Jan 4, 2017
Taking a couple months off to travel. I am very happy that I managed to write a series of posts whilst travelling. This was the first time that I blogged whilst travelling and it was a different experience; whilst writing the texts the memories were still fresh and the feelings present.
Going Analogue. Haven’t had my digital camera in the hands since I got a professional analogue one. It’s a very nice experience to have this moment when you unwrap the developed photos, already having forgotten half of the motives. I enjoy this a lot.
Stopped reading news sites. I think this is a natural path following from the “I moved away from Twitter, etc.”. I feel that it does me better to not follow daily news. I also stopped reading newspapers a while ago (though “Der Freitag” was an excellent subscription newspaper, which I enjoyed for a long time).
Good bakeries are few and sparse in Berlin. This is in stark contrast to the south of Germany where there are typically a couple dozen good bakeries in a small town like Ulm — each with a vast selection of breads and some which still bake bread in-house. I miss this and that’s why I have started baking bread. Overall, I think I must have baked ~20 breads in the last months.
In the past I was reluctant to bake bread at home, due to the worse DIY bread I have been served in the past. This DIY bread was mostly bad because it was made in an oven which wasn’t capable of generating enough heat to have a real, “proper” crust. It is possible though, if you get yourself a dutch oven (which I have). It’s actually quite easy and astonishing how little ingredients are necessary to make a nice bread. You can go a long way with just flour, salt, water and yeast.
My university life is finished now. Whilst I had the most amazing time of my life during my B.Sc., I couldn’t follow that up in my M.Sc. and the last semesters were more frustrating than fulfilling. Nevertheless my academic career shed out two further publications this year: My master’s thesis has been properly published, it has a DOI now and is published by the University Ulm (publication page, pdf). Furthermore, another project was published: Circular Selection — I made its code freely available on GitHub (repository).
In the past I did a lot of freelance work besides university (some web development stuff, some software development and some media stuff) and worked in many different roles at university (mostly as a research assistant). This year I got my first proper, professional full day job though. It’s quite a different experience, but I enjoy that I now finally have a time where I can go home and don’t still have to do work. The same goes for weekends, this now really is my free time. At university this was very different and I think for my entire time there I never had any period where I had the feeling that there is nothing I must work on. There was
I wrote a separate blog post on that topic again.
A short story which really stuck with me was “Trolls Head” by Christopher Fielden, it is sadly not available online though.
Best Photo I shot
I really like the photos I took in India earlier in 2016. I am also very satisfied with some portraits I took of people close to me.
IT & tools
There is no certain “new shiny” tool that I discovered and use now all the time, but lots of small improvements. I am very comfortable with my digital home. I still use Arch Linux and a version of dwm which I modified in some ways which suit me. I still have a heavy focus on the shell and my main tools are tmux, git, vi, ksh, and mmh.
At work I regularly do devops on linux servers and recently out of fun set up my own virtual server to play around a bit. I have kept it and use it for some stuff now.
A theme which has resonated with me throughout this and the last year surrounds Artificial Intelligence, Singularity and the border of human consciousness/machine intelligence. The article “Why Digital Computers Can’t Have Consciousness” postulates an interesting perspective on why conscious machines may not be achievable with current technologies. Though I don’t agree with everything in the article, it provides an interesting perspective. This article provides an opposed point of view.
Valerie showed me Lillies of the Valley and told me about Pina Bausch. The video is really nice and shines some light on the excellence of this choreographer.
I think the Deus Ex — The Mechanical Apartheid trailer is done extremely well and paints an interesting vision of a not so far future. In terms of commercials I enjoyed the visual style and cyberpunkish vibe of the Yamaha – The Dark Side of Japan commercials. This reinforced my interest of visiting Tokyo in the near future.
I haven’t watched that many movies or series throughout the year. This is something that really changed in the last three years or so. I still occasionally go to art-house cinemas, but quite seldom. In late 2016 I finally got myself to watch the last few episodes of Dexter, a series that I liked a lot in the past. I was very disappointed by the ending though (as a lot of other people were).
Two series which I on the other hand enjoyed a lot just in the last two months were the clever reboot of Westworld and the reality-based Narcos. I also liked the BBC adaption of the War and Peace series (it’s six parts). The score of the series is outstanding.
Valerie got me interested in Woody Allen and I watched some of his movies with her. I like them actually, they don’t take themselves too serious and often show an idealistic world and depict themes surrounding love. “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” was my favorite so far, I enjoyed that movie a lot.
What stands out this year is White Buffalo, whom I discovered in Buenos Aires, and the electronic music group LORN. Both hit the right vibe at the right time and I listened to much of them.
Technologies I discovered
Stefan deserves credit for getting me hooked on the Aeropress and Chemex. Something I enjoy daily.
I discovered (by chance) that a visualization I produced is used for the title picture in a Wikipedia article. That was nice. Also some of my GitHub projects have gathered a number of stars (one even has a couple hundred); that’s also nice to see.
Finally set up a website/blog for Valerie: http://www.valerie-kast.de.
Got some older projects to work again. Among them is findsgut.de, a platform I created as a hobby project with some friends 2-3 years ago.
Set up a Unix diary: http://micha.elmueller.net/unix-diary. I haven’t announced this here properly, but I added it to the sidebar now.
Looking forward to 2017
What will 2017 hold? I don’t know, but hopefully more satisfaction.
My new year resolutions are:
- Buy maximum 5 clothing items.
I already did that two years ago and found it quite easing to not have the option of buying a lot of stuff.
- Cook a new meal each week.
This is also a repeater with a positive record.
- Learn more Spanish and don’t lose all the stuff learned in South America.
- Finish up some old, half-finished projects.
- Phone more with friends.
- Donate more.
- Make one publication.
- Get rid of more stuff, keep striving for minimalism.