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The best things and stuff of 2015

Dec 29, 2015

Great things and people that I discovered, learned, read, met, etc. in 2015. No particular ordering is implied. Not everything is new.

also: see the lists from 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010

Great blog posts read

Most viewed blog posts by me

I’ve been scaling back on blogging this past year and have tried something different instead – Read-Eval-Print-λove. That said, there were a couple of high-traffic posts on my blog.

Favorite technical books discovered (and read)

I’ve intentionally reduced the number of technical books that I consume lately, but there are a few that I “found” in 2015 that are stellar.

Favorite non-technical books read

Number of books read

a bunch

Number of books published


Number of books written


Number of books abandoned


Favorite musicians discovered

Interesting games discovered

  • Piquet – a fun trick-taking game from the 1500s.
  • Age of Steam – a nasty (in a good way) game about trains and delivering goods.
  • Northern Pacific – a game about connecting train routes through the Pacific Northwest.
  • Slither – the second-best use for a Goban.
  • Neue Heimat – a nasty (again, in a good way) auction game.

Favorite TV series about zombies

The Walking Dead

Favorite programming languages (or related) I’ve hacked on/with this year

Clojure, ClojureScript, Haskell, Datalog, Erlang, Frink

Programming languages used for work-related projects this year

Clojure, ClojureScript, Java, JavaScript, Datalog, Ruby

Programming languages that I hope to explore next year

  • Rust — OSDev is Rust. Need I say more?
  • CrystalThis just came onto my radar, so I still don’t know much about it yet.
  • BlackAfter seeing Nada Amin’s keynote I was compelled to run out and find out more about Black. Maybe this year I’ll actually use it.
  • IdrisIdris is
    probably the most exciting language that I’ve seen since I found Clojure.

Favorite papers discovered (and read)

  • Optimization of Series Expressions by Richard Waters (PDF) – a description of “Transducers” in Common Lisp that attempt to solve a similar problem as Clojure’s Transducers, but from a different angle.
  • Higher-order symbolic execution for contract verification and refutation by Phuc C. Nguyen, Sam Tobin-Hochstadt, David Van Horn (Arvix) – Racket is the gift that keeps on giving.
  • Modular implicits by Leo White, Frederic Bour, and Jeremy Yallop (PDF) – I think I need to read this a few more times to really appreciate its amazingness.
  • Programming in an interactive environment the “LISP” experience by Eric Sandewall (PDF) – How does your “interactive development environment” compare?
  • The Reactive Engine by Alan Kay – Kay’s thesis.
  • Machine Learning: The High-Interest Credit Card of Technical Debt (PDF) by D. Sculley, Gary Holt, Daniel Golovin, Eugene Davydov, Todd Phillips, Dietmar Ebner, Vinay Chaudhary, and Michael Young – ML is always amazing right? Maybe not.
  • Does Having Boys or Girls Run in the Family? (PDF) by Joseph Lee Rodgers and Debby Doughty – Destroying common misconceptions one by one with math.

Still haven’t read…

Snow Crash, Spook Country, A Fire upon the Deep, Norwegian Wood, The Contortionists Handbook and a boat-load of scifi

Favorite conference attended

I don’t really like conferences much anymore.

Favorite code read

Life-changing technology discovered

State of plans from 2014

  • Publish (at least) one issue of Read-Eval-Print-λove – I’m right on the cusp of completing a Forth-centric installment, so I’ll count this as a success.
  • UCT in Clojure – I decided to do it in Java instead to play around with Java8.
  • Treaps in Clojure – Failure
  • Release secret project PhenomenaI’ve completely changed how I work on and release open source code.
  • Publish a card game of my own design – Failure.
  • Implement Lines of Action in an interesting language – Another Java8 project that I completed to my satisfaction.
  • Contribute to other peoples’ OSS projects more often – moderately successful as many of my contributions have not yet seen the light of day.

Plans for 2016

  • Publish (at least) two issues of Read-Eval-Print-λove (not counting the one mentioned above)
  • Apply 100:10:1 to other areas of my creative life
  • Release Tathata
  • Create a programming language that “speaks to me”
  • Read 100 books
  • Take more time to discover new music

Onward to 2016!


13 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. chabes

    +1 for zakir hussain and mississippi john hurt. two legends.

    great lists. thanks for sharing!

  2. Will you read “A Fire upon the Deep” in 2016? :)

    As always, great list.

  3. Yasser

    +1 for “Blues People” and “Between the World and Me”.

  4. oldo.nicho

    Ditto on the +1 for Zakir Hussain! Have you checked out Shakti? Some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard in my life and features Zakir on the tabla. Have a listen to ‘Get Down and Sruti’ for an intro. Cheers!

  5. Rickhap

    Give a listen to Bill Laswell and MATERIAL.

  6. Janne

    Did you forget to update the years in ‘State of plans from 2014’ and ‘Plans for 2015’ ?

  7. d

    I think you may like the tis-100 game

  8. Jon

    Have you looked at

  9. Burroughs B5000 represent!

    Every time I read about that system, I want to start a project to explore new hardware/system designs. In my personal 100:10:1 list, it keeps showing up.

    Maybe this year I will resolve get an FPGA kit and see what I can do. Let’s make 2016 the year of the forgotten architectures. :)

  10. Re “Handbook of LISP functions”: Harold V. McIntosh, who was the sponsor of the activity leading to that manual, passed away on 30 November 2015: see and .

  11. Badiuzzaman

    Hi there,

    First of all I would like to give you a cool thanks for the great article. And always one of my favorite maestro is Zakir Hussain. I love the sound and way he playing tabla.

    Thanks Badiuzzaman

  12. Great list, found lots of gems here, especially the non programming books.

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