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.