2012 in Review

CC licensed, original at http://www.flickr.com/photos/theilr/2164085293/

The Mayans were wrong. What a shocker, huh?

And yet, the overall feeling I get when I mentally review the year’s events isn’t what you would call positive — and I don’t attribute that to our recent travails, or to my relatively sparse (and, let’s face it, woefully below par) writing this year.

Since we’re on that topic, The Exodus is still foremost in my mind.

It mirrors most of my concerns regarding what the economic crisis and its mis-management are doing to the local industry, and is a good starting point for reflection — all in all, this was another year where I was caught up with local and personal concerns, and, again, I come to the inevitable conclusion that thinking small doesn’t suit me.

Nor does wasting time, or fluffing up things to make them look less serious. I don’t expect 2013 to be significantly better unless we actively strive to make it so, and as such I’m vastly less compromising these days in many regards.

Which in turn ties in with an increasing need to talk to and interact with people outside Portugal — despite a lot of neat things that have been happening, we’re too caught up in our own little world for my liking, and that’s first and foremost on my mind.

As a country, we need new ideas, new ways of thinking, and, most importantly, more discipline in doing things better. And even if I can’t leave Portugal, that doesn’t mean I can’t pull my weight and try to improve it — and I think I’m in the right place to do it.

Plus I’m liking the Big Data stuff I’m currently involved in a lot (even if it’s not public), and there’s a lot of interesting stuff to do there.

I’ve pretty much given up on predictions, and only one of my last year wishes came true (SSDs are now “affordable”, for a definition of the term that excludes mention of arms and legs), so I’m going to go with my view on current trends here and forget about doing any predictions — it’s mostly a waste of time1 anyway.

Apple-wise, I don’t think there’s much to say. The Maps debacle, the iPad 3 sunsetting and my return to the iPhone make for an interesting set of blips on the cosmic disturbance charts, but I think they’re on the right track business-wise.

In fact, regardless what the penny press puts out every day, I don’t think they ever left the track at all.

And even given their current shortcomings in terms of user experience2, I find it very unlikely that my drive towards minimal compromise in quality will take me away from their ecosystem — although I’m still bullish on Android and intend to tinker with it now and then.

I haven’t forgotten Windows, either — either desktop or mobile. But I think those stories are still playing out, hopefully unlike RIM’s. There’s a world of hurt out there, though.

On the upside, I’m rather liking the new trend towards tiny machines — the Raspberry Pi is a nice (if limited, despite the hype) hobbyist phenomenon, and every day there’s some new board or gadget that brings us one step closer to an “Internet of things”.

I’m quite happy to believe we’re inching closer to something like The Diamond Age, with technology becoming effectively invisible — and all things considered, that’s a kind of future I’d be quite comfortable with.

  1. I’ve been reading an advance copy of an amazing book covering anticipating and adapting to industry upheaval, and it’s so good that even though I recognise myself in bits of it, I’m now absolutely certain off-the-cuff predictions are useless. More on that later. 

  2. Here’s a fun data point — my most popular post of 2012 by an order of magnitude is Command-Tab on your iPad. If that (and their approach to basic security) doesn’t tell you something about Apple’s blind spots, then nothing will.