Looking back on 2011

Last year I did a review for 2010. This year I want to do the same.
A lot has been going on in 2011 for me. I’ve attended hackathons, barcamps, writeathons, contests, hackcamps, seminars, workshops and stuff. This has proven to be a very good idea. I got to know about a hell lot of stuff out there I didn’t even know existed!

Most interesting website discovered:
Kickstarter. So far I have invested in 3 projects.
I find it a very interesting concept to just crowdsource the investment process of a project. I hope this enables more people to realize their ideas without having to take a huge debt from a bank.

Book I learned the most from:
Douglas Crockford — JavaScript: The Good Parts.
Taking JavaScript to the next level. Last year I wrote that one of the most interesting projects I’ve discovered was node.js: serverside JavaScript. In 2011 I did a lot of stuff with node.js and JavaScript.

Most interesting fictional books:
The books Daemon and its successor FreedomTM by Daniel Suarez have been a big inspiration for me. I really enjoyed reading them. I don’t know about the german translations though, I generally read and watch stuff in english.

I also liked Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I got interested in reading the book after I read an interview with Mark Zuckerberg where he talked about his favorite scifi book.

Video, movies, music
I still stream my music-use to last.fm. Since I am incredibly forgetful I use this as a way to determine what my favorite music has been. But I listen to far too much music to have one album I liked the most. Currently I am heavily listening to the LPs Casper – XOXO and The Jezabels – Dark Storm.

Looking at movies my favorite one was “Into the Wild”. A really amazing movie that deeply impressed me. Also an amazingly fitting soundtrack by Eddie Veeder. I also loved Tron. The story is not really surprising, but I loved how the digital world was presented and I have hacked through many nights by listening to the great Daft Punk soundtrack.

The video I liked the most was Carving the mountains. A video about pretty girls riding longboards.

Best decisions:
Writing a blog, saying yes, spending money, following interests and dropping everything else.
Just doing stuff. Not waiting for anybody.

The rough plan for 2012: (I am surely getting back to this next year!)
I have several things on the road, most of them can be summarized under the term “Free software“.
I want to replace my existing workflow to a majority of free software. I have started several efforts of migrating to Linux/*BSD, but I always failed because the Apple stuff is so incredibly comfortable. But: I don’t want to support a closed, proprietary platform anymore. I don’t want to have to pay for software anymore. But most of all: I want to build my own system, I want to write more software straightly suited for me and I want to improve existing free software.

Since all my past efforts to migrate miserably failed, due to not being radical enough, I always got back to the Mac as my main workstation. But now I have a new plan: I will leave my Mac at home and will only take my netbook (currently running OpenBSD) with me. I will still need the Mac for some advanced Multimedia stuff (Photoshop, Premiere, Lightroom). But since I mostly work at the university, I presume this will drastically limit my use of the Mac.

Also I will go for a much more commandline-oriented workflow. Last year I wrote about my plans to look into zsh — which I did. Thing is: The software works great, but it is incredibly bloated. I use a 5k lines config file from the Grml project. You need 5k for it to work well?! C’mon! So for 2012 I plan to get into ksh. I also use vim *a lot*. Same problem. My config is too bloated since I copy-pasted most of it from various sources. So I am going for vi and a plain .exrc. I aim for a minimalistic setup where I understand why everything is in its place. I am sure I will gather a better understanding of e.g. vi, if I understand exactly why the config file looks the way it does.

Also I don’t want to speak of “Open Source” anymore, I will try to accomodate the term “Free software”. I had some discussions with meillo on this topic and he finally brought my attention to an article that briefly describes the difference.

About Me

I am a 32 year old techno-creative enthusiast who lives and works in Berlin. In a previous life I studied computer science (more specifically Media Informatics) at the Ulm University in Germany.

I care about exploring ideas and developing new things. I like creating great stuff that I am passionate about.


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