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!
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:
- The Enchiridion
- Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
- High Performance Browser Networking
- Domain Modelling Made Functional
- The Elements of Graphing Data
- Badass: Making Users Awesome
- Getting to Yes
- The C Programming Language
- The Psychology of Computer Programming
- Universal Principles of Design
- Domain Driven Design
- Clean Code
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:
- Atomic Habits
- Why We Sleep
- Digital Minimalism
- The Coddling of the American Mind
- The Attention Merchants
- Creative Selection
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
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 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!