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The best things and stuff of 2016

Dec 29, 2016

Great things and people that I discovered, learned, read, met, etc. in 2016. No particular ordering is implied. Not everything is new.

also: see the lists from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010

Great blog posts read

Most viewed blog posts by me

I’ve been scaling back on blogging the past two years 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, but there are a few that I “found” in 2016 that are stellar.

Favorite non-technical books read

Number of books read

a bunch

Number of books published


Number of books written

0.01 (an outline)

Favorite musicians discovered

Interesting games discovered

  • King ChocolateUgly as heck, but a fun abstract game about production line management and shared incentives.
  • PatchworkA game that follows a simple formula (buttons / time) but the tenseness lies in squeezing just a little more from the formula than the other player.
  • MeMAn old game that’s long out of print but that can be made from things laying around the house. MeM is a brain-melting pattern matching game requiring healthy doses of lateral thinking.
  • Night Witches RPGI only just started exploring RPGs after many years on pause, but this is the best I’ve seen so far.
  • 1817A very heavy game of stock manipulation and holding centered on the early locomotive industry. Not for the weak of heart.
  • So Long SuckerA game invented by John Nash to explore game theory using only a handful of poker chips. Utterly nasty and backstabby. You have been warned.
  • TramwaysA medium-heavy game centered on building tramways and transporting people around the city. The best take on Age of Steam (an all-time favorite for me) since Age of Steam.
  • Pyramid ArcadeMy personal game of the year (but I’m biased in favor of friends — grain of salt and all that). A game-kit built on the Looney Pyramids game system with the rules for 22 games included and the materials for literally hundreds more.

Favorite science fiction TV series

Black Mirror

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, Datalog

Programming languages (and related) that I hope to explore next year

  • RustOSDev in Rust. Need I say more?
  • BlackOne more try!
  • IdrisIdris is probably the most exciting language that I’ve seen since I found Clojure.
  • Prolog (yet again again)

Favorite papers discovered (and read)

My paper reading has taken a big hit this year thanks to various reasons (one of which I mention later) but here are a few.

  • Implementing Function Spreadsheets by Peter Sestoft (PDF) – Spreadsheets are infinitely fascinating.
  • A History and Discography of the Oboe in Jazz by Kimberly Everett Ganong (PDF) – My son plays oboe, so I was interested in the topic for a while.
  • Adding a third stack to a Forth engine by Rick VanNorman and Phil Koopman (PDF) – I read this in preparing for REP<3 003 but never did anything with it.

Still haven’t read…

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

Favorite technical conference attended

Clojure/West 2016 (Seattle)

Favorite code read

  • GenodeAs an old fan of OSKit, Genode really scratches an itch for me.
  • TerrainMap generation with JS.
  • LlamaDBAn SQL DB in Rust.
  • intermezzOSAn OS in Rust.
  • BarlimanA smart text editor (more interesting than you think).

Life-changing technology “discovered”

State of plans from 2016

  • Publish (at least) two issues of Read-Eval-Print-λove – Volume 003 was about Forth and Volume 4 is about Production Rules. Two issues yes, but V003 was practically done this time last year. (1/2 Success)
  • Apply 100:10:1 to other areas of my creative life – Huge win! A nice side effect is that I’ve “throw away” more code and words than ever. I consider this a good thing. (Success)
  • Release Tathata. (Fail)
  • Create a programming language that “speaks to me” – (In progress)
  • Read 100 books – (Success)
  • Take more time to discover new music. (1/2 Success)

Plans for 2017

  • Dive back into Prolog – I used Prolog quite a bit in grad school and even got onto a Visual Prolog project early in my career. At one point I built a very small implementation in Java based on the ideas in Campbell’s ‘Implementations of Prolog‘ that I’d like to resurrect as part of…
  • Restore my personal PLZoo – I have a bunch of little languages that I’ve hacked on over the years that I’d like to collect into a coherent “programming language zoo” a la Andrej Bauer’s inspiring work.
  • Read 100 books
  • (Finally) Start a hardware project.
  • Write six blog posts – Luu has inspired me to pick this up again.
  • Garden my website.
  • Attend one tech conference.
  • Visit Europe – I’m thinking Austria.
  • Two installments of Read-Eval-Print-λove in 2017.
  • Listen more.

Onward to 2017!


3 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. wizardodd

    it’s a joy to reading ur blog, really cool! thx

  2. easing

    From China, came across your blog through “planet Clojure”, it is really fun to read “the best of ” series every year. Lots of interesting stuff. thx very much. Pls keep it on!.

  3. Ahmad Bamieh

    I love your blog, youre inspiring me to start my own blogging journey!

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