Onward, to 2016!

It's a brand new year and optimism is in the air!

Software in 2015

This year has seen some incredible things happen in the software world. Most interesting to me, personally, are (in no particular order):

  1. The release of version 1.0 of the Rust programming language, which has already seen incredible improvements bringing it to version 1.5!
  2. The public beta release of Let's Encrypt, bringing encryption on the web ever-closer to ubiquity.
  3. Golang version 1.5 was released, coming with some incredible improvements to the garbage collector.
  4. Node.js and io.js fused into Node.js 4.0 and later a LTS version was released, and Node.js is now at version 5.3!
  5. Apple open sourced their Swift programming language.

In general, the software world has also been growing more security aware. A good thing, too, considering all the horrific breaches we've seen this year.

Canadian politics in 2015

There has also been some incredible stuff happening in the political world. I've been incredibly excited and proud, for the first time in years, to call myself a Canadian as Justin Trudeau was elected Prime Minister of Canada and the Liberals have the majority. Trudeau has already done some amazing things like:

  1. Putting together a diverse cabinet that is 50% male and 50% female and includes wonderful people who reflect Canada's value for multiculturalism.
  2. Working to give a voice back to Canadian scientists, allowing them to speak to the media once again.
  3. Creating some much needed new positions in parliament for science and environmental advisory.

There's a ton of great stuff to Google and read about in this area. If you have been cringing as hard as most of the world at America's political activity, reading about what we're doing up here in Canada might cheer you up a bit.

My plans for 2016

At the very end of 2015, I left my job at eQualit.ie and took up a new position at Stratum Security that has been an incredible experience already. I'm very excited to be working with some really awesome and intelligent people. I've got a lot of freedom to do some great things and am incredibly satisfied so far with the quality of work I'm doing, and I'm picking up a lot on web application security as I go along. I'm looking forward to learning more in that area!

A lot of my ideas for this new year have come from this list of 12 resolutions for programmers. I've also been positively influenced by all the amazing things I've read about happening in the ClojureScript world in particular.

Things I'm hoping to do this year include:

  1. Sticking to a healthier diet. No more (a lot less) poutine and pizza!
  2. Getting some better exercise. More walking, some jogging, maybe even some weight lifting.
  3. Switch from Vim to Emacs at least for long enough to have an informed opinion on the latter.
  4. Do more reading, on a wider variety of subjects.
  5. Spend a couple days or more every month volunteering to help with community initiatives.
  6. Get involved in some bigger open source projects.
  7. Get into programming with hardware a bit.
  8. Set up an in-house OwnCloud server and automate media management and streaming.
  9. Play more violin! Buy a new bass and start playing that again as well.
  10. Learn a new programming language or two- probably Clojure(Script) and Rust.

Honestly, I forget about it every so often, but I also graduated with a B.Sc. in Computer Science in 2015, so I'm not a student anymore! A lot of my list reflects my hope that I'll be able to start eating and living better again. It's really hard to take care of your body when you're as busy as I was. Of course, no longer being a student is no excuse to let my brain rot- and I think I'd be absolutely miserable if I did- so there's also a lot in the way of keeping the neurons firing!

I've got a new username/"brand" now, too! No longer will I be going by redwire online, but instead I've adopted zsck, with the variation zsckrm. Get it? It's like the Linux fsck command, except the f is a Z, since my name is Zack... I'll stop now.

If you're excited for 2016 and have some cool things you're hoping to do, I'd love it if you'd share some of your ideas with me! Happy new year!