Well, here we are at the backside of another year. To say this year has been a tough one would be the understatement to end all understatements. 2020 has been a year of outsized devastation, loss, pain and suffering for all. We’ve all had to play a supportive role in each-other’s lives more than ever this year, and I feel it is vitally important that we recognize those who took the time out of their lives to keep us living ours as happily and freely as possible. Hence why this year, I’ve decided to try something new in the form of a countdown of 15 people who have been the most awesome to me over the past 12 months. Not all of these 15 people have necessarily played a supportive role in my life, but they have just been cool people in general with the content they’ve provided, the things they’ve said or done etc.
It was very hard to squeeze this list down to just 15 people. So many more people deserve to be on this list. However, TLDR is not what I aim for here. Also, perhaps inevitably, not everyone took just 1 position on the list; there were ties.
Because this list features people in my personal life, not just those I know online, I’ve taken a number of steps to ensure that everyone’s privacy is protected as much as possible.
- First, I requested the prior permission of all offline (real life) friends featured in this list before featuring them, which they all granted.
- In the case of real names, only the first letter of a person’s surname will be shown. If someone has a common online handle or nick name, that will be used instead. Only if a feature uses their real name in public will it be mentioned here.
- No references to places of work or residence will be mentioned.
I honestly don’t care about your feelings towards the people featured on this list. If you personally dislike someone mentioned on this countdown, don’t go spouting off in here. Remember, WordPress uses an approval system for comments, meaning comments haved to be accepted by the site owner (me in this case) before they can show up on posts. Any negative or hurtful comments towards anyone mentioned here will be rejected without a second thought. Now, without any further ado, let’s proceed!
The bottom of the pile
Why so many people haven’t heard of this guy, I’ll never know. If you like crazy tech experiments, retrospectives, hardware and software overviews and demos, history lessons… basically anything tech related, MJD’s your guy! The downside, however, is that he only seems to accept business related communication one-to-one. If this wasn’t the case, I would have placed him considerably higher. He still qualifies for this list none the less. To experience this technological craziness for yourself, check out his YouTube channel.
14: The Nostalgia Mall and the Flying Scotsman
The Nostalgia Mall and the Flying Scotsman, otherwise known as Billy Core and Jay Wakefield respectively, are 2 YouTubers with a target audience of retro hardware and software lovers and nostalgia freaks. Those who know me well will know that I’m a sucker for the old school stuff. Billy and Jay are both retro tech collectors and have been on the scene for a good while. Long time viewers might remember Billy as “Road Geek” and Jay as “VideosSansFrontier”, which is french for “Videos Without Boarders”.
Like MJD, however, they are kind of hard to communicate with outside of their main platforms, which knocks them down a place or 2. In my view, any kind of communication is key, regardless of how it’s done or what it’s for. Billy and Jay’s YouTube accounts are listed below.
13: Brandon Cole
Brandon Cole, also known as Super Blindman, is the closest to an activist you can get, especially when it comes to accessibility in video games. He has expressed excitement for many video game titles that were made accessible this year, with one notable example being The Last of Us: Part 2. He even copilots the Break Down Walls movement with his wife Misty Rayburn. After you’re finished reading this, why not check out Brandon’s website and his Twitch channel.
12: Andre Louis
Andre is another one of those guys who is more unheard of than he really should be. He is a blind musician from the UK and has been highlighted many times in the media, including the BBC’s The world wide web’s a stage article. He even has his own YouTube channel. Oh, and he’s also a Friday Night Dinner fan. Can’t beat the classics, eh?
11: The King Cobra (AKA Angel)
If you need someone to talk to when you’re feeling low, or someone to brighten up your day when you lose your smile, Angel is the one to turn to. I’ve had many a conversation with him during the lockdown period and have always felt better as a result. He knows how you’re feeling and understands what you’re going through.
The Top Ten
10: Destructatron and Supremekiller
Despite the latter’s handle, these people are both really nice in their own way. Like Angel, SK is nothing but an empath who is always willing to help you out no matter what. Destructatron, meanwhile, is your funny, quick-witted tech support guy. He also knows how the community feels when some tech illiterate newbie doesn’t know what the hell’s going on and freaks the hell out at the sight of a terminal when they fly over to Linux. Remember guys, Linux is for code crackers and server admins, not people who don’t know what a god damn power button is!
I’ve known this guy for a couple years now. He’s the one for you if you want someone in your life who is strong willed and doesn’t take any crap from anyone. He’s also a good online gamer. I’ve been severely beaten in pretty much every game I’ve played with him. I predict many more years of severe in-game beatings.
8: Leanne E
Leanne has helped me a great deal during the dark and depressing lockdown months. She was always an email away, and always ready to dish up some witty reply to brighten the mood. I get along more with people who have a dry sense of humour than those who take things to heart and are angry all the time. Why so damn serious, dude! Hypersensitivity gets you nowhere in life.
7: Jade H
How could anyone possibly say anything negative about this person? Her sense of humour is better than mine, and that’s saying something. I’ve only known her for 5 minutes and she’s already in the top 10 of my MVP list? Wow, she must be good! She’s the type of person that makes you see that you’re not alone in your stresses in life. She sees more good in you than you think you have.
6: Lauren H
While not as technically minded as me, Lauren is quite the retro game console fan. She was also there for me a lot during the lockdown. Her sense of humour is also second to none.
5: Helen T
I always feel at home when she’s around. During the early part of lockdown when COVID19 was all over the news and my stress levels were through the ceiling, she was the one who pulled me back from the edge, replying pretty much instantly to any cyberspace message that came her way. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without this woman in my life. This year probably would have ended up like 2013 if it wasn’t for her.
4: Aly T
The fact that Aly is a huge fan of both the IT Crowd and Friday Night dinner because of me is not why she’s number 4 on this list. The real reason is that she was one of my first points of contact during those times of social isolation and quarantine, when the situation was starting to affect my physical health as well as my mental. She made me see that it’s perfectly OK to breathe easy and that health is much more important than work.
3: Richie W
You can’t get any more geeky and off-the-wall than this guy. He literally ticks all my boxes. Nerdy? Check. Loves the Simpsons and Futurama? Check. Loves sci-fi? Check. Wants every PC in the world to run Windows XP? Check. Would sooner consume content on CD or DVD than wait 6 weeks for a digital download? Check, check and check!
2: Gary W
There are a number of reasons why this man is the runner up at number 2.
He has supported me and held my hand through every major breakdown I’ve had over the last 3 years, including before my PTSD started in 2018.
- He was the one who sinngle-handedly ignited my passion for retro gaming and emulation.
- He inspired me to fight for digital accessibility for everyone, playing a part in the events that lead to the launch of the House of Fireseed.
- He is receptive to everyone’s thoughts, opinions and feelings and is willing to go out of his way to fight your corner.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Drum roll, please!
1: Jonathan Kay
Seizing the top spot this year is the guy who has ultimately become one of my all time favourite people in the short time I’m known him. It’s the Messenger Geek himself, Jonathan Kay! An ex Microsoft MVP, Kay provided support for MSN and Windows Live messenger for many years. Of course, that was up until Microsoft decided to purchase Skype and turn it into a clunky, laggy, inaccessible mess that’s more bloated than Homer Simpson after his obesity mission back in season 7. Thank you for feeding my nostalgic fires and bringing me back to my childhood roots before everything went to hell in a handbasket. We need more Trekies in the world, just like we need pre-2010 Microsoft back. Check out Jonathan’s website and blog.
And there it is, my top 15 most awesome people of 2020. Once again, well done to Jonathan Kay for bagging the top spot and becoming my official MVP of 2020. Apologies to everyone I had in mind who didn’t make this list. Who knows, you could be in the list next year. Here’s hoping 2021 is a better year for all of us!