Looking Ahead

January almost passed without an inaugural post for the year, and clearly the months quickly turn into years! Here's to sticking with New Year's resolutions and polishing up many drafts waiting to see the light of screens 🥂 To start gaining momentum again, below are a few topics and technologies I'd like to spend more time with in the coming year.


JavaScript: Back to Basics

Last year, I slowed up on the relentless pursuit of All Thing JS. After years of doing something full time at work, it's often hard to maintain momentum and curiosity beyond work hours or work-related studying. Most important, there are other fun things to do besides coding! While my knowledge of React, build tools, Vue and (Chrome's) Developer Tools increased, I didn't spend nearly as much time with the language and browser internals as past years. This year I'd like to shift some attention back to the fundamentals of the language and its future direction. Also, one of my favorite topics, looking at trends in design/abstraction patterns in a given language and the problems they solve. Some of my favorites in this category include JavaScript Patterns (2010, still lots of good stuff) and Learning JavaScript Design Patterns (2017).

IoT

Time to dust off the Raspberry Pi and build some cool stuff this year. Nothing more to say on that. In terms of the FAANGs in the room, there are a few, though I've gravitated toward HomeKit ecosystem. Perhaps because I've been in the Apple ecosystem forever. (Wassup, Performa 575?) Some accessories haven't been as seamless to set up like this Wemo Mini Smart Plug. While this had to do with my home Internet router, for a company like that builds various wifi and router devices, I expected setup would be much more seamless. Others devices like the Phillips Hue bridge and lights  have been a breeze and tons of fun.

The addition of Apple's Home app to OS X Mojave was a very welcome addition, especially since it brought OS X Siri HomeKit integration. Somewhere on my infinite side project list is doing something with the HomeKit APIs, we'll see what happens. Here's a free product idea for non-morning persons everywhere: HomeKit-compatible Smart Shades that open when your alarm goes off. Please let me know if you've seen them!

Python and Friends

Last year I decided to begin getting up to speed on all the amazing things going on in the Python community, particularly in machine learning and scientific computing. I'd written some Python over the years, used it on a hackathon here, a toy project there, reading others' code everywhere, but never really took the time to learn the language. As has been covered at length in many places coming from a long time in Ruby wasn't much of a jump. (Don't worry Ruby, you're still my go-to!) Last year, I made it through a great 3-part course, Foundations of Data Science, that provided a great foundation.
It's fun to feel like a n00b again. 


AI policy and governance is something that also really burst through into popular discussion last year, and is something I've long enjoyed thinking about. From the common themes and lessons learned in (the attempted) regulation of any technology, to more recent literature like this and this on (the potential for) algorithmic inequality and abuse, to the discussions finally starting to percolate amongst legislatures everywhere, get your tech policy geek popcorn ready! There's a wealth of materials and food for thought in this free MIT course too. It's been on my "started strong then got distracted with another topic, and would love to get back to it" MOOC list.

And with that, see ya later 2018 In Tech, looking forward to what's next.

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