Great things and people that I discovered, learned, read, met, etc. in 2012. No particular ordering is implied. Not everything is new.
Great blog posts read
A short lesson in perspective — easily the best post of 2012 in my mind.
Exponential decay of history — very interesting ideas in cache invalidation
Why not events — much of this struck home as I read this during a time when I was discovering these lessons the hard way
The nine circles of Hell, as depicted in Lego — My favorite Lego project of the year
microjs — I really admire the intent here and I’d love to see the same effort for other languages
Lang.Next 2012 video archive — much wisdom here
The personal analytics of my life — Wolfram’s dogged drive to collect data on his life, day in, day out, over the course of decades.
Juergen Schmidhuber’s home page — a panoply of amazing things
A Yesod tutorial — I had great plans to create something with this post as a basis, but alas… still a great post though.
Relational shell programming — a very nice introduction to relational algebra by Matt Might using bash, cat, sed, etc…
APL is more French than English — I had never read this before this year and loved it.
How to Host a Dungeon — A highly addictive game that I found this year.
Joyce’s Ulysses – complete audio — nuff said
Engelbart’s Violin — A beautiful post about keyboards and chording and enhancing the human potential.
Most viewed blog posts by me
10 Technical Papers Every Programmer Should Read (At Least Twice) — My most popular post of 2011 was also my most popular of 2012 — go figure.
Favorite technical books discovered (and read)
Warren’s Abstract Machine: a tutorial reconstruction by Hassan Aït-Kaci — I’ll need to go through this a few more times to truly get it, but it’s clear that it’s something special.
Real World Haskell by Bryan O’Sullivan, Don Stewart, and John Goerzen — I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this, but I’m thankful that I finally did.
The Recursive Universe: Cosmic Complexity and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge by William Poundstone — A beautiful book about cellular automata that I learned of via the inimitable Reginald Braithwaite.
Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing by Thierry Bardini — a wonderful book about one of the true pioneers of computing, his philosophy and his dismissal that I found via Stanislav Datskovskiy.
Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert — I’ve read bits and pieces of Papert’s works, but I finally had the pleasure to read his most famous work.
Electronic Music Review — a long dead journal, but still a compelling read.
Favorite non-technical books read
Borges: A Life by Edwin Williamson — an account of the life of one of my favorite authors who was less messed up than I thought.
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin — I’ve wanted to read this for years, but could never find an affordable copy. It was well worth the wait.
The Idiot by Dostoevsky — through some odd confluence of events I’ve never read Dostoevsky, so it was very nice to finally read this tense, yet approachable work.
Botchan by Natsume Soseki — written in 1906 in Japan this book has a surprisingly modern feel.
The Machinery of Life by David Goodsell — learned of this through Alan Kay and was blown away by it. Amazing illustrations and understandable explanations are a humbling inspiration for someone who’s tried to teach a technical topic.
The Purple Cloud by MP Shiel — unbelievably dark
The Star Rover by Jack London — in American high schools many kids are made to read London’s Call of the Wild. A truly progressive school would assign this gem.
The Rings of Saturn by Sebald — falls right in the vein of House of Leaves, Kafka, Ovid and the works of Borges.
Number of books read
Number of books published
Number of books written
⅛ + ¼
Number of papers read
Number of papers read deeply
Language zoo additions
Favorite musicians discovered
Rishloo, Anika, Delia Derbyshire, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Stereolab, Ghost, Klaus Nomi, Television Sky, Silver Apples, Belong
Favorite TV series about zombies
The Walking Dead
Favorite programming languages (or related)
Programming languages used for projects both professional and not
Favorite papers discovered (and read)
META II: A syntax-oriented compiler writing language by Val Schorre
Behavioral Software Contracts by Robby Findler
L – A Common Lisp for Embedded Systems by Rodney Brooks and Charles Rosenberg
Reasonable Lisp by Christian Queinnec (via @bigthingist)
Still haven’t read…
Snow Crash, Spook Country, A Fire upon the Deep, Ulysses, Programmer avec Scheme, Norwegian Wood, The Contortionists Handbook, Usagi Yojimbo and a boat-load of scifi
Best conference attended
People met, read, worked with, followed, and/or corresponded with whom motivated and/or influenced me greatly and always made me think
My wife, my kids, Chris Houser, Rich Hickey, David Nolen, Stuart Halloway, Russ Olsen, Peter Seibel, Sam Aaron, Brenton Ashworth, Craig Andera, Brian McKenna, Outlaw Vern, Jim Weirich, Jeremy Ashkenas, Oleg Kiselyov, Dave Herman, Mahmud, Carin Meier, Ambrose Bonnaire-Sergeant, Phil Bagwell, and Reginald Braithwaite.
Favorite code read
- Long Nguyen’s META II
- Datomic (when I had access)
- Chouser’s JaM
- Contiki OS
- Write Yourself a Scheme in 48 Hours
Life changing technology discovered
State of plans from 2011
More Ruby — I pulled this off while working at Relevance but have scaled back since leaving. I do miss it from time to time.
Read more fiction — underway
(at least) one big software project — not a big one, although I have the seeds of a big one in place.1
More concatenative — huge fail
Pescetarianism (redux) — huge fail (again)
Website redux — partial success
macronomicon.org — on hold
Super-secret project — the aforementioned seeds
Super-duper-secret project — this was in reference to Datomic
Plans for 2012
- Ariadne (the super-secret project)
- More concatenative
- Participate in the PLT Games
- No talks unless I have code to show
See you next year.
I worked on a few big work projects that I’m proud to have learned from and I hope at least one will come open source one day. Another, a fairly large test framework, was also done by someone else much smarter than me so I decided to scrap what I had and just use theirs. I suspect it’ll be generally available sometime soon. ↩