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The best things and stuff of 2011

Dec 31, 2011

Great things and people that I discovered, learned, read, met, etc. in 2011. No particular ordering is implied. Not everything is new.

Great blog posts read

Most viewed blog posts by me

  1. 10 Technical Papers Every Programmer Should Read (At Least Twice)25% of the total hits for my site were on this post. I had to buy extra bandwidth from my provider… 3 times.

  2. Programming language development: the past 5 years

  3. Perlis Languages

Favorite technical books discovered (and read)

Favorite non-technical books read

Number of books read


Number of books published


Number of books written


Number of papers read

≈ 170

Number of papers read deeply

≈ 20

Favorite musicians discovered

Hobo Cubes, Fleet Foxes, Junip, Pulp, Raphael Toral, Deadmau5

Favorite TV series about zombies

The Walking Dead

Favorite programming languages (or related)

Clojure, ClojureScript, Haskell, Self, Qi, Factor, Datalog, OCaml, Ruby

Programming languages used for projects both professional and not

Clojure, Scala, Java, Python, JavaScript, SQL, Bash, make, Ruby, C, Common Lisp, Scheme, Prolog, Datalog, CoffeeScript, Haskell, OCaml

Favorite papers discovered (and read)

  • Growing a Syntax by Culpepper, et al.

  • Hygienic Macros through Explicit Renaming by Clinger

  • RRB-Trees: Efficient Immutable Vectors by Bagwell and Rompf

  • cKanren by Alvis, Friedman, and Byrd

  • An Accidental Simula User by Cardelli

  • Flapjax: A Programming Language for Ajax Applications by Meyerovich

  • KLEE: Unassisted and Automatic Generation of High-Coverage Tests for Complex Systems Programs by Cadar, et al.

Still haven’t read…

Snow Crash, Spook Country, A Fire upon the Deep, Ulysses, Programmer avec Scheme, Logic Programming and Databases, Norwegian Wood, The Contortionists Handbook, Usagi Yojimbo

Best conference attended

The second Clojure Conj

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, Christopher Houser, Christophe Grand, Rich Hickey, David Nolen, Stuart Halloway, David Liebke, Russ Olsen, Peter Seibel, Sam Aaron, Bob Nystrom, Brenton Ashworth, Anthony Simpson, Daniel Spiewak, Zachary Kim, Steve Yegge, Outlaw Vern, Meikel Brandmeyer, Chas Emerick, Jeremy Ashkenas, Oleg Kiselyov, Mark Tarver, Carin Meyer, Ambrose Bonnaire-Sergeant, Phil Bagwell, Clinton Nixon, Stuart Sierra, MenTaLguY, and Reginald Braithwaite.

Favorite code read


Everything on Wouter van Oortmerssen’s website


A Tiny C compiler in Forth



Christophe’s Game of Life

Life changing technology

Kindle DX

org-modeI’m really starting to come around.

Plans for 2012

  • More Ruby
  • Read more fiction
  • (at least) one big software project
  • More concatenative
  • Make my way through the core.logic README
  • Pescetarianism (redux)
  • Website redux
  • Super-secret project
  • Super-duper-secret project

See you next year.


18 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Very nice roundup! Lots of your 2011 stuff I’ll have to add to my 2012 list. +1 for “More concatenative” language study in 2012.

  2. Thanks for all the work on your blog this year. I really appreciate it. I don’t get a lot of time outside of work but I like to spend some of my free time here (and following @fogus on Twitter).

    Looking forward to 2012.

  3. MonkeyIsNull

    How the heck have you never read Snowcrash? Read it before you get too old.

  4. H Webb

    Can you comment on why the Kindle DX has been a life-changing technology for you? I am thinking about ordering one myself and would be curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks, HW

  5. Humza

    Thanks for an awesome list. By the way, was it “Plans for 2012” that you meant, not 2011?

  6. Did you mean to say “Plan for 2012”? :)

  7. Great list – thanks for putting it together and sharing it. You made me discover a few great gems.

  8. bubba

    Cool music discoveries, I love Fleet Foxed and Deadmau5 too. I highly recommend reading Snow Crash next for your fictional reading, it’s a great book.

  9. un.passant

    Thx for all theses interesting reading suggestions !

    I’d love it if you could blog about your org-mode usage : is it related to babel ? If yes, will there be some synergy with marginalia ?

    Best Regards (and happy programming year!)

  10. @un.passant

    There is not much to say at the moment about my org-mode usage. I’m a rank beginner; but I see the potential and love the possibilities.

  11. F_D

    You mentioned “Snow Crash” in last year’s “Still Haven’t Read”. I feel compelled to send you my copy (or at least a copy) and yet at the same time had this perverse desire to see it on here for many years to come.

  12. A draft of Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns is available at (I think those of us with a print copy are reluctant to put them on the used market – the used prices is pretty high unless you’re really going to want it.)

    I don’t know much about avout, but I abhor the comparison to javaspaces. It’s not at all like javaspaces. But most people have not taken the time to learn about javaspaces, just as I have not taken the time to learn about avout. At this point javaspaces is much better specified than avout.

    And I’ve run on too long. Happy New Year.

  13. Also, if you like SBPP, you’ll probably like Beck’s articles from The Smalltalk Report. Thankfully some of these are online too: (The Smalltalk Report was a fairly pricey print journal at the time.)

  14. This is my morning to comment. Looks like Amazon has Kent Beck’s Guide to Better Smalltalk for $10 (third party, fulfillment by Amazon).

    This is his entire collection of The Smalltalk Report articles. At least as good a read as SBPP.

  15. Interesting to see the fiction mentions.

    It’s your fault I’m now reading House of Leaves after the quote in The Joy of Clojure. It’s already becoming a time sink and mildly freaking me out :)

    I just finished The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, which I would heartily recommend, as well as Cloud Atlas (although it wouldn’t surprise me if you’d read these already).

  16. Rafael

    Fogus, could you tell us why you recommend the first edition of Bird & Wadler’s book, which uses Miranda, instead of the second, which uses Haskell? Somebody on Stackoverflow (see the link) recommended the second, so I was wondering…

  17. @Rafael

    The only reason that I recommend the 1st edition is that it’s the only version I’ve read so far. It was fantastic so I’ve not had a driving urge to read the 2nd edition yet.

  18. Rafael

    Thank you.

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