2019 was my best year ever. This isn’t just because it’s the most recent. For example, I think 2017 was better than 2018.
I’ll try my best to give an unbiased look at the whole year, although it is definitely harder to remember January/February than November/December.
I moved from Sacramento to San Francisco, which was a huge and exciting change. Made a whole slew of new friends, which was really good for me.
Started a new job where I pretty much write Haskell full-time. It’s fantastic that I’m finally able to scratch that particular technical itch.
I achieved all of my major goals for the year, which I’m gonna take as a sign to challenge myself even harder in 2020. It was a bit of close call though (I finally finished the last one in mid-December), so I don’t think I underestimated myself too much.
My newfound blogging habit might be my biggest personal change from 2018. I wrote over 100,000 words! Somehow I managed at least one new blog post every four days, which seems way more often than I remember sitting down and writing.
A couple of my articles were featured in the Haskell Weekly newsletter—Type-Enforced Exponential Trees in #156 and Building Lenses in #177.
In general, the more technical a book was, the more I enjoyed it. My favorite of the year was probably Category Theory for Programmers, which hit me at a good time as I’m trying to learn more math to make ground-level sense of programming ideas. I got the least out of Inner Game of Tennis, and also still seem to need to read more fiction. Or any fiction.
This list is noncomprehensive, and organized chronologically from top to bottom. I read fewer books than I expected to this year, mostly because Princeton Companion to Mathematics took me multiple months.
|String Theory||David Foster Wallace|
|Princeton Companion to Mathematics||Timothy Gowers|
|Basic Category Theory for Computer Scientists||Benjamin Pierce|
|Inner Game of Tennis||Timothy Gallwey|
|Feynman Lectures on Physics||Feynman, Leighton, and Sands|
|Game programming in Haskell||Elise Huard|
|Hobby Games The 100 Best||James Lowder|
|Godel Escher Bach||Douglas Hofstadter|
|Types and Programming Languages||Benjamin Pierce|
|Thinking with Types||Sandy Maguire|
|Finding Success and Failure in Haskell||Chris Martin, Julie Moronuki|
|Lenses for the Mere Mortal||Brian Marick|
|Naive Set Theory||Paul R. Halmos|
|Category Theory for Programmers||Bartosz Milewski|
|Machine Intelligence for Healthcare||Campion and Carlsson|
|Beautiful Racket||Matthew Butterick|
|A Type of Programming||Renzo Carbonara|
|Pearls of Functional Algorithm Design||Richard Bird|
|Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach||Stuart Russell, Peter Norvig|
|Type-Driven Development with Idris||Edwin Brady|
|Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking||Daniel Dennett|
I also read some online “books” (e.g. Graphical Linear Algebra) but wasn’t sure how to classify those. I did some of the reading/exercises for a few random courses. I enjoyed MIT’s 18.657 - Mathematics of Machine Learning, but don’t remember too much about the other ones.
This year was the first time I really branched out from PC in a while. I got both a switch and a PS4 near the beginning of the year, and managed to play through many of what seem to me to be the most important titles for each console’s respective libraries.
My 2019 game of the year is Baba is You. I really like indie puzzle games to start with, and the fact that the rules are manipulated in the same way as objects in the game is fantastic. I got several friends and family members to play it too, and everyone seems to have enjoyed it.
My other favorites include Journey, Shadow of the Colossus (both PS4 remakes of games I’d played before), and Celeste which was new. My least favorite played this year was probably Beyond: Two Souls. The writing was stretched a bit too thin, even for a video game.
The list below contains many of the games I played through this year, although it isn’t a complete listing. For example, I didn’t include some of my casual play-with-friends mainstays like Rocket League, or some tiny experimental games I don’t really remember playing. They’re ordered chronologically by date completed.
|Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||Switch|
|Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||Switch|
|The Last of Us||PS4|
|Beyond: Two Souls||PS4|
|The Last Guardian||PS4|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||PS4|
|Horizon Zero Dawn||PS4|
|Super Mario Maker 2||Switch|
|Baba is You||PC|
|Ocarina of Time||N64|
|God of War||PS4|
|Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze||Switch|
|A Way Out||Xbox One|
|Shadow of the Colossus||PS4|
I composed over 50 songs this year! It feels like I’m at a point where I either have to decide to get more serious about it and learn a lot more (which means spending a lot more time), or ease up a bit and continue making music just for fun.
I couldn’t really think of a good format to show off what music I was most into listening to this year. My favorite album was probably Tinlicker’s This is Not Our Universe. My favorite single song was possibly the delightful ear candy of Yosi Horikawa’s Bubbles, although I think something like Ben Böhmer’s Ground Control or Sleeping With Machines by EDDIE would represent my general taste for the year the best.
I still like many of the same artists: No Mana, Rezz, deadmau5, Spencer Brown, Notaker. And some new ones: 1788-L, Yotto, Sysdemes, Vorso, ASHE. I was lucky enough to see a few of these people live, which was great. Compared to last year, I would say the songs I’ve been into the most have been a bit less thumping/bass-heavy and a bit more progressive/evolving over time.
Somehow I only watched one movie in 2019 (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), on a recommendation from a friend.