2019 Review

Another year, another review post. I’m keeping this one extra simple so I can actually get it out on time for once.

Learnings in Technology

I jumped on the TypeScript hype train in 2019 and have been pretty impressed with it so far. After spending the better parts of 2 years using Flow, it was increasingly feeling like a dead end. By comparison, TypeScript has a massive (and growing) community, fantastic developer tooling, and decent documentation.

After tinking with OCaml/Reason for the last few years, I definitely miss variants (TS enums are a pale substitute) and pattern matching. But TS seems to be the most pragmatic typed frontend language around right now– 80% of the type safety with 20% of the effort required to get up and running with the more ironclad but obscure alternatives. It’s also infinitely more employable, which is a little bit of a bonus.

Another language I spent a little bit of time with in 2019 is Lua. I’d previously messed with it a bit for use with Hammerspoon, but this year Neovim got first-class Lua support so I’ve been playing with it a lot more. Being able to script Vim without VimScript (ugh) or remote plugins is a treat!

Reading

At the start of the year I set out a list of 12 books that had been lingering on my shelves (physical or virtual) for years. Because I impulsively check out a lot of books from the library, it came down to the last week, but I managed to read them all. In decreasing order of my enjoyment, they were:

In total I read 59 books, which is pretty solid. Actually, it might be the most I’ve ever read in a calendar year. Other standouts read in 2019 included:

Music

As I age, I find it progressively more challenging to find new music that resonates with me. So I was really excited to find Tiny Desk Concerts this year. The videos cover a wide set of genres, and the artists and sound quality are consistently awesome. My favourite video so far is the one featuring Joey Alexander, and I had the good fortune to see him in concert this year. It was the best show I’ve seen in years– he melted my face off!

This site

This personal site got a fresh coat of paint late in the year, and I almost got a real blog post out, but not quite. With my flagging enthusiasm for posting here and the visceral cringe I get when reading my old posts, I periodically wonder if keeping this site up is worthwhile. But independent blogs are a somewhat imperiled medium, and one that I get a lot of value from. I want to do my part, however tiny, at contributing to the ecosystem. Here’s to renewing it for another year!