2019: A Year In Review
2020-01-03 in review
I never wrote one of these, but I’ve come to realize that I find reading other people’s posts enjoyable and vaguely inspirational.
Without further ado, some things that stood out for me in 2019…
In 2018, I have started pursuing a BSc in Physics at The Open University. I transferred some credits from my previous unfinished studies, and ended up with four courses to go before earning the degree.
I have finished—with distinction—two of them in the year 2018/2019: “The Quantum World” (an undergrad quantum physics course) and “Electromagnetism” (an undergrad course in classical electrodynamics).
The entire pursuit was (and continues to be) fairly challenging. Distance learning is an interesting feat that seems to be working well. I believe it eliminates an entire class of fallacies I’m fairly prone on making, primarily the one of confusing “presence” with actual work.
This was also my most prominent “personal project” of the year, and it seems this is very likely to be the case for 2020 as well.
Meetups, Conferences & Talks
A couple of colleagues and I have started the Zagreb Rust meetup. It’s been reasonably successful, attracting a nice audience of 10-20 people at each of its eight iterations.
- Zagreb Rust Meetup: Developing web services in Rust
- WebCamp Zagreb 2019: Getting to grips with Rust (a whole-day introductory Rust workshop, with Alan Pavičić)
- Zagreb Rust Meetup: Asynchronous programming and Rust
London, Sicily (Castelbuono, Cefalù, Palermo), Dublin.
A couple of books I’ve read that have been particularly impactful:
- Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning ~ Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger, III, and Mark A. McDaniel
- Ultralearning: Timeless Techniques for Mastering Hard Skills ~ Scott H. Young
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones ~ James Clear
- Three Moments of an Explosion ~ China Miéville
Last.fm is still keeping track of the vast majority of the music I listen to. I have yet to listen to a lot of albums that were very prominent in 2019, but a few that stood out (with Bandcamp links where available):
- FKA twigs: Magdalene
- clipping.: There Existed An Addiction To Blood
- Matmos: Plastic Anniversary
- Inter Arma: Sulphur English
- Waste of Space Orchestra: Syntheosis
- Black Milk: DiVE
- Alexander Noice: NOICE
- Liturgy: H.A.Q.Q.
- LIUN + The Science Fiction Band: Time Rewind
- Dawn Ray’d: Behold Sedition Plainsong
- Cult of Luna: A Dawn to Fear
- Sleater-Kinney: The Center Won’t Hold
- Yatta: WAHALA
- Glen Hansard: This Wild Willing
- William Basinski: On Time Out of Time
I have also, repeatedly, returned to 2018’s “Safe in the Hands of Love” by Yves Tumor and “On Dark Horses” by Emma Ruth Rundle.
I traditionally go to many concerts, and the following made a special impact:
- Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith at Muzička akademija, Zagreb
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Tvornica Kulture, Zagreb
- Homeboy Sandman & Edan at Vintage Industrial Bar, Zagreb
- Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh at KSET, Zagreb
- the entire lineup of Sarajevo Jazz Fest 2019, especially concerts by Miles Okazaki, The Ex and Joelle Leandre.
Personal (Tech) Projects
mjuziq3 is chugging along nicely with little to no intervention on my side. This year it hasn’t seen much love, but its interface has been updated to Bootstrap 4, and some of the interface elements have received a facelift.
mc is a small project for exploring Mars Climate data I have started working on with a couple of people from the Atmospheric Physics group at The Open University. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made much progress.
- enjoying my exploration of the tasty world of coffee
(equipment: Wilfa Svart, Hario V60, Aeropress)
- politically, this year has been depressing, both globally and locally
The support for politics of solidarity has continued its decline, and while people luckily haven’t given up, it’s hard to be an optimist. I have no answers nor contributions here, but it has occupied a fair share of my mental bandwidth throughout the year.
Plans for 2020
The primary goal is to graduate and figure out if I want to pursue my academic “career” any further. Graduation assumes:
- a passing grade in the Deterministic and stochastic dynamics course I’m currently attending;
- a passing grade in the end-of-degree project course which involves an extensive literature review of a chosen field of Physics.
- encode some of my thoughts on and experiences with microservice-oriented web application architectures in Rust into a series of posts, code examples, and/or libraries;
mcinto a usable (and useful) state;
- containerize all of my personal infrastructure (I have a dream of being able to seamlessly move pieces of infra among a couple of servers as needed);
- add a few more sources into
mjuziq3and rethink its interface.
- learn some embedded programming & basic electronics skills in order to be able to follow things like these;
- become comfortable with a development environment for one of the more prominent operating systems for the PinePhone;
- understand the basics of quantum computing, both theoretically and practically.
- finally achieve my weight goal of dropping below 80 kg;
- successfully spend the year living with my lovely partner.