As goals go, hozho is as good as any, and better than most. The balance it describes was no more easily achieved in this year than any other, but the highs and lows were navigated, I’d argue, more or less as prescribed by the approach itself. No permanent damage, at least, appears to have been done.
That said, it can’t hurt to review the year gone by. And fortunately, unlike Orpheus, there are no dire consequences if I should happen to glance behind me, hence this self-indulgent retrospective. In all honesty, this is probably one to skip.
This particular year was heavy on the travel, but as I only embraced Dopplr midway through it I’m not going to try and capture all of the cities I stayed in. I suspect the list would be depressingly long, in any event.
Professionally, I’m content with the year. We didn’t blow up, and neither I nor RedMonk was perfect, but we continue to have happy customers, a brilliant community, and the areas on the report card that got marked “Needs Improvement” should see some. Soon. In the meantime, I enjoy what I do, and appreciate just how rare that condition is. How many jobs are there where you feel that you’re learning something every day?
Personally, there were some rather challenging background events not entirely covered in this space, but things roll on. If anything, I’m most pleased with some substantial if non-obvious changes wrought over the course of the past 12 months. Like Matt Damon’s character in The Departed, who says “I’m Irish. I’ll deal with something being wrong for the rest of my life,” I’ve got a tendency to endure where I should cure. Whether or not it arrived with the apostrophe in my last name is ultimately irrelevant, the important thing is acknowledging the issue and addressing it, and solid progress was made. The ability to endure is useful; the need to is not.
I don’t expect perfection, but positive change is crucial, and I’ll pass myself on that score. I’m in better shape than I was the year before, I’m better read than I was the year before, I’m more knowledgeable than I was the year before, and I cut my television consumption almost to zero for six plus months. All good. Sadly, I also caught far fewer fish than the year before. As certain individuals delight in pointing out.
Blurring the line between the personal and professional realms were a variety of social networking and related tools. From Twitter to Facebook to Dopplr to Google Calendar, more of my life is captured digitally every year, but the one just completed was the hockey stick on the graph. As the content below indicates. I’ll have more to say on this point later, because I think it has important implications for general and personal histories in the longer term, but suffice it to say that there’s a lot of me in the cloud. Which is mostly for the better, though not without its risks. If I remember 2007 for anything specific, then, it will probably be the Year of the Cloud.
For those that crave detail, a more detailed look at the year just ended.
Thanks to Alex’s scripts, some details on my contributions to this space. This year saw 585 total posts, down slightly from 601 in 2006. While the number of posts was down, however, the length of posts was up: 2007′s average character count per post was 4435, up from 3705 in 2006, which in turn was up from 3341 in 2005. That I’m writing more is both good and bad, but either way is indicative of a long term problem that warrants monitoring: wordiness. The comment count was off slightly, 1313 this past year versus 1460 in 2006. Some of that is a lack of responsiveness on my part, which I’m hoping to address at some point soon via technical means (think XMPP). Lastly, the total number of characters in this space for the year 2007 was 2,594,218, against 2,226,907 in 2006 and 1,463,385 in 2005.
The new year saw a new design for the blog, and I briefly contemplated selling my loft. Prior to the launch, I asserted that I wasn’t getting an iPhone. My inaugural award for technical innovation went to Amazon for its EC2/S3 efforts; an award that has stood up well, I think. Putting S3 to work, I automated our production server backup using the online storage service, a Ruby rsync script and Zmanda’s ZRM product. Seeing the benefit, I initiated a backup of my entire music collection to S3. On the conference front, I attended David Berlind and Doug Gold’s Mashup Camp in Boston. Also, I gave in and became a regular Twitter user. Toward the end of the month, I attended Lotusphere in Orlando, and did a hut trip up in Aspen.
On the music front, I completed the initial load of my music onto S3, and discovered the Hype Machine. The value of backups was subsequently reinforced for me as I corrupted my laptop hard drive. On the good news front, I embraced both Beryl and Avant Window Navigator to give me a next generation desktop on Ubuntu. Shortly before I turned a year older, I celebrated Truck Day. In the middle of the month, I attended LinuxWorld in New York City. Around this time, I realized I was hooked on Dark ‘N Stormies. Following a cousin’s engagement party, I visited Maine. Predictably, I weighed in on Google Apps, which eventually reminded me that I had a Flogging Molly show to attend.
The month started off poorly, as we nearly lost a client due to spam issues and a resulting lack of responsiveness, and shortly thereafter bid a fond farewell to Anne who we all enjoyed working with. Getting over those rough events, I set out to automate our WordPress updating procedure using Subversion. Observing ongoing driver issues with Linux, I wondered whether or not Linux could or should play the Apple card. Having not done one in a while, it was time for a Denver Tech Meetup. Also long overdue was the relaunch of redmonk.com, which was made possible by Alex and Crowd Favorite. With that accomplished, I felt justified in my St Patrick’s Day revelry. Thinking initially that I’d had too much to drink on that holiday, I read that Ian Murdock was joining Sun. Seizing a weather and family window, a friend and I officially opened the fishing season. To make my telephony life simpler, I switched on Grand Central. On a more alarming note, our extended family grappled with a serious crisis. The good news was that offers of assistance poured in, and that it ended about as well as it could have. All of that went down while I was at HP’s annual analyst conference in Boston.
Early on, I commented on the Apache/Sun controversy, while offering up my thoughts on the loss of Kurt Vonnegut. On the technical front, I experimented with Yahoo Pipes by using it to filter links posts out of the redmonk.com homepage. In the face of a massive storm, I flew from Denver to the East Coast for the Patriot’s Day Red Sox game, which not only was played but won by the good guys. Curious, I asked whether Google was ring fencing IBM, and subsequently attended the MySQL conference in Santa Clara. Back in Boston again, I got on board the OLPC bandwagon after they put on an analyst day. Then, after wounding myself while fishing up in Loveland, I corrected the record vis a vis my position on dual licensing.
Spurred on by incoming inquiries, I outlined my personal hiring philosophy. Spurred on by nothing more than an appreciation for the novel, I reviewed Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. For my brother’s bachelor’s party, I visited New Orleans for the first time. With my colleagues, I attended and enjoyed RedMonkOne, our inaugural track at the inaugural CommunityOne conference that preceded JavaOne, all while plotting my return to Maine for the summer. Eventually, the day of departure arrived, as did I a few days later, and the summer in Maine was on. As a result of that transition, I commented on highway driving etiquette. Seeking a better phone, I upgraded my Cingular phone from an LG CU320 to a Nokia N75. Then it was time for Memorial Day Weekend, with friends up and the boat just in the water. To close out the month, I covered the Google Gears announcement.
Though I’d been out only a few weeks, I flew back to Denver to defend myself against a speeding ticket (got knocked down to 1 point). As we were being asked about it increasingly, I discussed Sun’s Project Indiana initiative. In a sign of things to come, I caught no fish early one Sunday morning, but took some pictures I liked. Mid-month, I attended the Rational Software Conference, and then the the MIT/IBM Virtual Worlds Conference. As others had before me, I considered the word “friend” in the context of social networking. And speaking of friends, one of mine flew out from Denver for a weekend of not catching any fish. Compelled to return my loaner Thinkpad, I ordered a new one to replace it, but subsequently cancelled the order because Lenovo hasn’t refreshed the X series screen since 2000. Frustrated – as usual – by the music industry, I argued against a spike in the royalty rates for internet radio broadcasters.
Still seeking fish, I took the boat up to the Chops. No joy. Where there was joy was in our migration from Zimbra to Google apps. A week or two later, I headed up to Acadia for a couple of days of camping. A fan of the idea, I discussed the concept of online desktops. More importantly, a new schedule had me running 5+ miles 3 or so times a week mid-July through late August. Just before OSCON, I gave a talk at UbuntuLive, staying over for OSCON as usual. And lest the baseball trading deadline go by without reaction, I had a few things to say.
With the introduction of a payments service, I discussed Amazon’s burgeoning web services platform. That was fun. Less so was having my identity stolen. A few short days later, though, that wasn’t even a memory as I had the honor of serving as the Best Man in my younger brother’s wedding. Capturing a series of changes I’d been making subconsciously, I resolved to live simply. Documenting an argument I’d made to many, I offered up a theory on how open source firms would escape revenue plateaus. I also put together a couple of RedMonk get togethers, one in NYC and the other in San Francisco. With the weather beginning to turn, I lamented the approaching end of summer. It may have been because I was bitter that I got jobbed by PowerBall and didn’t win. Tough to say. To brighten things up, I took in a Portland Sea Dogs game (Justin Masterson started) and hit Monhegan Island for the first time in years. Frustrated by my wheeled luggage, I replaced it.
Watching Clay Buchholz twirl a no hitter in his second start wasn’t a bad way to open the month, and then I headed down to NYC for a Sun Analyst event. In a move that had been in the making for a long time, IBM joined OpenOffice.org and I had some analysis. For the benefit of others, I documented the process for getting a Cingular wireless card working on Ubuntu. On the sad news front, I remembered a friend. Back in San Francisco for the second time that month, I attended VMWorld, staying in a sketchy hotel. Then it was back to Maine, then back to San Francisco for the Salesforce.com conference. With the Red Sox playing poorly, I preemptively thanked them for a great summer of baseball. After spending so much time in San Francisco, I began using Zipcar. Late in the season, I caught a game at Fenway: Sox vs Oakland. Lastly, I proposed that Sun enter the laptop market directly via Intel’s Metro prototype.
Early in the month, I attended Adobe MAX in Chicago. Fortunately, a friend from college and I found a Red Sox friendly establishment to watch the opening game of the playoffs (Josh Beckett dominating start). Though it took me a while, I finally figured out how to get a Jawbone bluetooth headset working on Linux. The one and only Red Sox playoff game I attended was won on a monstrous walk off home run by Manny Ramirez. With no other choice, I conceded that Fall had arrived. Interestingly, I found myself using some of the Linux eye candy. Productively. Unsurprisingly, I was pleased when the Red Sox secured a berth in the World Series. Game 1 I watched in Maine, Game 2 in Boston, Game 3 on the plane to Denver, and Game 4 in Denver with a friend and my cousin. And in case you haven’t been keeping up with current events, the good guys won. To close out the month, I tackled the question of analyst influence.
The early part of the month was all Google; first Android, then Open Social. The second weekend I was off to St Croix for my cousin’s wedding. With the World Series won, it was time to return to Denver. Eventually, I got there. Shortly thereafter, I discussed Red Hat’s cloud computing offering. Thanksgiving was spent with my family in Maine, with a quick trip to Camden, and I was appreciative of five years of RedMonk. Earlier in the month, I’d attended IBM’s fall analyst event. After some delay, I finally commented on the GNOME/OOXML controversy.
After my friends told me I was fooling myself, I broke down and decided to divide my time more evenly between Denver and Maine. With folks asking, I commented on so-called “hybrid source.” Inspired by the commentary from #redmonk, I installed and tried Fedora 8, only to decide to revert to Ubuntu. Needing a break, a friend and I went snowshoeing in Grand Lake. Over Christmas week, I visited New Jersey, New York, Maine and Boston. Oh, and Santa brought me an iPhone. Closing out the year, a small group of friends congregated here, and though we didn’t manage to make it out, we did manage to enjoy ourselves.
Later, plans for the upcoming year.