Which question should I be asking? Did I do a good job, or did we do a good job? I’m not sure which I should be focusing on here in this blog. I figured that as long as I am taking an inventory of what I’ve worked on over the course of 2022 that I may as well write things down here for everyone to see.

Should I talk about quality or quantity? Or should I mention specific highlights from the year? How about a little of both!

I have been more prolific than last year!

I don’t know how I feel about this. If we’re only counting words and blog posts, I came out better this year, but I am way behind 2020 or 2019. I am tempted to make a graph out of this data, but I feel like that kind of analysis ought to be its own blog.

This year I wrote 34 blog posts for a total of 63,000 words between patshead.com and butterwhat.com. That is up from 30 blogs and 56,000 words in 2021, but it is way down from 82 blogs and 162,000 words in 2020 or 127 blogs and 184,000 words in 2019!

On one hand, I am bummed out that I have written so much less. On the other hand, I have appeared in a ton of video and audio content during the last two or three years.

How is the Butter, What?! Show doing?!

Brian and I really only had one goal. That was to publish a new video every single week, and I tried to have those videos go live every Monday morning. I did make at least one scheduling mistake, and we have had technical difficulties that made me remove a video and re-upload it later in the day or the next day, but other than that, we have done a good job.

We published 77 weekly videos in a row starting in April 2021. Our last video went live on October 3, 2022.

There will be more videos. We’ve decided that we’d be better off spending the same amount of time publishing one good video each month instead of publishing four easier videos and hoping one or two wind up being a gem. We’ve been delayed by various happenings in our lives and the holiday season.

I am sure we will be picking things back up early in 2023!

How about the Create/Invent Podcast?!

I don’t like tooting my own horn, but I do feel like we had a pretty good year in 2022. Our unofficial goal is to publish one podcast every month. Jeremy and I had nine guests on the show this year, and we published two live streams. Two of the guests showed up during live streams, though, so that might be considered cheating.

We had a lot of great guests this year. Too many to talk about in just three paragraphs! I think we did a good job covering a large slice of the maker spectrum this year.

Stephen Hawes talked to us about starting his company, Opulo.io, to build his open-source pick-and-place machine. He even talked me into buying one. My friend Hash talked to us about reverse engineering the electric company’s smart power meters. Matt Perks told us stories about building his amazing slim PlayStation 5. We even got to talk about launching people into orbit with Proto G.

I am doing a bad job getting the LumenPnP up and running!

What do I tell you about this saga in three paragraphs? The LumenPNP kit arrived and I had it assembled and moving around in less than a week, and I didn’t spend much more than an hour on it during any given evening. I had some trouble getting OpenPnP to run its backlash compensation calibration, so I walked away for a week. Then a week turned into a month. Then who knows what happened.

I sat back down a few months ago, downloaded all of Stephen’s latest updates to the OpenPnP config files, and I had no trouble getting through the backlash compensation steps. I think I am at the point where I have to test picking and placing parts, and since I only have WS2812C LEDs on hand, the best way to do that is to attempt to assemble some OoberLights Micro PCBs.

That seemed intimidating, so I walked away to work on other things. I know what I have to do next. I just have to sit down and do it.

I have scaled back my home network and almost eliminated my NAS and RAID!

Looking back at my blogs make this seem like weird timing. I upgraded from 20-gigabit Infiniband to 40-gigabit Infiniband in January, and since then I’ve been tearing everything down!

For a long time I just didn’t have enough storage on my workstation, so I stored all my video files on my NAS and worked on them via the fast Infiniband network connection. This was just about as fast as if the disks were on SATA ports in my workstation, so this was fantastic!

I have been working toward eliminating my reliance on the NAS. More specifically, I don’t need the RAID any longer. My goal is to have at least three copies of my data on at least three different computers in at least two different physical locations. I don’t want to rely on a redundant array of inexpensive disks. I am working on building a redundant array of inexpensive computers.

Seafile syncs any new data to a 14 TB USB drive at Brian Moses’s house almost immediately. That data is then synced to the RAID on my NAS. There’s a 12 TB hard drive in my workstation that keeps in sync as well. Some of that data also gets synced to my laptop, but my laptop doesn’t have enough storage for everything.

My aging four-disk RAID 10 in my NAS is nearly full. I will be replacing the RAID 10 with a single 14 TB or 18 TB USB hard drive. The NAS virtual machine will stay, but I may very well turn off the Samba shares. If I do that, it won’t be a NAS any longer!

I have gotten way more reliant on my Tailscale mesh VPN

Tailscale has definitely changed the direction my home and small business network and my server hosting has been heading. Tailscale keeps adding new features, and I start relying on those new features.

I don’t mind getting myself more and more locked in to Tailscale because it is the reason I have been able to reduce my reliance on my NAS while simultaneously improving the quality and quantity of my backups and redundancy. Tailscale has just made things easier for me overall.

Tailscale is managing the vast majority of my SSH keys for me. I am using Tailscale’s ACLs to tighten up which parts of my network have access to my most important nodes. I’m using Tailscale Funnel to improve our blog-publishing workflow.

I hope 2023 brings even more Tailscale features for me to start relying on!

I set up lvmcache on my workstation, and it is fantastic!

This might be my favorite upgrade of 2023. One of the old SATA SSDs in my desktop computer was failing, so I replaced it with a 1 TB Samsung 980 NVMe and a 12 TB hard drive. I carved out 700 GB of the NVMe to use for my root and home directories, and I left 300 GB to use as an lvmcache in front of the 12 TB hard disk.

I wound up using two caches. I put the 300 GB NVMe cache in front of data that doesn’t change much, like my Steam library. Then I used my old 480 GB SATA SSD as a cache in front of the larger volume that I churn through month after month, like the video files that I work on for our podcasts each month.

I have been running with these two lvmcache volumes since July, and they have been working exactly as I hoped. This month’s video files are always in the cache. Whatever Steam game I am currently playing gets promoted to the cache pretty quickly, and once a game is in the cache, it loads just as fast as if it were installed directly on the NVMe.

I have 2.5 terabytes of Steam games installed, and it is like they somehow magically fit on my 1 TB NVMe. It is even more impressive than that, because I have 400 GB free on the NVMe!

I am an old man, and I need bifocals now!

I am only just now realizing that this topic has a video but no blog words! I am going to need to remedy this situation before the new year!

It wasn’t until after upgrading to progressive lenses that I learned that I’ve needed bifocals for years. I’ve noticed this situation for my last two or three new pairs of glasses, but I didn’t understand what it meant. Each new pair of glasses improved my distance vision, but my view of my monitors at my desk has gotten worse with each new pair of glasses.

The really cool thing that I discovered are Zenni Optical’s workspace progressives. They are quite inexpensive. I think I spent $120 to order three different sets of glasses: traditional, mid-range, and near-range. It will cost you a little more if your prescription is much stronger than mine.

I have been buying the exact same from Zenni every year or two for the last ten years. Their part number is 410821. I did the same thing this time, but instead of just choosing gunmetal gray, I made sure to choose three different colors. My long-range are black, my mid-range are silver, and my close-up are gray.

With the traditional progressives I can look through the top to read a billboard while driving, or I can look through the bottom to read my phone. I can use them at my desk, but I have to point my face at the top of my monitor and point my eyes down a bit to read the middle of my screen.

The up-close lenses max out at about 3’. I can use more than half of the lens to get a clear view of my monitors. They’re fantastic for working at my desk, but the TV in the living room is too far from the couch for me to see it clearly.

The mid-range let me see the TV, and I can comfortably work at my desk. I’ve been swapping back and forth between the mid-range and close-up at my desk, and I am not sure which I prefer. I keep changing my mind. I definitely prefer the mid-range when playing first-person shooters, but I think I prefer the close-up when writing. Isn’t that weird?!

If you’re having any difficulty seeing, you should definitely spend a few dollars at Zenni to give them a try. I wish I could tell you exactly which lenses to try, but they’re inexpensive enough that I think it is worth trying all three!


There are definitely other interesting things that happened this year, but I am already approaching two thousand words. This seems like a pretty good summary of the highlights.

I am not sure what 2023 will bring, but it sure does seem like there are some fun things on the horizon!