Moving Into 2009

January 2, 2009.

Two-thousand eight was a pretty eventful year. From Japan to Jersey, and teaching english to teaching myself Perl. My blog turned a year old, traffic moved up, and content relevency meandered in haphazard and unguided circles from Django to Perl to my fledgling efforts at writing essays. Luke and I founded Monocle Studios LLC, released our first game, and made our first buck selling a product instead of selling ourselves (the grass is greener). I was given the opportunity to give my first public technical talk.

2008 has been a good year, but looking back on it, progress has been pretty linear. If we consider Malcolm Gladwell's newest pop science, then I've been investing hours towards reaching the ten thousand hours required for mastery in programming, but I've been too focused, and have been neglecting other areas. If we live for eighty years and sleep eight hours a day, then we have 467200 hours in our lives to devote towards masteries. I've been going pretty hard on this technical stuff for the past three years, and if I don't start diversifying I know where I'll end up in a decade. It isn't a bad place, but I don't want to know where I'll be in a decade. If I know, then I've chosen a path with too safe by far.

I have a few priorities--resolutions one might say--for this year.

  1. Keep writing.

    • One article each week focused on making a computer science topic accessible to layman programmers who never graduated from a computer science program. There is a lot of confusion about computer science: it's hard, it's programming, it isn't programming, left is right, up is down and there is no spoon.

      Like with everything else, I think comp sci suffers from mediocre presentation, and that with a bit of effort it can be accessible and valuable to anyone who has ever typed a few lines into an interpreter.

    • Write one essay each month. In general, I don't think anyone gives a damn about my essays, because I haven't done anything to justify my opinion as valid or interesting. But I also believe that too much technical writing sucks the joy out of writing for me. My opinion doesn't particularly matter, but not that much other shit matters either.

  2. Keep working.

    • Monocle Studios is going to grow this year. We're going to release some really good stuff. I love getting to design and implement entire applications. Getting good enough to actually sell the applications, that's a mighty tasty gravy.

    • I'm looking to transition from a contractor to a full-time employee at my core contracting gig. I have to keep my options open and do the right thing for myself and the others involved, but I like the whole going to the office, seeing the people I work with routine. Working from home has its perks, but my sanity isn't necessarily one of them.

  3. Keep improving.

    • My two computer science weaknesses (self-assessed) are in operating systems and interpreters/compilers. I want finally get a grip on those, by writing an interpreter, writing a compiler, and at least doing some study of operating system design.

    • Get back on the math train. I've been off of it for about five years, and my perch was always a bit shaky. This is something I want to get back onto. I'm keeping my mind open about pursuing a PhD in a couple few years (for fun, you see), and I'll need to work on my math foundations before that pount.

    • I want to keep working on design and graphics. I actually feel like my grasp of the two has improved a whole lot, but only because I was starting at the dead bottom.

    • Get back into studying Japanese and Spanish.

Mostly, my goal for the upcoming year is to keep myself open to new opportunities and to see what is before me instead of following the paths I plan for myself in my mind's vacuum.

Good luck to all of you. Let's move forward together.