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So how's 2009 treating you so far? If you're like me, it means you've got about two weeks of writing "2008", then crossing out the 8 and writing a 9.

What's new in my life? Not a whole lot; finished the fall semester in flying colors, and now I'm on to bigger and better things. At the moment, that means lots more studying, presently from a great book called the Algorithm Design Manual (full audio and video lectures from the author are here). Also been refreshing my C++ syntax trivia and playing with the Python Challenge (though doing both at once is a bit of a brain fry(1)). So much to learn, so little time.

Another recent obsession of mine is the web site Stack Overflow, a coding Q&A site / wiki. I just broke 1000 reputation points today (here's my page). This isn't quite as crazy as it sounds, since they give you 10 points for every up-vote you get (2).

The guys who created Stack Overflow are Joel Spolsky (whose writings I've been a big fan of for a long time) and Jeff Atwood (who I wasn't familiar with before). They host a weekly podcast that I've been really enjoying, and last week I submitted an audio question to the podcast that they included. More on that here.

The other major obsession recently is Bubble Timer. Did you know that I have slept 248 hours in the last month? Or 13 hours walking my dog? OK, so that's true, but I'm not quite so OCD that I really care about that level of detail (3). But the great thing about emergent task timing is that you start to see patterns in your time usage, and you can plan around them. Like, I know that if I spend 45 minutes a day on house cleaning, it'll stay in nice shape, and if I don't, it won't. There's no magic way around that, regardless of what I might want to believe. Over time, emergent timing lets you understand the realities of your life a little better, and then at that point, if you want to change something, you can do it consciously.

Anyway, guess I should get back to whatever it is that I do when I'm not blogging.

(1) - Which reminds me of the time I tried to learn regular expressions at the same time I was learning the Dvorak keyboard layout. I don't recommend that.

(2) - I like to call that "pinball scoring" - inflated scores to make you happier about what you're doing. Seems to work.

(3) - LIES.


Happy 2009

Happy New Year! Here's to a great 2009.