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2013: Year in review

The biggest and best event of 2013

We moved to Greece

So far this has been an overwhelmingly positive decision: first (and most clearly) for Manu’s arrival, but now as we settle in also for our lives in general. As long as we can maintain our financial lifeline outside the country, that seems set to continue into 2014 as well.

Music

What happened?! With parenthood and the big move, we almost completely stopped playing. We’re slowly picking up the instruments again now, and I hope in 2014 music will return to its prominent place in our lives.

Work-related

  • I started working standing up, and almost completely eliminated my afternoon energy slump. Such a little change, such a big effect.
  • Working remotely, visiting the office once every two months or so. This has had a largely positive effect on my own habits and abilities, but a somewhat more disruptive one on my place in the team as a whole. Apparently I’m part of a trend.
  • In 2012 we spent lots of time working with ElasticSearch, but 2013 was the year I got really cozy with it. Big plans for 2014.
  • The switch to bookkeeping as self-employed (although in a long-term contract with Buzzcapture) has started me thinking more about my career as a career. Whether this is a positive development or not we’ll have to find out in 2014.

Media consumption

This year I did not manage to reduce my ephemeral-internet-stuff consumption, but stayed uneasy about it: both about the relative balance of stuff produced vs consumed, and the relative priorities of the various stuffs consumed. Some of those sources of anxiety:

  • Blogs, read daily in morning or evening.
  • Twitter, read daily in morning or evening and sporadically during the day. This was the first year I was solidly caught up in Twitter Dramas (to the point of actually commenting on one of them, before I learned better). Mixed feelings about this: I’m a more aware, more thoughtful person for it, but also more cynical and depressive, and my golly it can eat your time. I have not solved the problem of separating the various aspects of Twitter (work tool, recommendation engine, social platform, procrastination enabler).
  • XCOM, played daily (at the peak of my addiction) and weekly (after attempting to control said addiction). This remains a regular (although guilty) pleasure.
  • Books:
    • On about my third attempt at Cloud & Ashes I got up enough momentum to start to understand the allusive storytelling style, and it became one of my highlight reads of the year.
    • I discovered Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin series (starting with Master and Commander and proceeding through a good portion of the Napoleonic wars).
    • More non-fiction than usual (mainly read on the Kindle DX on trips), including a few not-particularly satisfying business/management jobbies, which I suffered through due to a feeling that it’s somehow appropriate to read such things on business trips. I think I’ve learned my lesson.
    • Some comfort re-reading of old favourites unpacked from boxes after the big move.
    • This was the year I tried to avoid keeping up with interesting new releases. In retrospect this seems like a poor trade-off, given the amount of time I spent skimming Twitter.
  • Comics: I remain an avid fan of Bad Machinery and Gunnerkrigg Court. The Abominable Charles Christopher is a recent discovery.
  • I discovered Coursera and followed two courses (homework and all), on Scala.

The year of Apple

It must have been 2012 that I got the iPad; this year essentially all my online reading happened there. Mid-2013 Buzzcapture loaned me an iPhone, which immediately completely replaced my ailing Galaxy S, and right near the end of the year I bought the Macbook Pro I’m writing this on. Apple stuff sure is shiny.

Plans for 2014

  1. I intend to do this again, around the same time. Not keeping score, exactly, but keeping track.
  2. 2014 is the year I learn to drive.
  3. Also the year I make and release my first iOS app.
  4. I plan to take ney lessons and finally get a bit serious about learning the makam system.

Notice how these plans don’t look anything like the consumption-dominated 2013-in-review above? Yeah, me too. Wish me luck.

2 Comments

  1. Piotr wrote:
    1. I wish I could learn how to drive and release an iOS app this year too.

    2. Did you finish the reactive programming course? Was it very hard? (I dropped out after 1st week).

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink
  2. tikitu wrote:

    I finished Reactive Programming, yes. It was a bit harder than the first one, but still not what I would call hard. The assignments are so carefully constructed to help you along in the right direction, you get a huge part of the way just by following instructions carefully.

    (That’s not the best way to learn, necessarily: I could have doubled-or-more the effective difficulty for myself by trying to figure out myself what I ought to be doing, and test it myself, rather than following the instructions and using their tests. But: lazy.)

    The big thing that was significantly tougher than last time was actually a bit unexpected for me: debugging. Because it’s all massively multithreaded, and because some behaviours depend essentially on timeouts, the debugger is much less helpful than I’m used to it being.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink