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The best things and stuff of 2022

Dec 13, 2022

Great things and people that I discovered, learned, read, met, etc. in 2022. No particular ordering is implied. Not everything is new.

also: see the lists from 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010

I’m releasing this year’s post early due to upcoming travel, so please hold off creating great works for me to discover until the new year!

Great posts | articles | talks read/watched

  • Early Artificial Intelligence ProjectsPrompted by a discussion with Will Byrd I decided too look deeper at the early history of AI and trace it forward in hopes of finding topics and research that fell out of favor and why. This article was mildly useful for that agenda but it is a decent survey of the AI field.
  • Kathleen Sully, the Vanished NovelistBrad Bigelow talks about the long-forgotten British novelist Kathleen Sully including a fantastic rundown of most of her books with an attempt to learn why she faded from the public consciousness. The post motivated me to look into Sully’s fiction more and I have a queue of her fiction waiting for me.
  • Predicting the tide with an analog computer made from LegoThe idea of minimalist computing devices is taken to the next level by Pepijn de Vos wherein he discusses a device made from Lego that implements Sir William Thomson’s tide predicting approach.
  • Magic Realm epic reviewMagic Realm is a game steeped in nostalgia for me. The game is common considered one of the most complicated (and fiddly) tabletop board games ever devised. While that may be true to a degree, learning the game is helped by knowing someone who already knows the game to teach you. The Anomalous Host attempts to be that person for the world and while jumping in to the game may still require effort, they do a great job of spreading the joy of Magic Realm.
  • The ‘Shamanification’ of the Tech CEOThis post may have the grossest string of English words to ever have been concatenated. That said, Manvir Singh does a good job of sketching the techniques that modern tech CEOs use to project an otherness and an outsider nature in similar ways to the shamans of past. Singh’s research on shamanism is fascinating and he’s very vocal about what he’s looking at and thinking about. and is well-worth a follow.
  • ZX81 Goes Nuclear – Controlling a Nuclear Power PlantJohn Newcombe runs through the retro use of the ZX81 as the control center for a nuclear power plant, and even emulates the power plant! A chunk of Uranium-238 makes a surprise appearance.
  • The Eeriness of the English CountrysideRobert Macfarlane does a masterful job of expressing the motivating forces of the English countryside on the great works of the weird and eerie.
  • How Aphex Twin made Selected Ambient Works 85-92This post mostly discusses the gear used by Richard D. James to create his seminal electronic album but touches on and links to additional articles on the techniques used as well. As a kid I would have killed for James’ rig — and still might.

Most viewed blog posts by me

  • The one about Lisp interactivityI wrote about what makes the Lisp development experience different than a more common workflow such as when using Java.
  • 1OOAn ongoing research project to identify (and eventually read) 100 non-mainstream and quirky object-oriented books — and a few papers.
  • QuirkeysAn ongoing project to run through the quirky computing books in the my personal library. I’ve scaled way back on my Twitter posting so this series is on pause until I can find another medium to use moving forward.

Favorite technical books discovered (and read)

  • HP-71 Forth ROM Owner Manual by HP – Describes the form and use of the HP-71 Forth programming system. This is as dry a manual as they come but it does serve as an interesting specification of a kernel-forth outline. This book is a bit difficult to find at a reasonable price, but something like Forth – A Text and Reference or Forth Fundamentals: Language Glossary might be passable stand-ins.
  • CLU Reference Manual by Barbara Liskov, et al. – CLU is an interesting entry in the proto-OO language landscape and pioneered many of the features in the 1970s that I used extensively in the 1990s.
  • The “Compulator” Book Building Super Calculators & Mini Computer Hardware With Calculator Chips by Robert Haviland – A shining example of a “Compulator” is the HP 9100A which was loved by Woz and possibly the first personal computer. The book touches on this interesting branch on the history of computing by discussing, at a very high level, the architectures of such machines. Sadly, there is very little in the book that would help one build their own compulator. The relevance of this book has long since passed, but its spirit lives on in the modern maker culture and SBC-centric projects found all over the WWW.

Favorite non-technical books read

  • The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen – This entry is a bit of a cheat because I read it many years ago when I was a teenager and either forgot most of it or (more likely) didn’t appreciate the intricacies at the time. The story follows Lucian, a doomed author who’s gradual slide to ultimate demise forms the basis of the story. Machen does a great job of maintaining the central mystery, that being the roots of Lucian’s degeneracy. Was he touched by the fae, or is he irrevocably broken? The descriptions of the scenery are amazing and have prompted me to adopt a new term into my lexicon: Machenesque. If you like the works of Algernon Blackwood, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, or J.K. Huysmans’ Against Nature then I think you’ll like Hill of Dreams.
  • Fifty Forgotten Books by R.B. Russell – Russell’s book appears to be a list of interesting books on the surface but he does a great job of weaving the discussions into an autobiographical account. If you enjoy books about books, especially those in the vein of the works of Michael Dirda and Nicholas Basbanes then this one is worth checking out.
  • The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography by A.J.A. Symons – Frederick Rolfe (aka Baron Corvo) is the author of the masterpiece work of fiction Hadrian the Seventh. He died an early and ignominious death in 1913 but not before publishing a handful of unique and unusual books. However, his greatest creations were the web of lies and misdeeds that defined his short and brutal life. Symons’ work is not a traditional biography and indeed he often inserts himself and those who knew Rolfe into the narrative as he describes his efforts to learn more about this troubled author. This is among the best books that I’ve read in the past 10-years. If you enjoy this book then you might also enjoy the works of Frederick Rolfe (Baron Corvo) himself, my favorite and his most famous being Hadrian the Seventh, the story of a scorned minor priest who becomes Pope and what he does thereafter.
  • The Van Roon by J.C. SnaithSnaith is a long-forgotten cricketer and author in varying genres into who’s ouevre I have decided to dive. The Van Roon is a simple but satisfying Dickens-esque drama about a miserly antiques seller and his upstart assistant with an eye for value and his downtrodden niece. The story proceeds briskly and along the paths that you may expect. You wouldn’t classify this book among the great works, but I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more by the author. Snaith’s availability on Project Gutenberg is growing steadily. It’s difficult to pin down the genre that Snaith operated in, but if you like the works of Charles Dickens or the book Riceyman Steps by Arnold Bennett then you might also like The Van Roon.
  • The Story of Mary MacLane by Mary MacLaneThe book is an early example of a confessional diary and provides a fascinating portrait of a young libertine living an isolated life in Butte around the turn of the century. In addition to vividly describing the proper way to eat an olive, Mary MacLane also talks about her undying love for Satan. She spends many pages pining over the dark lord and promising to wait for his return so that they may then marry. Honestly, her love for Satan is quite sweet, and the best advise that one can take from this gem is that you should try and find yourself someone who loves you like she loves Old Nick. The book is a quick read and worth a look if any of what I said seems appealing.

Number of books written or published


Number of programming languages designed

0.5 & 0.52

Favorite musicians / albums discovered

  • All the Pretty Little Horses by Current 93 – While exploring the works of Thomas Ligotti I came across his collaborations with David Tibet’s Current 93. Tibet is a fascinating character in his own right but I’ll hold off talking about him here. Instead, I streamed all of Current 93’s albums over the past year and landed on this gem, which seems to be inspired in large part by Ligotti’s work.
  • Birth of Violence by Chelsea Wolfe – Continuing my metal-studies I came across the fantastic Chelsea Wolfe and have enjoyed nearly everything that I’ve heard. Her heavy riffs and haunting voice make for something special.

Favorite show about cosmic horror with a fair share of Jamesian ghost stories

The Cabinet of Curiousities 3

Favorite films discovered

  • A Taste of Honey by – I started down the kitchen sink drama path and immediately hit what may be the pinnacle of the genre. The story follows Jo, a teenage girl who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand and the repercussions thereof. The film is well-oriented and beautifully acted — you can feel the disappointments of the characters spilling from the screen.
  • Sisters by Brian De Palma – This film was recommended by Jennifer Myers (who happens to have a great podcast Quiet Little Horrors) and it hit the bullseye. The film follows Danielle (Margot Kidder) who may or may not have a twin sister. The film does a great job of sustaining the ambiguity of reality and the tension of the plot throughout. A re-watch is required.x

Favorite podcasts

  • Decoding the GurusChristopher Kavanagh and Matthew Browne discuss and analyze the modern public intellectual sense-making guru culture. They very often dissect the rhetorical techniques and verbal sleights of hand of prominent meme-fueled charlatans.
  • The Art of DarknessKevin Kautzman and Brad Kelly look at the underbelly of the creative process and what it takes, and takes out of the creators, to create something significant and lasting.
  • Sonic SymbolismArtist Björk and guests discuss the times and trials around the creation of her musical output. You need not like Björk (I do) to enjoy the creative insights that she drops every episode.

Favorite games discovered

2022 was an exceedingly slow tabletop gaming year for me.

Favorite programming languages (or related) I hacked on/with on my own time

  • ForthI mostly spent my time going through the 79 and 83 standards in for the purpose of noodling about kernel-forths and the like. I’ve started on a basic implementation of my own version but have gotten side-tracked by interesting meta considerations.
  • JoyConcurrent to the Forth studies I’ve gone back to looking at its more functional cousin Joy. Much of the same meta-considerations have gotten in the way but I found it much easier to spike a PoC for Joy. I’ve been playing around with the idea of local binding via some sort of stack destructuring but haven’t fleshed out the edge-cases yet. More to come (hopefully).

Programming languages used for work-related projects

  • Clojure2022 marks the 13th year4 as a full-time Clojure programmer and the 1st year as a full-time Clojure core developer.
  • ClojureScriptLess-so now than when I was consulting full-time but I occasionally dig into explore the implications of changes to Clojure on CLJS.
  • DatalogThe Datomic flavor of Datalog is the flavor of choice for database access, be it in-process or in the cloud.
  • BabashkaI’ve used it a few times to throw together a few useful Clojure scripts like data generation and the like. It’s good fun and now a part of my programming utility belt.

Programming languages (and related) that I hope to explore more deeply

Pharo, Squeak, & SmalltalkAll of my exploration in various Smalltalks next year will focus on the development/debug/deployment confluence that’s uniquely Smalltalk and how the paradigm compares with a more Lisp-like paradigm.

Favorite papers discovered (and read)

Here are a few that I enjoyed in 2022.

Still haven’t read…

I Ching, A Fire upon the Deep, Don Quixote, and a boat-load of sci-fi

Favorite technical conference attended

No conferences again this year.

Favorite code read

  • IotaAn old project that missed my radar years ago. Implements an Io to JS compiler. There are some interesting tricks even while the project was never fully completed.
  • IchigoLispA LISP 1.5 compatible language written in webassembly.
  • PlanckForthA Forth bootstrapped in a hand-crafted ELF binary. As retro as it gets and a good lesson in the primitives needed to bootstrap a Forth.

Life-changing technology “discovered”

  • isfdbInternet Speculative Fiction DB

State of plans from 2021

  • Help get 1-2 Clojure releases out the doorClojure 1.11.0 and 1.11.1 both went out the door and version 1.12.0 is in the works.
  • Read Finnegans WakeComplete. What is it about? No idea.
  • Stay on the Forth way for hobby endeavorsHaving fun exploring and may one day have a usable system.
  • Build a Lisperati1000No progress made on this.
  • Continue making progress on my calculator projectA have a good portion of the software written with a fake key matrix on the front. Lots more to do.

Plans for 2023

  • Help get 1-2 Clojure releases out the door – Clojure 1.12.0 for certain and hopefully another release of a different breed altogether — time will tell
  • Write a gigantic post about cyberpunk. – research underway
  • Post more about REPLs – “The one about Lisp interactivity” was a start
  • Reboot the effort of writing and publishing a paper – I have some promising avenues to explore and hopefully share
  • Play more baseball – I’ve been a spectator for too long

2023 Tech Radar

People who inspired me in 2022 (in no particular order)

Yuki, Keita, Shota, Craig Andera, Carin Meier, Justin Gehtland, Rich Hickey, Nick Bentley, Paula Gearon, Zeeshan Lakhani, Brian Goetz, David Nolen, Jeb Beich, Paul Greenhill, Kristin Looney, Andy Looney, Kurt Christensen, Samm Deighan, David Chelimsky, Chas Emerick, Stacey Abrams, Paul deGrandis, Nada Amin, Michiel Borkent, Alvaro Videla, Slava Pestov, Yoko Harada, Mike Fikes, Dan De Aguiar, Christian Romney, Russ Olsen, Alex Miller, Adam Friedman, Tracie Harris, Alan Kay, Janet A. Carr, Warren Ellis, Naoko Higashide, Zach Tellman, Nate Prawdzik, JF Martel, Phil Ford, Nate Hayden, Sean Ross, Tim Good, Chris Redinger, Steve Jensen, Jordan Miller, Tim Ewald, Stu Halloway, Jack Rusher, Michael Berstein, Benoît Fleury, Rafael Ferreira, Robert Randolph, Joe Lane, Pedro Matiello, Jarrod Taylor, Jaret Binford, John Cooper, Conrad Barski, Amabel Holland, Ben Kamphaus.

Onward to 2023!


  1. and none on the horizon 

  2. my quest for concatenative enlightenment continues with some experimentation in forth-likes and joy-likes. nothing worth sharing yet. 

  3. The episode “The Autopsy” is worth the price of admission, though it’s not for the squeamish. 

  4. This is strictly my work-life time. My total use of Clojure has been longer. 

4 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Hey, you seem to read all kind of programming books! I think you haven’t heard about this one yet: Learn software development fundamentals and basics with help of GPTchat AI Can be found in amazon!

  2. someone

    you may enjoy looking into dawn

  3. Dmitry

    Hi Michael,

    always waiting for your best stuff posts! Thank you for adding podcasts to the mix.

    I thought you might enjoy the ‘Weathering Software Winter’ talk at Handmade Seattle this year:

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