2023: A Year in Review
2023 has been an interesting year for the channel. Quite a few things got accomplished and nearly just as many have been left in a state of completion that I was hoping were further along than where they are now. It reminds me of the quote: “Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.” I want to start by thanking all viewers and supporters of the channel this year and in years past. The comments, likes, conversations, DMs, Discord messages and more mean so very much to me. Special thanks to those of you who keep me in supply of material through borrows, donations and more. Knowing that this information is valuable to people lights a fire like you cannot imagine and I want you to know that I appreciate each and every single one of you. The events of this year and previous years would not be possible without you.
Regardless, there are a few things I wanted to highlight that happened throughout the year.
The first is just the overall steady growth of this website which serves as a hub for all things channel-related. It also is a repository for the articles I write in place of videos. The other purpose is to report updates or addendums to existing videos where it makes more sense to write it all down versus producing another video that may or may not be adequately discovered. Thanks to everyone who found this site through various avenues and shared the content. I hope it was and continues to be helpful to those who discover it.
YouTube numbers remained steady this year. Subscriber rates have been consistent throughout the year as have other metrics. Generally speaking, the channel experienced a 10% lull in most statistics compared to previous years. I suspect that is primarily due to a few busy months where I was unable to produce the content I wanted to when I wanted to. There were also a few things that shoved around my release schedule. Another interesting point for my channel is videos on average do much better about 6+ months after they release. That is to say, the videos get more views as they age, except for Shorts of course. Whether that is due to the algorithm or other factors, I’m not sure. I’m not concerned about the current process or content having an impact on this statistic as I’ve historically seen the videos pick up as the topic trends after the creation of the video; sometimes months, even years.
I’d love to expand a few things with the channel but I’m also aware there are barriers. Time is one of them. The channel is a wonderful hobby that I enjoy but it isn’t a source of income, nor do I seek it out to be one or I’d be doing things very differently. My film space needs work and I have a few ideas but I also know there is a great deal I don’t know so that slows down the process. Editing and thumbnails is also a time sink. All that being said, I have dreams and goals but right now, as a team of one, that is challenging to achieve. The other worth mentioning is the budget. YouTube ad revenue brings in a few hundred a month which goes right back into the channel, often to acquire machines to film and the occasional gear for filming but I’m conscious about how I spend that money. Sponsorships that involve money do not fit the current model or goals I have for the channel and that of course introduces challenges but I’m okay with that. All that being said, the channel marches forward and I hope that you enjoy the content I can produce given my current limitations.
Please enjoy some of the highlights from 2023 I’ve outlined below and here is to an amazing 2024.
IBM ThinkPad 350C. This video currently is the oldest ThinkPad that functions in my collection and that I’ve featured on the channel. It was fun to acquire and get it ready to film. It also came with a carrying case and an adapter to let you plug it into a 12V car port.
February was quieter as I was deep into testing the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16. Lots of testing and filming happened this month which meant that resources were focused there and not on other areas.
Interviewing Dr. Ted Selker. Being able to connect with this genius was a pleasure. Learning about the development of the TrackPoint and his other efforts was amazing and I’m grateful for the time he spent speaking with me.
This month I was working on something that is still under wraps for now along with a few other videos. We shall see what the future holds for that project.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T430 line is probably one of the most diverse product lines ever fielded under a single-name designation. The article below discusses all the different experiments that occurred. It wasn’t going to be a video as the likelihood of having all those machines under the safe roof again is not high.
Keyboard Talk. I’ve written a lot of ThinkPad keyboards over the years and this article ended up being a summary of many thoughts I had on the subject. The bottom line is, there isn’t a bad ThinkPad keyboard. People will certainly have their preferences but I’ve learned to enjoy them all for different reasons.
Project Monarch. I’d been wanting to talk about the IBM ThinkPad 701c for years. The challenge was twofold: getting a unit operational that I could film and collecting the information on the device. Both were difficult. Finding a working machine within the budget for the channel was tricky and ultimately happened due to collaboration with a viewer like you. Collecting information was something I was finding significant success with and that became its own barrier in a way. I kept learning more and more which meant I knew the full story was not in my grasp so I wasn’t ready to produce the video I wanted to make. Eventually, after years, I got to the point where I could produce the first video and be happy with it.
The goal is to produce more videos in this series as time moves on.
There is not much going on in August due to travel and school work. How dull right?
Revisiting the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 was something I knew I needed to do. The original Project Kodachi series was a critical turning point for the channel and I cherish that series and what it started with Think Design Stories and interviews in general. Over the years since Project Kodachi, I learned ever more about the X300 and knew supplemental material would be needed. That led to the creation of this article.
Going to Lenovo Tech World was the highlight of October. This was my first in-person technology conference and a wonderful experience. I got to meet a lot of great people and see some awesome excellent technology. The article below contains all the details.
The release of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 G1. I was testing this for several months and had the chance to test two physical devices. It certainly had a longer development cycle than some machines but it was necessary to make sure it was a successful product launch. It did mean I was “sitting” on these videos for quite some time after they were filmed but I was thrilled to be part of this process and I hope it will happen again in the future.
This busy month of real life kept me well away from my film space. It wasn’t exactly how I wanted to end the year but that’s the reality sometime. At the very least I wanted to write this article before the year’s end. I was trying to track down a rare ThinkPad to feature on the channel, one that I have been looking for since the first part of this year, the 755CV or 755CDV. I thought I had one and when it arrived, it became clear the whole top case had been replaced with a stock 755 lid meaning the most unique part wasn’t even present. Back to the drawing board.