Moving on to 2008….

I would not want to buck the weblogging tradition of posting some type of year-end wrap-up, and I was quite lax on the photography and book-reading this year so I thought I would tie up 2007 with a recap of some of the new technologies that I have started using in the past year.

  • RSS Feeds: My general websurfing habits had been to open folders of bookmarks into my Firefox tabs and click my way through them, but I finally broke down and tried out reading feeds and it’s an experiment I’m sticking with. I started out using Sage, a Firefox extension, but I’m pretty firmly wedded to Google Reader at this point. Sure, Google is harvesting what I read when, but I can keep up on my feeds anyway, including on my cellphone and it’s support for tracking new feeds and letting you star old entries for later references is great.
  • Eclipse: I had played with it very briefly before, but this year marks the first time I have really used it, and after a surprisingly shallow learning curve I feel like I’m pretty proficient with it. I’ve only tested out the Java support, and have heard that it is less ideal for C++, but it has all of the expected bells and whistles, I like the debugger, and I’m a fan of using a free tool that my students can continue to use after the end of the semester. I still think you ought to get started with a simple text editor and command-line compilation, but if you are going with an IDE this is a reasonable choice.
  • Facebook: I was talked into setting up a profile and, having never gotten on MySpace or Friendster or any of those things, it’s been interesting to play with. I’m invested enough that I even have opinions on the recent changes allowing your status to not start with “is” and emailing you messages you receive, and not just notifications (both great!).
  • New Toys: My laptop and lab computers all got upgraded, along with shiny new flatscreen monitors. Bonus on the laptop – all of my wireless networking problems went away, at home and in my office. I upgraded my cell phone and along the way learned to text message and access the internet using it. I think 2007 was the tipping point in my always-on accessibility.

This coming year, I’ve got modest technological innovation goals. I’m going to learn either Python or Jython. I would like to get my old laptop running Linux. And I’ll probably jump on a few other bandwagons along the way, just to keep current – so send me your recommendations of what I ought to be playing around with before next December rolls around.

4 thoughts on “Moving on to 2008….

  1. I could do that, but I’ve already sold my soul to Page and Brin, and I’ve heard that Jobs doesn’t like to share….

  2. The google guys don’t actually want your soul though. They just want to know everything ABOUT you (and I guess about your soul). So as long as you leave them with some access, it should work out just fine.

  3. Yeah, I still have not heard an argument that my life gets any easier for learning an entirely new operating system and software packages and then ending up with a situation where my personal machine is running a different setup than my classroom and lab….

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