2012 review

  • Written by: Marko Samastur
  • Published on:
  • Category: Catchall

Happy and healthy new year!

Mine started as it ended, in bed with a nasty cold. We were in one of few places in Slovenia where there was snow, great weather and I got to experience it all mostly through windows. In a way it was a perfect sum of last year: missed opportunities and unexpected disappointments, but at the same time actually quite good if looked at from a different perspective. 2012 was a year full of health scares, not all of which were resolved happily (so far). I certainly hope this year will be better for my loved ones.

I learned last year that I don’t miss Twitter. Occasionally I read Fry ‘s stream, but otherwise end up there only by mistake. There’s still work to be done on how to manage empty distractions and I miss tools that would help me decide what to read and how much of it. Facebook account — also gone (I hope; who can really tell?). Rarely used, never missed and incompatible with my convictions.

Digital sabbath continues to be a great idea and I can’t recommend it enough. Setting too ambitious personal goals…to be avoided. Explicit goals can lead to worse results when it becomes clear they can’t be met, even more so if they morph from a metric to a substitute of original purpose. Knowing this I nevertheless managed to become a textbook case of a goal-induced failure and will need to spend quite a bit of effort to get in a better shape. Need to keep focusing on whys too.

Having a list of possible and finished projects on wall still frees my mind. I have just released one of them, but it is obvious I haven’t really stayed the course this year, switching projects with predictable result of finishing few and losing a bet with Sebastjan . You could look at it as the most expensive dinner of my life (if valued by time spent) or a hell of a good investment in code I will use this year. I prefer the latter (and what kind of twat would object to paying friend’s dinner).

I actually did work on my personal research agenda in my spare time. I just don’t have enough of it and it is what I struggle with most. I found development proceeds more smoothly when done regularly, but to do that I need to maintain a very detailed to-do list which allows me to make a meaningful contribution even when there is only half an hour to spare. I have also added reminders to my calendar to regularly review (or re-awake) my work.

I decided to stop using these end of year posts for commenting on external developments. So far mostly impotent protests in Slovenia left a bittersweet taste. I am curious what this year will bring, but these reviews tended to be bleak and I’m not becoming an optimist.

I am happier. It really is a privilege to, not just nominally, work with and for people from whole planet on stuff that matters. I learned a lot as person and a developer from my colleagues and I enjoy my work as much as when I started. However getting accustomed to our way of doing things and things we do can create a small worry of where I will be able to work, if I ever have to leave.

It was definitely a year of personal change. Not sure who to “blame” for rediscovering a radical streak in me, but I am less willing to be silent when encountering prejudice and small-mindedness. Silence condones and some troubles should be embraced.

This year I would like to finish existing projects that already have good foundations and to promote building web services for low-bandwidth environments (where low-bandwidth doesn’t mean just slow). That really should be enough. I expect it will be an interesting year.