Reviewing the second year of Monomorphic

In May 2010 I reviewed the state of Monomorphic as a blog. Since it’s now been almost 13 months since that time, let’s evaluate what’s happened in the meantime. Where am I, how did I get here, and where do I go next?

The rate of publication has decreased. Prior to the last evaluation, 55 posts had been published – about one per week. Since then, only 22 new posts have been added. This is partly because I’ve had more academic tasks to carry out, a condition that is set to intensify gradually from here on, and partly because I tried to change my standards for what I wanted to blog about (in some vague, as of yet unspecified way).

Scala is still a very popular topic to blog about, and rightly so, but I no longer feel that I should write about it for the sake of doing so. Others do a much better job of writing about Scala than I could do, because they spend all their time more time with that language. Incidentally, I’m delighted to see that companies are still switching to Scala quite eagerly, and that Martin Odersky and others launched the company Typesafe to help others with the transition. Learning Scala has honestly been one of the most empowering experiences I’ve had as a programmer, and I believe that there is a vast space of possibilities that has yet to be explored in the language. Maybe it’s not a language for everybody (I postpone my judgment on this for now), but if it were in the hands of the right teams with the right discipline, the world would be in a better state. Also, the Scala IDE for Eclipse has been vastly, vastly improved since 13 months ago, at which time it could barely be used.

I’ve become more and more interested in philosophy over the past 18 months or so, and this started to show up in the blog during this interval, with more and more entries tentatively trying to delineate philosophical questions or positions. Initially I was focussing almost only on Nietzsche, but recently I’ve also been reading a lot of Foucault, as well as some others. I’ve probably not been very pedagogical in writing down my thoughts on these topics, but I fear I will never be a pedagogical writer unless I go through some initial struggling attempts. The ideas I’m most interested in currently are causality (I believe that we don’t understand it at all) and free will (I believe that its existence is highly questionable, but very fruitful to criticise and reason about).

Popularity. By far my most popular post has been this little note on Nomura’s Jellyfish. If I put Google adwords on just that post, I would probably make a lot of money without annoying any other readers. For some reason Google directs a lot of people googling jellyfish to this site. As if programming and philosophy are not more interesting things to Google. Other than that, the Scala posts have been very popular, and following them, Continuous computing, Type theory and Politicization of mathematics… were able to attract some attention.

From now on, until early next year, I have to focus more and more on finishing my Ph.D. studies; it remains to see how this will affect my blogging.

Category: Computer science, Life, Philosophy | Tags: , Comment »

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