Miha Rekar bio photo

Miha Rekar

👨‍💻 Software Developer
🎙️ Podcaster
🕴 International Speaker
👨‍🏫 RubySlovenia organizer
☕️ Home Barista
🏃 Marathon Runner
📷 Event Photographer
📖 Aspiring Stoic
🦄 Special

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At the end of 2018, I published a year in review story and last year I expanded it to a blog post. I found it cathartic and a nice wrap up of the year so here I am again. 😅

Let’s get this out of the way: 2020 was a weird year. We all had our hopes up because it’s such a nice number, but some things are simply outside our control1. All you can do is try and cope with what the world throws at you. 🦠

Podcasting

I only published 2 episodes of Parallel Passion this year. I had a nice 2-week periodic thing going up until late last year. Then I took a short break with full intentions to continue back on the old schedule. But, well, being quarantined isn’t ideal for most people’s hobbies. And even if you can do your hobby indoors, it has been affected by the damn virus. It affected our lives to such a degree that it’s impossible to pretend it isn’t there. Whatever the topic of conversation, sooner or later you talk about it and the effects it has on one’s life. I want my episodes to be timeless2, so I was postponing and postponing and postponing. And then nothing happened. I still want to go back to it because I really enjoy making it. But no promises when this will be. Until then, you have about 40 hours of episodes you can listen to (again). 🤷‍♂️

I was a guest on another podcast though: Lovim Ravnotežje by Nina Gaspari. We had a nice conversation about stoicism, journaling, working from home, dealing with depression, and many other slightly tangential or completely unrelated things. If you’re reading this and understand Slovene you should totally listen to it! 😉

Work

One of the biggest personal events of the year was surely quitting my job at Silverfin. I did this even before I knew what I was going to do afterwards. If it wasn’t obvious I’m privileged AF, doing this in the middle of a world-wide pandemic definitely seals the deal. There are many reasons why I decided to do it, but this is not the time nor place to go into it. Maybe some other day. Suffice to say that I feel much happier and fulfilled being in a smaller collective at Advisable now.

Photography

After quitting my job, I had all this free time on my hands. And it was summer. I’ve wanted to visit Dubrovnik even before it was Game of Thrones famous3 but never did it. And these past years it was simply too crowded, so I sort of lost interest. But because of how special this year was, Dubrovnik was on the top of my bucket list.

I’ve discussed my intentions with a friend, and she said she’d like to join as well. She calls me a few days later with “How ‘bout tomorrow?”. I booked an accommodation, started packing, and we were off first thing in the morning.

We only had a few days, but we used them to the max. Both for recharging on beautiful coasts of Croatia, and for photographing Dubrovnik from all possible angles at all times of the day. You can find many pictures on my Instagram, but here are some of my favorites:

Shortly after our return they closed the country borders, so I’m forever grateful for that call. I would probably have missed out on Dubrovnik again was it not for Maja. 🥰

Being now stuck in Slovenia, and still having no job, I decided to go and explore Soča valley. I’ve been there many times before, but never with a drone, a Leica, and completely on my own.

I discovered many new places and completely fell in love with that part of the country. See for yourself:

Speaking of drones — I delayed getting one for the longest time. I know myself and I just assumed it’ll be a toy I’ll play with for a couple of weeks, and then let the dust accumulate on top. But I was using my Mini a lot, so when a new Air 2 came out, I upgraded immediately. Having longer flying range, raw shooting abilities, and better image quality overall proved fruitful:

I continue to be impressed with what iPhones can do. Most of the photos I made this year were made with the 11 Pro. I did buy a new iPhone this year, even though I’m normally on a 2-year cycle. As a massive fan of the first SE, I simply could not resist buying a new, smaller, iPhone 12 mini. It’s delightful. The squared-off sides, the weight, and the overall size. I would love it to have the 2x lens as well, but, oh well, can’t have everything. 🤷‍♂️️

I also keep being a fan of Halide folks. They came out with a new version this year, and the app is now even simpler and more powerful than it was before. They didn’t make any significant changes to their other app for long exposure photography — Spectre. Still, every time I publish a photo made with it, I inevitably get people asking how the hell did I make that with an iPhone. It’s incredible for making people disappear or making that milky smooth water shots. Handheld. With a phone. 🤯

Some of my favorite iPhone shots this year.

Running

I didn’t plan to top my last year’s total running distance, but I still did it. Being quarantined all the time, running was my escape valve. So, I ran a lot. And further. And much hillier. 3,677 km in distance and 84,246 m in elevation to be precise4.

Because of the restrictions I mostly ran in and around Ljubljana. Discovering and rediscovering the same paths over and over again. But here and there I did a couple of longer runs with friends. Those are always the most fun and memorable. And exhausting when Blaž is in charge of charting the trail. But he then also provides a nice home-grilled meal. 😋 So, you know, all good. 😅

There were no normal competitions this year, so it’s a first year out of the last 6 that I didn’t run a marathon. But there were different kind of competitions. Virtual ones. The routes were defined as Strava segments. All you had to do is pick a time within a timeframe of several weeks, go to the starting point, and run. You can do it as many times as you want. Best time counts. I entered 3 races: Besnica 360°, Jamnik Trail, and Bled Round Trail. I was never on a podium before, but this year I was 3/3. 🥉🥉🥈 Twice third, and once second. In my respectful category, not generally, but still. Felt fantastic. 😊

If you follow me on Instagram5, you can see that I take many photos on my runs. But what’s changed this year is that almost every time there’s a picture with some running stats on it. I’ve always wanted to share that but what apps like Strava and Garmin give you looks like it was designed at the exact time Instagram came out. It’s in a 1:1 square ratio and arguably hideous. I did like what came out of Suunto app stylistically, but I don’t use Suunto gear, and again, they stuck with that stupid 1:1 ratio. C’mon, 9:16 stories are a thing for a while now. Move with the times, will you?

So, not finding anything that suits my needs, and having some time in first quarantine I decided to do it myself. How hard can it be? Turns out, quite hard. And I’ve forgotten everything about high school math. Which felt embarrassing, given how great I used to be at it. I took Suunto’s export for inspiration, asked my favorite designer Tina for some help, and then iterated, and iterated, until I was happy with the results. I now use it all the time, and many other people do as well. Feel free to check it out on join.run.

From sketch to first iteration and current design.

Books

Goodreads tells me that I read less this year than previous years. I blame podcasts. I have too many, and I love listening to all of them, so it’s impossible to unsubscribe from any. But I digress.

Here are the most notable books I read this year that I can wholeheartedly recommend:

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Great book, but an amazing audiobook. It’s more like a radio play than an audiobook. Many people are narrating and/or being interviewed. Allow me to quote my own review:

If you’re into Gladwell, you will enjoy this very much. It’s him at his best. Connecting the dots, making the stories, the whole shebang. But it’s not particularly usable or applicable in real life. Listen to it as an entertainment not as a self-improvement, and you’ll love it.

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A book for this time. I didn’t love it because there’s a lot in Taleb’s writing to make you furious in disagreement. I actually gave it 3 stars. But do I want you to read it? Absolutely. It makes extremely poignant thoughts on the fragility of the modern world, which we’re all experiencing right now. More often than not we would benefit by making things a bit less optimized, and a bit more redundant, making them robust if not anti-fragile.

Life on Air by David Attenborough

Autobiography. Read by the author in the audiobook version. Do I even need to say more?

It’s truly remarkable reading David’s book. He was there when the TV itself began, when the world was largely unexplored. He’s here when linear TV is dying and mass tourism and overconsumption are killing the world as we know it. Must read.

Breath by James Nestor

Last year I recommended Why We Sleep. The main point of that book was that we sleep too little and everything sleep is affecting. Breathe hits many similar notes, but around breathing. Unlike sleep, however, we breathe way too much. We’d all benefit with less breathing, and more (if not all) of it through nose.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

I still have a couple of chapters left, but I can already recommend this book. It’s so, so good. Hilarious, yet sobering. I had to stop running several times because I was laughing so hard. Truly showcases how it is to live with severe mental disorder(s). Brené put it best:

You’ll laugh, wince, writhe in discomfort, cry, then laugh again… But the two things you’ll never do is doubt Jenny’s brilliance or her fearlessness… She’s changing the conversation one rented sloth at a time.

Coffee

That almost 5 years old post I wrote about coffee is as relevant as ever and I still often share it. I also stand by its conclusion: for most people who want good coffee at home Aeropress and a good grinder will do the job spectacularly well.

I’m not most people, though. And I, as previously mentioned, am privileged AF. So, I bought a new espresso machine. A Decent one. Capital D Decent. This…this is a whole new world. This machine does things no other machine can do. For example: it gives you a complete recording on how the shot went. What was happening with temperature, with pressure, with flow, … with everything. Which enables you to try out things and see the exact effects they have. That enables you to get better at this craft and extract the most out of coffee beans.

Decent Espresso machine in action.

Together with ownership of the machine comes access to an exclusive owners Diaspora. There you have some of the most knowledgeable coffee people I’ve ever known existed. If you thought I’m weird, …well…let’s just say I found my tribe. 😂

But there was one thing that I was missing: a nice way to see all that data that the machine generates. Sure, you can see it on the tablet that sits on top of the machine, but I don’t want to stand around and look at it. So, I made an open-source web app6, expecting to only use it myself. Turns out, other people wanted something like this too. Quickly, upon sharing it with the Diaspora, the feature requests started coming in. It started growing, and in a couple of weeks, more than 3,000 .shot files were uploaded. Most of them analyzed and/or shared with the larger community. Then I went the extra step, bought a snazzy domain, and made it all proper: visualizer.coffee.

An example output of an espresso shot.

Wrapping up

Reading the post I wrote in 2019 I surely had different expectations of 2020. Then again, I don’t think anyone expected this. Pretty much everyone got challenged this year. Some of us less, others more.

My main challenge was being alone a lot of the time. I’m used to living by myself, and working remotely by myself. But going to almost none after-work drinks, hangouts, meetups, walks, runs, or any other social activities was a huge blow. While during the spring quarantine I could run after work and enjoy beautiful sunsets, the autumn one was a different beast. Short days, fog, and everything being closed really killed the mood and my spirits.

But I managed to pull through without massive consequences. I think. And now the days are getting longer, and there’s hope vaccine will be available to the general population in the next couple of months. Things will go back to normal. Hopefully for all of us, not just a privileged few. 🤗️

Happy New Year 2021! 🎇

  1. Cough, stoicism, cough 

  2. Meaning they can be listened to at any time. Not that they’re that great. 😅 I try to record every episode in such a way to never reference any actual events. So, in theory, you shouldn’t be able to tell if an episode was recorded this week or 5 years ago. 

  3. Such a hipster 

  4. 2,285 miles and 276,398 feet respectively 

  5. If you don’t and are reading this you totally should 

  6. That’s what I’m good at 🤷‍♂️️