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Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year, New Look

So, I've done a minor redesign on ye olde blog. Well, actually, I just picked another template, but it's still a new look for me.

We had a good Christmas and New Year's Eve. Our friends Bill and David came from NY and Maryland, respectively, and we had dinner with our friends Eric and Joy (down from Wisconsin). We'd planned to go to a party at yet another friend's house, but everyone got in from town later than expected, and all we really felt like doing were eating snacks here and playing some games.

Sunday afternoon we went out to see the ruins of Monte Ne...along with probably several hundred other people. Pretty cool to see stuff that's normally under 20+ feet of water, but it's crazy how low Beaver Lake is. Man, we really need some rain!

So, that's the recap of the end of the old year. What's up for the new one?

For one thing, I'm planning to actually blog more regularly for a change. In fact, I may challenge Lance to a Blogathon to see which of us can keep a once-a-day blogging streak going the longest. Safe money is on him.

I'm also trying to decide which programming language I should focus on trying to learn this year. That's tough one. I've got a fun project I want to try to build, and it could be a good exercise for learning a new language.

I worked with Ruby and Rails this past year, and I've still got a ton to learn. It has the advantages of being a language/platform I'm already familiar with, and it's looking like a good skill to have over the next 3-5 years.

Also in the mix is Smalltalk and Seaside. Smalltalk has been around forever, of course, but learning it would be a great way to really learn about how we got the object oriented languages we have today, not to mention learning where the mainstream languages will be going in the future.

Finally there's Lisp. I heard a martial arts quote once to the effect that every martial artist eventually winds up doing Aikido. Likewise, there's the famous claim that those who do not study Lisp are doomed to reimplement it (badly). I learned some Scheme in college courses, but never really mastered it, so I really feel like it would be worth learning. The problem is that Lisp lacks the pre-made web app frameworks of the other languages, and I'm not particularly interested in rolling my own. I know there are some available, but none are as slick or well-known as Rails and Seaside.

Basically, I feel like really learning Ruby would teach me anything I'd need to know for 2006-2008. Smalltalk would probably teach me things I'd need to know for 2008-2015. Lisp would probably teach me things I'd need to know after about 2012. I feel like I could skip some steps and just learn Lisp, but then it might not directly benefit me for a while (aside from the indirect benefits of a better grasp of functional programming).

In the final analysis, though, I do have a personal project that I want to get done, so picking something that will help me get that done quickly and easily, while still allowing it to grow, is probably the most important consideration.

Thoughts and suggestions welcome.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the new layout. No more gaint blank space at the top. Also that's a really cute drawing. Is that really you and did you do it yourself? Where might I get one done at?

1/03/2006 4:03 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

That really is me, and I really did do it myself. It was a lot of fun, and I'm toying with the idea of selling comic pictures if people are interested, but it might be a lot less fun as a job. :-)

Really good, professional ones are available from

1/03/2006 4:21 PM  

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