Archive for January, 2008

It is another year: Happy belated New Year!!

Wow, I have really been keeping to myself in the last couple of weeks; it can all be chalked down to life acquiring a more emergency feel to it so in such situations I usually clump down and focus. I am back on the blogsphere, as they call it but that does not mean that the emergency is over; I suspect I am finally getting the hang of it. I have always been thinking that I should have a recap of what the previous year was like.

The Previous Year …

Don’t you just like what hindsight does to events? It was an OK year which is not to say that it was all roses and party all through but all the things that didn’t pan out and those that did work out all came to balance each other out. Each variety of these events led to a new discovery which almost always leads to a better way of doing things. Please note that better does not always mean a positive improvement but even the attempts at doing less of a good thing is equally an improvement in a certain sense.

At the start of 2007, I setout to gain a much better understanding of people at their own level while at the same time asserting myself when it was necessary and important that I do so. In the process I have met several new acquaintances and perhaps in my own understanding came across a number of things that can and/or can’t stand. In this regard, without going to specifics, I have stuck to the notion of not fixing that which is not broken and of course the interpretation that can be had from that perspective are as varied as the motives and intentions of the interpreter.

One of the more challenging aspects of the previous year was the amount of complication that my life has amassed; yes, I am probably doing too much but then again without reaching that critical point (the breaking point), I can’t be sure that that is all I am capable of. Broadly speaking, I had to contend with school work and at the same time work out the ideas that I have in mind of how I am going to put that education to good use after it is all said and done. I am almost done with this school business which is not the main worry that I have in mind; I am more concerned about what happened when I am suppose to be applying my education to productive (and hopefully wildly profitable) endeavors. I should probably share my thoughts about my approach to how I am intend to make use of my education, given the limitations that I have. Well, calling them limitations may not be that accurate since I prefer to see them as challenges and all challenges go there is usually a way of overcoming them.

In a way, I am still waiting for my Christmas to come around; last year’s festive season kind of snuck up on me while I was not looking. I have been told that the festive season is usually important for the kids and I think I am finally accepting that the last three years had nothing to do with my circumstances at the time. Anyhow, so it came and it went and after it comes the new year which was not that new.

Technology wise, it was an interesting year (like there is any year that is not interesting in the tech sector!). This was the year when I decided to get very personal and intimate with Linux; I am happily running Ubuntu at the moment and gradually gaining know-how though there is room for further exploration. It was in 2007 that I came to recognize the power of concurrency and how it fundamentally changes software development from a fundamental perspective. Multi-cores processes are one of the main ways through which Moore’s Law will continue to be relevant but these processors brings with them concurrency which is relatively new to bulk of programmers who are producing software for the past 20 years. These corporate programmers are not particularly interested in the computer science behind it and in some instances some CS graduates who should know the fundamentals of computers are happy using tools like Visual Basic and others while proudly proclaiming that they are programmers. Anyhow, the free ride of performance increases purely from Moore’s will be coming to an end soon. Please note that this is not something that is necessarily new but it has occupied my thoughts in a fundamental way in the previous year. My response to it was to gain a better understanding of concurrency and its future implications on software development and what the industry is currently doing to prepare the masses to adopt.

One of the key ways of leveraging the power of multi-core processors is making tools that are amenable to concurrency; functional programming have been around for a while as illustrated by existence of functional programming languages like Haskell and Erlang (Wikipedia). Functional programming and features inspired by functional programming languages can give us the tools that are necessary in a multi-core world; this has been happening in a number of R&D departments in large corporations as well as in campuses around the world. Microsoft announced the include of their F# programming language in their .NET Framework. At the heart of all these are ideas that are central to the running of current systems in the name of shared state and mutability.

Mobile Phones certainly was the source of a sizable number of headlines. The now infamous iPhone hit the market and of course towards the close of the year Google took an interest in the mobile phone sector by releasing Android. All of a sudden it looks like mobility is the thing to be and it may well be where it is going to be. The so-called developing countries and/or emerging economies are dominated by mobile telephony and associated services that are consumed through mobile devices.

Note: this is not all that happened last year but these are just the highlights that I can put in any semblance of order of the top of my head.

… New year: 2008

Only one digit has changed in the sequence of the supposedly new year. Look at it this way: how many Jans, Febs … etc have you done already? If you are in the group of people who thing that Christmas is just some kind of a global mass hysteria, then you have probably done a couple of the aforementioned list. So, this year is new because of a change in a single digit; please contrast that with something as monumental as the sun rising from the west and setting in the east or perhaps a brand new sun appearing on the horizon. Well, no matter the change it is as new as it gets and the next new year will build on this very concept as it has always done more than 2000 years (depending on your Calendar of choice) before.

So … let’s see what happens this year. The much that have happened already may be the subject of a future post.

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