It is that season again that makes power-hungry notebooks double as lap warmers and is conductive to large hacker Congresses in the north. Before I go catch this year's last few deadlines, attend festivities with my family and then lose myself among the blinkenlights in Hamburg, I thought I might join the custom of writing a personal year review.
Well, it's been an unusual year.
If anything has marked it for me it has been travel around Europe. I am pretty sure that I did more kilometers by plane, car or train than in any other single year in my life. If I count only longer trips, I've been to Athens, Brussels, Cologne, Ghent, Ilmenau, Ludwigsburg, Munich, Paris and more places in northern Great Britain than I can remember. I visited most of these places because of my job at the Institute, others for less formal meetups or simply running away from it all for a while.
The list would even be one city longer if I weren't rushed to surgery at one point which left me grounded and limited to the neighborhood of my doctor's office for a month or so.
Maybe because of travel or other things, I found it hard to concentrate on any really important thing this year. I've noticed that my context switches are getting longer. I can hardly work on two serious projects on two consecutive days. Since this is hardly compatible with looming deadlines and overflowing lists of tasks it has led to a lot of frustration and burn out on my part. If it's an effect of trying to focus on harder problems now, it sure feels often like I'm just wasting time on unimportant details.
The Slovenian Open Data group has been a most welcome source of motivation when all other things seemed to move in a wrong way. It's incredibly inspiring to talk with people honestly doing their best to improve the world.
It's been the year when Kiberpipa was shut down and when I more or less lost contact with the Computer Museum.
A new Debian was released which in one way or another broke many work flows I have been using for years. It left a strong impression that desktop software is slowly going the way of the dodo. Together with the continuing confirmations of surveillance on the Internet it has contributed significantly to the feeling of impending doom and doubts regarding where technology is headed today.
Perhaps because of that I also spent more time than I want to admit on pastel colored cartoon ponies. Even though I occasionally fear that this subculture is all a massive viral marketing campaign it's been at times weirdly fascinating to explore. It was a fun way to forget more serious things for a while. It got me to experiment with drawing and writing fiction which was an interesting new experience, even if most of what I made is laughably unoriginal or has been described as too depressing.
"You're discussing cartoons while your country is falling apart" was a comment I once heard that probably contains more truth than I would wish and maybe sums it all up pretty well. 2013 for me has been mostly about vastly more ideas than time and energy to properly implement them and no good way to select that one idea out of nine that would be worth focusing on.