Comes Round Again

Another year over; what have I learned?

  • A story I wrote after my brother died was published by On Spec; you can read it here. I received over a dozen rejections and didn’t make any other sales, but decided to self-publish a novel called Beneath Coriandel; I hope you like it.

  • Research Software Engineering with Python was published. It took a lot longer than originally planned, but I’m very grateful to have worked with Damien, Kate, Luke, Joel, and Charlotte.

  • Danielle Smalls and I published “Ten quick tips for staying safe online”.

  • RStudio laid me off. I don’t understand why, or why I wasn’t allowed to try to find another role within the company, but asteroids happen. What angers me is how they fumbled the wind-down of the instructor certification program: a lot of people worked hard to get certified, and I think they deserved better.

  • I went through a bunch of job interviews. Some companies, like Automattic, do a great job of explaining the process and trying to make it fair. Others—well, here’s what happened with Canonical.

  • I spent six months with Metabase then moved to a straight-up programming position at Deep Genomics. I’m really enjoying coding for a living again after so many years, but a little dumbfounded by how much Python now looks like Enterprise Java.

  • We mothballed the TidyBlocks project: we’d reached the limits of what we could do as volunteers and nobody wanted to fund it.

  • I finished Software Design by Example Using JavaScript, but there hasn’t been a lot of interest, so I decided to publish it on Leanpub until I can figure out what’s wrong with my beliefs about what programmers want to learn.

  • I ran a workshop on managing research software projects to help raise money for MetaDocencia. There was much less interest in it than I expected, so once again I’m going to pause any further development until I figure out what’s wrong with my mental model of what my hoped-for audience wants.

  • I revived It Will Never Work in Theory, which publishes short reviews of software engineering research papers that practitioners might be interested in. Posts get a median of just over a hundred views, which is either a lot (compared to the number of people who read academic research papers) or not (compared to the number of people who read fact-free blather on Hacker News). I’ll write more about this in the new year.

  • I had to stop playing guitar because of tenosynovitis in my right hand. I’ve picked up the tenor sax again in its place, which I’m probably enjoying more than our neighbors.

  • I got another tattoo to commemorate my mother and sister. I hope they would have liked it.

  • Favorite book: Driftwood by Marie Brennan.

  • Favorite movie: Free Guy. It’s not great art, but it was just what I needed.

  • Favorite album: Elina Duni’s Partir.

  • Favorite moment: a waltz with my wife.