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Reviewing 2011

Just like last years review I’m now doing a review of 2011. With my big decision late 2010 of going back to school to get my bachelors degree I had planned on 2011 to be a much better year than 2010 was. For most of it this has been true, but it hasn’t been without struggle and hardships.

What dominated 2010 was the issues with my hands and the brain tumor of my mothers friend (technically my stepfather). This was also mostly the dominating theme of 2011. Finally around late July, early August, the pain in my hands was mostly gone. By now, end of December, I’m mostly without pain, though I still have some bad days and still can’t stand cold. I’m really happy the Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D has done its job.

The brain tumor my stepfather (for the record, I don’t call anyone my father, but this makes writing easier; he’s an OK guy though) is suffering from was removed in 2010. So far on all scans now further growth has been detected and it’s all stable for the time being. The bad thing though is the trauma caused to the brain has affected his motor skill, memory and thinking. He’s now getting therapy, but it’s all going pretty slow. So I hope for him and my mother that in 2012 this will improve a lot, as well as that the tumor stays away.

In March my car needed to get its yearly checkup. I just owned it a year but I already had to spend about 1000,- EUR on reparations. It turned out that the timing belt should’ve been replaced when I bought the car. This was something the car salesman should’ve have told me, or rather, he should’ve fixed it before selling it to me. This was a bit of a downer.

I stopped working full time on the 1st of July. My plan was to have 2 months of me-time before school started in September. I haven’t fully quit my job though as I’m still working part time from home. Only 1.5 week after being home my mother suffered a Myocardial infarction. About a month later it almost happened again. On top of that my dog also started crippling after stepping out of the car. Aside from all that misery and stress it were 2 nice months.

At the same time I’ve also finally released the 1.0.0 version of the Maximus client and website. A few months later I also added a graphical user interface for the Maximus client and kept on working on the webapplication. I’m currently working on the 1.2.0 release of the webapplication and still have plenty of ideas to add.

In September I finally started university and it has been a blast so far. I’ve had my doubts in the first 2 weeks because I had trouble with getting up to speed with the Mathematics we were being taught taught. But I decided to pull through and in the end got an average of a 7 on my exams. Not bad, considering the last time I was being taught math was 8 years ago and the topics we were handling were almost all new to me!

Time for a conclusion! More than half this year hasn’t been too good, but I really can’t complain. My hands are doing much better, my mom is doing very good as well considering she nearly died and my dog isn’t cripple anymore, though we’ve got to be careful. In the end I’m just very happy and grateful I’ve still got my mom around, that my dog is doing well and that my health has been getting better. School doesn’t disappoint either and in general I’m fairly happy I suppose!

All that’s left is to win the new years lottery :-).

Programming languages I planned on learning in 2011

Earlier this year I posted about which languages I planned on learning in 2011. A few months later I posted about my progress. Now that 2011 almost has come to an end it’s time to review and see if I actually met any of those goals. How exciting.

I had listed 4 programming languages I planned on learning: Lua, C#, Haskell and Java. And with absolute self confidence I can proudly tell you I’ve fully learned none of them! So, what happened?

Lua

I believe I haven’t written a single line of Lua this year at all. Or maybe I did, I can’t even remember. I do know I was experimenting on a BlitzMax based IRC client, which could be scripted by Lua. But this just might’ve been in 2010… In short, the reason I haven’t done any was because I didn’t have any project I wanted to embed Lua in. Perhaps Maximus? Sure, I know I can use Lua standalone, but I think the true beauty of Lua is the easiness of embedding it. So I think I’ll give my IRC client experiment another go in 2012.

C#

Of all the languages to learn I’ve spent most time with C#. Reason for this was because I needed it to do my homework assignments in it as well as several small projects. Heck, I’ve even used XNA! But I can’t say I’ve spent enough time with it to say I actually learned C#. I can read the code just fine, it’s just that I haven’t memorized some of the basic syntax. Overall I’ve made most progress on C#. In general I don’t enjoy C# too much, but LINQ makes it a lot more fun, that’s for sure.

Haskell

I actually did try some Haskell examples from the book Learn You A Haskell For Great Good. But didn’t come much further with either reading the book or trying stuff out. I have however come to use Amanda, which is another functional programming language which has borrowed a lot from Haskell. It’s what we use at university for the discrete math course. Since I’ll also have to do a couple of exams on it I decided to let Haskell wait a little bit longer. The reason for this is that even though the syntax of both languages are very much alike there’re subtle differences in syntax, which could cost me my head at the paper exams. But I do feel Haskell has given me an advantage in picking up Amanda and discrete math.

Java

Oh Java, thy dreadful beast. I’m most glad I haven’t done anything with Java this year! Turns out we’ll only be using it starting the 2nd school year, together with C++. I’ve already used C++ for a short year, so that won’t be too much of a problem. But finding out I don’t enjoy C# too much (yet), makes me fear how awful programming in Java will be :-(. Perhaps I should give Java a chance though before burning it to the ground.

What’s next

So for 2012 I’m still planning on working with these 4 languages, though Java totally depends on my university. I’ll most likely pick up Haskell somewhere at the beginning of the summer. Perhaps earlier. C# will be needed for more school projects. For Lua I’ll be sure to find a project to integrate it into (probably the IRC client). In the meantime of me not using Lua 5.1, version 5.2 already came out. I haven’t checked yet but I hope they don’t differ too much.

I’ve also still got the book Seven Languages In Seven Weeks which I plan on working through. I’m at the final day for Ruby if I remember correctly. So I’ll be touching several different languages briefly as well.

As a final conclusion I’m not too disappointed. For most of the year I was still having issues with my hands (sometimes still have) which has since been getting better and better. All in all 4 languages might’ve been a bit too much, especially if you consider it was only more or less 6 months I was able to spend time on it. Not forgetting school and work eating up a considerable amount of time next to it as well.

BlitzMax and 64-bit Ubuntu

Just a quick reminder when installing BlitzMax on a 64-bit installation of any Ubuntu flavor.

Always install ia32-libs or you won’t be able to execute programs compiled by BlitzMax, even though the required shared libraries are available (not actually true, as these are the 64-bit libraries). Installing this package makes sure you’ll be able to run them.

Additional info at: