bit.

But still – writing these year reviews has become a tradition, so without further ado – let’s get to it! 😁

Website stats

Like the last few years, let’s take a quick look at YOU. As in, you know, visitors of the website.

Numbers-wise – there’s been around 800k of you in 2021 (or almost 2 million, if we trust Cloudflare, but I really don’t think they count “unique visitors” in the same way as Google Analytics does, so I’ll use the more conservative Google Analytics numbers in this article).

That’s incredible and kind of humbling. Thank you.

Truth be told, the ~200 comments left to my articles (🤯) also did a pretty good job at keeping me humble and busy – at least 20 or so were corrections or useful additions to my articles’ content.

I do occasionally get things wrong, and I certainly don’t know everything – thanks for helping me keep the articles up-to-date!

I also upgraded the hosting for my website in 2021 because the old service provider was already struggling with the traffic last year. Web hosting stuff is always a bit painful, but I couldn’t muster the strength and time commitment to reimplement the site using Hugo or Front Matter – but I’d love to.

Maybe next year.

Traffic sources

Judging from other bloggers’ year-end posts, I suppose my website is way more dependent on Google & Bing than most sites out there. However, it’s understandable that the majority of the traffic comes from search engines, as people are looking for solutions to the same problems I’m documenting solutions to.

Percentage-wise, the traffic looks somewhat like this:

  • Google ~ 75%
  • Bing ~ 7%
  • Referrals ~2% – this still amounts to some 16k visitors, but most of the referring sites only turn into a few users, probably looking for a solution to a very specific problems. Still, I suppose it’s worth it to mention the 2 biggest referring sites:
    • docs.microsoft.com (2k visitors)
    • github.com (<1k visitors)

Pretty proud of those 2. 😁 The rest of the sources are smaller, or just filed under “direct” which doesn’t mean much.

The countries look pretty much identical to last year, so I’m not even going to list them here.

My most-read articles in 2021

This year marks another year of a broader audience (and not just Azure and SharePoint peeps out there) – my struggles with WordPress and even Excel seem to be shared by a lot of you out there!

Let’s make this short – my most read articles (altogether) during 2021, in descending order:

  1. How to change the delimiter when exporting CSV from Excel?
  2. Current User in ASP.NET Core
  3. Resolve error “Post-processing of the image failed likely because the server is busy or does not have enough resources. Uploading a smaller image may help. Suggested maximum size is 2500 pixels.”
  4. How to fix “AADSTS50011: The reply address does not match the reply addresses configured” -error
  5. 4 ways to fix error AADSTS65001 (The user or administrator has not consented to use the application)

These all got tens of thousands of views – the 5 most read articles together brought in around 15% of views altogether. I suppose having over 300 articles means the views are split between a lot of pages…

In 2021, I posted 60 new articles. The most popular ones were:

  1. How to fix “Missing value for AzureWebJobsStorage in local.settings.json” when you’re debugging Azure Functions locally?
  2. How to enable saving a list as a template on SharePoint Online?
  3. How to test a WebSocket connection in a browser?

These articles got around 10k views each during 2021.

My least-read articles in 2021

Ha, I guess it makes sense to share these as well, if for nothing else than to serve as motivation for improving? My LEAST popular 2021 articles (each with just a handful of views from non-signed-in users):

Still, these have all been things I’ve documented for myself. Well, just like all of the articles. But it’s still wild to see the difference in views!

2021 – the most “meh” year so far

In my last year’s review, I would like to think that I was quite hopeful for 2021. But I am not going to lie – the year has been quite tough.

So, what’s been up?

Neverending renovation

We ramped up the renovations of our home to expand it a bit – and did it at pretty much the worst possible time. Massive inflation during the year caused constructions materials to skyrocket in price (50-200 % increases), so we ended up postponing what we could and scavenged the necessary building materials from all over the place.

While we were originally planning, perhaps optimistically, on getting everything done this year, now we’re looking at finishing the roof terrace and carport only after the next recession hits. Fingers crossed for that happening next summer? 😐

At least we got the house to be (just barely) winter-proof before the snow.

Below shows an aerial view of most of the grounds at the beginning of November. You can probably guess this construction also included a lot of destruction…

The pandemic is the new normal now

It looks like humankind was not able to tackle the pandemic in 2021, and I don’t think that we will fare much better in 2022. I don’t mind working from home for a few more years, but a prolonged public health crisis is sure to affect everyone in some capacity.

I caught COVID myself in late July / early August despite using FFP2 masks almost everywhere, and not really going anywhere since early 2020. We narrowed down the source to 2 occasions when I met other people outside (to scavenge for construction materials), once without a mask and once with a surgical mask.

The infection itself wasn’t too bad – it was like 2 weeks of annoying, persistent flu, just without the stuffiness or throat ache. But what I would’ve happily not experienced is the 5 months (and counting) of muscle aches. I would have much rather gotten vaccinated earlier and possibly avoided (or, to be fair, postponed) all this. Luckily, it turned out that I was a lousy host and apparently infected precisely zero people around me.

I had just gotten the first jab in late July, so it probably hadn’t had the time to kick in properly before the infection.

Talking of which – it was somewhat disheartening spending weeks trying to book a vaccination appointment, and being told to wait because there simply aren’t enough to go around, and then seeing the neighboring bigger city already giving shots at malls to anyone who cared to have one. Well, to anyone who lived in said city, that is.

Oh well – this highly functional, equal, and fair society is what we pay the 52% marginal taxes for… 😉

Got promoted to 1st lieutenant

I guess this was a highlight of sorts..?

Finland still has a conscription-based defense force, and around 40% of the population are required by law to serve, mostly to make it very annoying to occupy Finland for any reason, just in case one of our neighbors wants to try that.

I can’t claim to be fully on board with a system that treats citizens who live in different provinces, practice different religions or happen to have certain private parts in a drastically different manner, but even then getting some recognition such as a promotion (that has no real effect on anything) feels nice. I guess that’s some very classical gamification in action, right? 🤔

In true Finnish Defense Forces fashion, the certificate of promotion was accompanied by an invitation for a promotion reception just a couple of days out. Better organize your schedule fast if you plan on attending!

And in an even more true FDF fashion, 2 days after the reception the notice came regarding the cancellation of the event due to COVID.

I guess you rely on the armed forces for their superior firepower, not their timely organized events…

Working 9-5 for a change

In 2021 I ended up changing employers. That was a difficult decision – I had been working for Valo on 2 continents, 3 countries, for 4 offices while living in 5 cities in 6 years (neat how well that lined up, eh?)

But being really committed to a company might not be healthy in the long run, and after all that time, I really needed a change. And when an opportunity to work in a fast-moving and talented team purely on Azure stuff presented itself in the form of Etteplan offering me a job, it would’ve felt a bit weird not to take it.

So, I changed from working in a small, nimble, and intense product team to working for a large, publicly listed company with a thousand (or so) developers. And it’s nice to work on ever-changing, interesting projects with smart people using exciting technologies – but at the end of the day, just go to a 9-5 job instead of living and breathing the story of your employer.

The projects have been quite something, though – before 2021 I had pretty much no experience of Azure IoT, but very quickly I ended up in the deep end with a pretty complex Azure IoT Edge project with a lot of moving parts. And ungodly amounts of YAML. 😁

Additionally, some Blazor, some good-old vanilla .NET, some OCR stuff, and a little bit of SharePoint on the side.

What’s to look forward in 2022?

Professionally? Probably more Azure IoT stuff, but you never know! I’ve always been flexible when taking on new projects.

Blog wise? I’ll try and change my posting schedule to posting a new article every Tuesday! I’ll probably slip a bit, but I’ve posted at least 4 new articles almost every month since early 2019, and I have a lot of unfinished posts just waiting for a bit of polishing and hitting “Publish”!

Besides, thanks to the ad revenue from the site (that’s just another way of saying “thanks to YOU!”), I was able to hire an editor, who’s helping me in said polishing. And as long as she’s able to keep up with the new-old schedule, the readers can look forward to articles with far fewer typos than before.

No worries, I’m sure I’ll be able to slip a few through anyway…

Well, that’s it for 2021. Happy New Year and celebrate safely! 😉

Thanks for reading in 2021. See you in 2022!

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