Retro-spectacular: 2011

Last day of the year is customarily used for reflection. Very useful artificial boundary that makes us think in a time span (a year) that is still quite manageable for humans. One year is quite long to create change, but still short so most of one’s projects are only on the way and didn’t reach their full potential. Taking time to think about those projects and the change make the good parts more permanent and the bad parts more temporary.

This year was really a game changer for me. It’s different in quantities and qualities as well. I remember thinking at the end of 2010 that I missed a lot of opportunities and time just passed me by for one year. Actually, for quite a few years I think there wasn’t too many things to speak of – though all of them have sown the seeds of the awesomeness that was 2012.

Calendar with all days checked off except today, December 31.
The year is almost out

Let’s take some (probably incomplete) stock.

Writing

This blog itself is almost one year old, I have started it in January. Haven’t written as much this year as I wanted (like how come there’s nothing since October?). This is not good, and it could be conveniently be blamed on being too busy to with all the projects I’ve been up to, but cannot completely. It benefits me greatly to write as much as possible, sometime in an organized way (like here), sometimes completely just in a flow. It is not really an excuse either that “I couldn’t find enough topic”, anyone who talks to me off-line often cannot get me to shut up about a thousand things. So better get to it.

Doing NaNoWriMo was limited to a few days of novel writing for me, got only 10% done, which is almost nothing. I said almost, because in those few days there were times indeed when storytelling was working, never before felt so good about writing, and changed the way I now read other people’s writing. So it’s not a total loss.

Doing 750 words was probably the best influence: write at least 750 words every day, about anything. I signed up for every monthly challenge  to write each and every day. I made the first one in October I think, since then I failed every time and often in a stupid way just forgetting about it. Next year I got to get myself off the Wall of Shame again. One thing I learned from it that once something is not perfect (i.e. I missed a day), I tend to let it go and miss more days: failures aggregate if one lets them. A habit worth getting rid of.

Brain stuff

I really enjoy programming, and the Language of the Month series was great, to learn some about Scala, Lua, Prolog, Javascript, and a bit of Go that I haven’t written up yet. It wasn’t every month in the end, so maybe should rethink the project, but I want to continue: there are just too many programming languages and they are awesome way to exercise one’s brain and learn completely new ways of thinking.

I could create a couple of small tools and sites as well, like WatchDoc that I use myself all the time. Nothing too big and still looking for a project that I can build something substantial for. But being able to make your own tools in the online when you need them is just as rewarding as working with your hands offline. The computers/internet is the next generation of Lego if you know how to talk to it.

Took part in the first online Stanford Classes: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Databases. All three totally worth it, it’s an experience I’m yet to write up, but I’m already using so many things I have learned. Also, my friend’s friends come to me saying “I heard you were doing the Stanford online courses this year, do you want to do it together next year?” There are many more really promising courses announced for the spring semester next year, now I have the problem of having to choose between them. 3 was kinda manageable, so right now I still have to cut down from the 7 noted down.

Somehow I had time to read more this year as well, though I have failed my Yearly Reading Challenge, totaling out at 30 books. I planned one for each week, but it’s just the motivation, the ones I had read this year all really worth it. I have hundreds of books on my to-read list, many of them from friends’ recommendations, so looking forward what will  next year’s 52 books be.

Community

The biggest change with regards of community and my drive as a force of change was taking riding the StartupBus. I cannot overstate how much that changed me: the people, the things we did, the travel and sights that were connected. I’m really glad to still be in touch with many of the people there – and hope to get back in touch with quite a few more. It is a community I’m proud to be part of and can’t wait to see what else comes out of it.

The bus set a few different things in motion, one of them ended up being Ignite Taipei. It is probably the single most important thing that I did this year. Or actually did 3 of them, together with the most inspiring people I can ever wish for. It is something I want to continue on for the foreseeable future, and want to grow it, as well as I’m sure I’ll be growing with it.

A small side project that was Geek Dinner, which is getting together, eat, and being able to talk in a way that I don’t have to hold back on anything. Programming, art, social networks, photography, microcontrollers, laptops, phones, all fair game and when you people don’t tune out  within 10 seconds. It seems there’s really a need for something like this in Taipei, people were really happy and eager. I hope I can carry it on.

A lot has changed about how do I use communities, how do I interact with people on Facebook/Google+, because I realized a few different things how I prefer to be interacted with. This lead for example to the No-Like Manifesto where I try whenever it’s possible to give a (meaningful) comment and not use likes/+1s, just as a last resort and when that’s meaningful in itself. This lead me to so much more discussion and been able to connect to people better. I can indeed say I know my friends a bit better now than I did before, and in big part because of the 24/7 interaction availability of whatever technology or network there is available for it.

Looking forward

This is just a short summary, I must have missed countless things. Now, however, it is really time to look forward. I’m already feeling so excited about a lot of projects that I’m planning for next year, and if I can carry over the excitement of 2011, it will be extraordinary too. Will include films, art, electronics, definitely include a lot, a LOT of people, friends, a lot of kicking ass.

And hopefully a lot of happiness. ^^
Cheers to You!

Published by Gergely Imreh

Physicist, hacker. Enjoys avant-guarde literature probably a bit too much. Open source advocate and contributor, both for software and hardware.

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