Good-bye 2008, you have been good to me. Over the course of the past 12 months I have learned a great deal about who I am and what I can accomplish, leaving me in fine form to hit the ground running in 2009.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my little piece of cyberspace and commenting on some of what I wrote. The discussions were always respectful and informative; there are a lot of smart people riding the intertubes.

I’d like to take a moment now to stop and reflect on the last 12 months before starting the New Year.

January I started this blog early in January, and skipped all formalities by jumping into a discussion about difficulties I had been experiencing with Google. I still think that was a good choice - I want to avoid making a big deal about this blog (except for occasional posts like this one, obviously) and starting off with the solution to a problem I had been facing was the perfect way to start splashing in the blogosphere. For the remainder of the month I discussed solutions in ASP.NET and the joys of working from home, both subjects which I had a great deal of experience with being simultaneously a full-time student and a full-time programmer.

February My studies shifted to bizarre Java tricks and database connection tips in February, yielding one of my more popular articles about correctly using the memory management capabilities in C# to properly control database connections in ASP.NET. I am particularly proud of that article because it represented a step forward for me in the way I am able to communicate my ideas, not to mention it solved some of the more frustrating programming problems I had been having at the time.

March In March my writing took a bit of an ironic tone, starting with my discovery of Google’s “bad page” warning. My writing suffered as I was unfortunately busy with everything from moving into a new home, to end-of-year college projects, to a massive assignment at work, and launching a second blog. As a result Always Get Better stagnated slightly, however the traffic continued to grow.

April April saw a return to writing about useful tech tips and obscure programming knowledge. I also wrote the blog’s most popular article to date about methods for closing forms in C#; it still generates confusion and misunderstanding so I may revisit the concept in a more detailed article in the New Year. SQL tricks and platform differences were a big deal as well and will continue to be moving forward since I absolutely love SQL.

May I realized that perfection was not a destination but rather a road to be followed halfway through the year and as a consequence started to take myself less seriously. My biggest time waster in May was in finding solutions to simple ASP.NET problems so I made more effort to publish those as I went along.

June June was another bad month for blog posts. I only ended up posting a single token snippet referencing parse optimization in SQL on the final day of the month. Lame.

July July was an incredibly busy month at work but I managed to post while I went through the pain of switching to Vista

August The stress of July led me to reminisce about the time I once wasted playing MUDs. August was a month of ASP.NET issues, Internet Explorer oddities, and a positive change in my thinking about the future of this blog.

September In September I had a paradigm shift in my perception of Flash as a programming platform with the discovery of Flex Builder 3. I have learned so much about this tool since those early days and am eager to share some of the knowledge I gained in a series of upcoming posts.

October The lights went out on Always Get Better in October. This was a dark month for a number of reasons but I can’t make any excuses for not posting at all. One thing I did realize during this month was the need to back off some of my other projects and focus more energy on my writing online. By this time next year I hope to be earning enough from my blogs that I can afford to spend a greater portion of my time working with them.

November November was a month of Flex, Adobe woes, a change in providers, Drupal databases, Drupal layout, and Drupal administration. I launched a second blog - this time politically-related - with help from my brother which has taken off at an alarming rate.

December This month was the real eye-opener for me. With so many feeds and connections opened up to me, I feel as though I am watching the recession unfold in slow motion; but I don’t necessarily feel any more informed. Blogs often feel like the same news regurgitated and wrapped in commentary which is a great way to form opinions on issues but not necessarily a great way to understand the complexities of those issues. In my own work, I hope to teach as much as to give opinion - I leave the real journalism to the journalists and pillars of media like the New York Times. Although they claim to have a leaky boat I think they will weather these rocky waters just fine and be prouder for it.

**2009 and Beyond **I am endlessly optimistic about the new year and experiences it will bring. I will do my best to make this blog better and will continue the network-building activities I have started this year. My greatest failure in 2008 was not promoting this site very much - in the New Year I will get the word out. Hopefully the items I write will be of use to someone out there. With any luck they might even pop a note in the comments to let me know I was able to do a decent job.

Thank you for sticking with me through this year, and I look forward to an interesting New Year!