James Strocel 2014: Resolution

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This time last year, my son was barely the length of my fore-arm and couldn’t even roll over. Today he manages quick toddles in between tables, can bring me the books he wants to read from across the room, and charms the pants off the cashiers every time we go grocery shopping. Now, what have I accomplished this year?

I’ll admit 2013 didn’t start off all that great. I started the Spring unemployed from what I had thought was my last crack at a 9-5 job. Being your average technology worker born after 1970, I was no stranger to joblessness. However, I tried something different this time. I ignored some very good advice and started building my own web app, Gameplaydate.com. I had the idea that I could get adults interested in multiplayer video games again. It’s still up there if you want to sign up. It has approximately 0 regular users, but it led me to my next job, and I’m still using the code base in that very job today.

I learned something very important that Summer. I learned to not accept my limits. I would still have limits, everyone has them. But from now on I want to know them, not just accept them.

Now, if I need to learn a complex technology or design methodology, I’ll just learn it and try to sell the solution to my bosses or clients. Most of the time, I don’t even need to sell the solution since that pattern I found saved me so much time and effort that everyone is happy. If a technology is too complex for me to work with, then I find someone who knows it, and I usually get the solution that way too.

If I were just to accept the limits of my knowledge, it would have dire consequences on my work. I’d be working with an existing codebase that I would be too scared to touch coming from a developer I respect too much to contact for a client I’m too afraid to bother with so much as a status e-mail.

I’m in a very good place right now because of those ideas, and in 2014 I want to take them even further. It might be cheesey to make resolutions at this time of year, but I find when I set goals now, a few of them start coming true. We’ll start off with the career and personal development goals and follow up with all the leisure goals, i.e. the books, games, and movies I plan to get through this year, because I have to get through that backlog somehow. When I make progress on any of them, I’ll be sure to post an update. Here goes!

Goals for 2014


Save up for a House
Learn TDD for Angular JS
Build a Raspberry Pi
Build my own Contact Manager
Build at least one video game in any language
Revisit Raingeek.com
Rebuild my consulting business
Meet my MP or MLA
Learn to Sew

Leisure Goals

Books (Fiction)
Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
Fulgrim by Graham McNeill
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Slayers vol. 1 by Hajime Kanzaka

Books (Non-fiction)
Antifragile by Nicholas Taleb
Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely
Creating Magic By Lee Cockerill
The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp
Nurture Shock by by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Books (Computer)
Hacking: The Art of Exploitation
Raspberry Pi User Guide
Programming Interviews Exposed
AngularJS Directives
Storytelling for User Experience

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Halo 4
Wolf Among Us
StrongBad’s Cool Game for Attractive People
Rogue Legacy
Super Robot Wars J
Persona 3

Pacific Rim
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1
X-men Days of Future Past

TV Series
Doctor Who
Marvel: Agents of SHIELD
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Madoka Majica
Yamato 2199
Mobile Suit Gundam (1979)