2011 Year in Review

Wow. 2011, eh?

  • Back to school (sort of): I sat in on the two UW computer science compiler courses over the winter and spring terms. This has become rather useful at work, as I’m now on OpenText’s compiler team. I also helped recruit my CS444 instructor to help us out.
  • Speaking of work: it was a happy change for me to move teams so that I no longer work with OScript and started working on OScript to make it better for developers. OScript is OpenText’s proprietary programming language–something of a twist of history that was probably a great idea at the time is was conceived twenty-some yeas ago, but the developer experience of which has been sadly neglected over the years. We’re looking at rectifying that. The nice thing for me, is I’m doing fun and interesting things with Eclipse and with the language design, and I’m looking forward to getting the beginnings of that work in front of other developers in the next month or two.
  • Clutter: I gave my first KWLUG talk in 2011 on Clutter. I gave it again at Dev House Waterloo as well. I’ll be giving my second KWLUG presentation a week from Monday, this time on Unity.
  • #LRTAwesome: Following on from 2010’s involvement in Northdale, I gave a delegation to the Waterloo Regional Council in favour of the region’s LRT project. It was gratifying to me to feel part of a community effort that, in spite of opposition from the local media, was able to get that back on track. As it were.
  • Hail to the chief: Somewhat unexpectedly, I became President of Kwartzlab. It’s been a great experience, really. We pulled off a pretty amazing Hacky Halloween event, and brought in a grant to buy an awesome new laser cutter. But it has meant that I’ve had to prioritize my time a bit more than I’m used to. It has meant that I’ve had to pull back a little bit on Ubuntu stuff.
  • Circle of friends: However, Ubuntu Canada hasn’t suffered all that much from my being distracted with Kwartzlab. In fact, we now have two monthly Ubuntu Hours hosted by Charles and Bob on the first Friday and third Wednesday of the month respectively. And we had the usual Global Jams and release parties. And I even finally got my Ubuntu membership.
  • FSOSS: And, I went to FSOSS in October to give a talk about Ubuntu Canada, the Ubuntu community and how people can get involved.
  • I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking lately.
  • Ellen: Continues to be awesome. She really inspires me by being able to remain positive in spite of everything. We got to spend a whole bunch of time together doing some pretty amazing things: concerts, Perimeter lectures, Stratford plays, a trip to Montreal, her cousin’s wedding… I’m quite pleased with myself that I was able to get some of our friends down from Ottawa to jam with Ellen at her house for her birthday. We made sweet music together. Literally!
  • A surfeit of blogs: One thing that really fell off the map this year was this blog. With all the things I’m doing, it just hasn’t been as much of a priority. You’d think that would mean I’d have lots of things I’d be eager to talk about. And it does! But with Twitter, a weekly coffee meetup with friends where I can just tell them things, Ellen being very patient with me as I work out problems or tell stories on the phone where I might have otherwise done that here, I don’t feel the need to take the time to compose something. And I feel bad about that, but I acknowledge that the blog has become an unfortunate victim of prioritization. One thing that I really do feel guilty about is that I feel like I’m shirking my responsibilities and should be blogging more about Kwartzlab, Ubuntu Canada and the Agile P2P (especially after I’d agreed to blog about sessions for Communitech. I only did one of those; I’d have done more, but I’ve had to miss nearly all the sessions since the summer). For Ubuntu Canada, I have actually done of few of those, more than anything else this year.
  • Agile Book Club: Was a fantastic experience, but unfortunately now seems to be in the past tense. The principle members have either gone off and started a consulting company, Lean Intuit (I love the name), got themselves elected moderators of Stack Overflow or they’ve been whizzing around the world giving talks at Agile conferences. So the book club becomes another sad victim of prioritization. My one real regret is I’d just brought Eric on board just before it faded. He always has great insights and I’m sad he couldn’t have been a part of the club as it was in 2010 and early 2011.

All in all, I think this was another pretty fantastic year in a whole bunch of areas. I’m looking forward to 2012, but (hopefully, if I get my slides done for the KWLUG presentation), I’ll talk about that later.