Are you allowed to do a "year in review" blog post when it's already well into ~~February~~ ~~March~~ April? Despite the temptation to sit on this work in progress until August for maximum comedic effect, here it is, warts and all.
Most Exciting New Technology
It was ReasonML, hands down. Last year I kept close tabs on this fledgling "language" (it's really just a toolset around the venerable OCaml), and was richly rewarded. The community is incredibly friendly, and there is so much neat stuff to learn by diving into a typed functional language. I wrote a canvas-based game, started working on some (very incomplete) d3 bindings, and am kicking around a few more small projects for fun. I will definitely be spending a lot more time with Reason this year!
Best Return on Investment
I previously wrote up my review of the UI design course that I took early in 2017. While I don't do any design day-to-day, I'm really enjoyed continuing to pick at this hobby, and dipping back into the course videos and homework from time to time. If you are an analytically inclined person looking to gain some design skills, I still highly endorse it!
After chewing through 45 books last year, I think might have hit a new personal high score. Looking through the list, only of few of them were truly exceptional:
Best New Hobby
I started taking to baking bread. Flour Water Salt Yeast was inspiring, and breadmaking is a wonderfully tactile counterpoint to my usual computer-based hobbies. After a half dozen mildly successful attempts at sourdough, I'm now working on mastering a more basic white bread. The plan is to work up through pre-ferments and then back to regularly baking sourdough.
Also in the kitchen, I joined the cult of the Instant Pot. I'm only a few months in, but it does seem like a really useful gadget.
Still going through a bit of a dry spell as far as discovering new music goes. But while going through Stevie Wonder's classic period, albums, I finally found Fulfillingness's First Finale, which is now one of my all-time favourite records.