2016

2016/12/31 11:09

So ... 2016. I haven't posted on the blog for a couple of reasons - Kids, Family, Work, much-needed time away from screens - the usual.

Lake Garda Sunset

In Books

A last minute holiday in Lake Garda in the middle of summer gave me some time to read. I remain skeptical of eBooks so brought some paperbacks in my luggage.

Flowers For Algernon - Daniel Keyes

This was really good. As with 'Dune' and other Science Fiction classics, it's been on my radar forever (since I was 10 years old at least) but I only got around to reading it this year. Given it was written in the 60s (like Dune) it has aged really well. It's very moving.

Fairy Tales - Hermann Hesse

I read a lot of Hesse in my teens/early 20s and 'Fairy Tales' has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. Maybe I've outgrown Hesse but this collection of short stories was not as good as I hoped. Siddharta, Steppenwolf, and Demian remain three of my favorite books.

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

This was a re-read. I first read this in 1989 - I was 18 years old at the time and the world was very different then - it blew my mind. It hasn't aged well over the intervening 27 years. There's still some interesting ideas but it feels a little 'Jules Verne' now.

Seveneves - Neal Stephenson

This was a long read. It's contemporary science-fiction set in a not-too-distant future where the moon shatters, prompting a race against time to create an off-world survival ark. The first 2 thirds of the book are riveting, the last 3rd not so much.

Helliconia Trilogy - Brian Aldiss

I began reading this on and off a couple of months ago but haven't yet finished it. It's good but I just don't seem to get the time to read as much as I'd like.

My own book Writing Minecraft Plugins in Javascript hasn't exactly been flying off the shelves. Computer books of a technical nature tend to have a short shelf-life and become obsolete, that's why - for much of my book - I focus on teaching Javascript (which isn't going away anytime soon). The latter 3rd of the book introduces Java and the CanaryMod API which sadly is no longer being actively developed. Nonetheless, ScriptCraft works just fine with SpigotMC which is being actively developed.

In Running

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a Marathon in 2016. I did it mostly because it was getting weird having to explain to friends and colleagues (who know I run) why I hadn't yet run a Marathon. I did the local Marathon (Cork City) in June. It was hot and hilly, I wasn't as prepared as I could have been so the arse fell out of it around mile 10. I finished in 4 hours 52 minutes. Definitely room for improvement.

I ran just over 1,000 miles this year.

In Work

This was my 6th year at IBM. The work continues to be interesting and the people are great. In an industry that has its fair share of sociopaths, I've never encountered any at IBM. Maybe I've just been lucky but the people I've worked with at IBM have been an all round decent bunch. This year I ran a couple of NodeJS workshops in Cork and Galway. Hopefully in 2017 I'll devise and run an AngularJS workshop, among other things. Our project migrated to using Git for revision control recently. It's been an interesting move. Git is a revision control system that exposes a lot of its internals - so much so it can be thought of more as a revision control construction set. If revision control systems are your thing, you'll love git. I've been making a concerted effort to master git over the past few weeks. Despite having a github account for a couple of years, and maintaining a repository (ScriptCraft) with 100s of forks and 1000s of stars, I never really understood git until very recently.

In Miscellaneous

I finally got around (just this morning actually) to updating all of my domains to use HTTPS. It was much easier than I expected thanks to LetsEncrypt.

This Christmas I haven't spent as much time working on ScriptCraft as I'd hoped. I do feel a little guilty about not coding in my spare time - but not that guilty.

The best software developers I know are always hacking over the holidays.

True story.
-- Joe McCann on Twitter

Instead I've been playing video games - the latest generation. There was a family surprise underneath the Christmas tree this year - a Playstation 4. It's been 9 years since we last got a console (Nintendo's Wii), and 18 years since I got a 1st generation Playstation - so yeah - it was time.

I've been playing Star Wars Battlefront (in split-screen mode with my son Sean) and TitanFall 2 which is every bit as good as I'd hoped. I got Metal Gear Solid V but haven't yet played it very much. Rocket League is also good chaotic fun.

Hope you all have a great 2017.

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2016