So this has been 2016. Another year that went by all too fast. It has made the world a bit more broken and a whole lot more selfish and incomprehensible.
I haven't traveled much. Except for one project meeting I've hardly left the country. In part because other colleagues took the burden of attending meetings where the Institute had to have a presence. The other part must have been the effect of attacks around Europe and the newly erected borders and barbed wires. I haven't been to any foreign conference, I've skipped 33C3 and I had to cancel my visit to GalaCon at the last moment.
On the other hand, it feels like the local tech meetups have mostly devolved into TED-style talks. I miss the old grassroots events where people would discuss technologies they found interesting or fascinating projects that grew in their basements. It seems the only valid reason to be excited about something these days is if you want to be hired or want to hire someone.
Last year more than before I found myself in situations where people were willing to talk collaboration up to the point where they got what they wanted - and then walked away without as much as a thank you. The charge more mantra is now being taught to every STEM student as a solution to this, and I find it increasingly depressing. Must you really state an hourly rate before even saying hello?
Social events now have codes of conduct, but seem more hostile than ever. Then again, maybe that tells more about myself than those events. Sometimes I feel like I don't understand people and these communities anymore.
All this obviously affected my motivation to work on projects in my free time. Existing Free software I maintain has mostly been on life support last year. Some things I would usually took the effort to clean and publish as open source were left on my disk. I've done very little electronics work outside of my duties at the Institute. In general I stepped away a lot from the usual technical stuff. I rather spent evenings reading, and at a drawing class in the National Gallery.
I'm now in my 6th year employed as a research assistant at the Institute. My project work last year has been mostly related to ultra-narrowband technology. I have 26 publications listed in the national bibliographic database and political games in academia still manage to catch me completely by surprise. With the start of the new academic year I've made a decision to finish my PhD and set a deadline to wrap things up by October.
Most of my time after that have been dedicated to concluding my research work, and writing journal papers. My doctoral topic application has been accepted, but I'm still short of the publication quota. A paper I've been trying to publish since April 2014 has since then accumulated more than 200 commits to the LaTeX source and is currently under yet another peer review.
I don't want to make any big plans for 2017. I have plenty of ideas for interesting projects and a backlog of (non-academic) things I would like to write about. However, given how much work I still have ahead of me before my viva voce, I doubt much of that will happen this year.