Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Forward To 2013

We're all starting another year today. I haven't written in a while, in spite of all the activity that's been going on. Like most people, I usually find myself in a Janus mood at this time of year: looking back, looking ahead.

I'd say that 2012 was a good year for me. I saw both of my beloved daughters earn Master of Science degrees and start on their careers. Both are handling their business and pushing forward on their own. What more could any parent ask for?

I had the chance to travel with my youngest brother this summer. We attended a fantastic family wedding and got to spend some great time together. I enjoyed every moment of it, never to be forgotten.

I wanted to learn how to run again in 2011. By June of 2012 I had been on the road for a whole year without significant injury. So I set a new goal: train for and finish a half marathon. I fulfilled it in fine style, finishing in less than two hours. It was such a satisfying, enjoyable experience. I've continued to run regularly since. I tripled the mileage that I logged in 2010. I'd like to up the ante in 2013 and finish my first marathon. I don't know if it'll be the Hartford marathon or something earlier, but I know I'll be able to do it. Past history is a fine predictor.

It wasn't my best swimming year. I was on track for something special at the end of June. I decided to try an experiment: Was swimming in chlorinated water having an adverse effect on my lungs? I took two full months off, not swimming a yard, running full time. I'm happy to report that my lungs are better. I've been back in the water in December. The pool that I use has dropped their water temperature down to 80 F and gotten the chlorine levels under control. I've enjoyed being back in the water again. I plan to mix running and swimming all year in 2013.

Now that I can manage all three events - run, bike, and swim - I'd love to enter one of the sprint triathlons they have over the summer in Lake Terramuggus in Marlborough CT and see how I fare.

I had a great year reading, both technical stuff and fiction. It's one of life's greatest pleasures for me. I've described some of the books in this blog. Two that I didn't write about were The Swerve and Republic, Lost. Both describe how dogma holds back society and progress. Let's hope we can make headway against it in 2013.

I've always prided myself on being a lifelong learner, but I realized this year that I needed to go back to the beginning and learn something difficult. I would like to become far more proficient with machine learning software like Mahout and Weka.

I would like to upgrade my understanding of fundamentals in statistics. I finally understand the Bayes point of view after reading The Theory That Wouldn't Die, Doing Bayesian Analysis, and The Signal and the Noise. I want to deepen my knowledge and apply it in significant ways in 2013.

I'm taking my first on-line course at Udacity. I'm on track to finish it sometime in the next two weeks. Then I'll take another, and another. I'd like to widen the set of topics I'm knowledgeable about in 2013.

I signed up for an Amazon Web Services account. I'm still amazed at how much it offers at such low cost. I plan to learn it deeply in 2013.

I signed up for a Twitter account during the autumn. Aside from the time wasting and humor, it's been educational to see the the different kinds of people out there. It's been good to be exposed to different points of view.

It's exciting to start another year. I can't wait to see how this one goes.

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