I thought so much about what I should cover in my year-end review that I never actually finished it. I like looking through these so even though it’s 9 months late, I figured I should just put up my rough outline.
I often go through phases where I read random math Wikipedia pages. This year I remember reading about Set Theory. From there, I read up more on Lebesgue Measure which extends the concept of length to more abstract sets. These links were useful in learning about that [1, 2]. This eventually led me to be interested in Abstract Algebra so I ended up reading Abstract Algebra by Judson. This post covers some of the things I learned earlier in the book. The latter third of the book got too much for me. I enjoyed the experience but it became clear to me that we know way too much for someone to learn it all casually.
This post covered my interest in the art from the Mughal period. Around the same time, I played the game Astrologaster and I enjoyed it. I started thinking about making a similar game using Mughal-style art and covering some Mughal periods.
As a result, I ended up getting researcher access at NYPL and getting a bunch of books about the Mughal period (particularly about the late Mughal period and focused on the Deccan region where I grew up). I learned a bunch of fun things that I probably should write a post on. I do have my notes somewhere.
I also spent some time trying to use my group theory logic to try to build a game. Little Alchemy is a popular game where you combine items to generate new items. The set of those items does not create a mathematical group but I started thinking about a game like that which did create a group. So basically the mechanic of the game would be that you can combine two elements to generate any other element.
I thought through a few different ideas and even sketched some out in Figma but didn’t find anything fun.
According to my notes, I also came up with an idea to make a game about Baseball Umpires in 2021. I don’t think I did any work towards it in 2021 though.
I made varying contributions to different things
- Pancakes - created an android app for myself to load the StackExchange website and inject CSS to make it mobile-friendly
- Blender - Added support for drag-and-drop of Materials so that they can be dropped on specific material slots of an object: Code review with demos
- Git - This post covers my experience contributing a new “autocorrect” setting for git
- Graphite - A new vector editor intended to be procedural/non-destructive. I added support to save/export files.
- RL custom map support - RLBot is something I did a lot of in 2020. In 2021, I added support to load custom maps in Rocket League via RLBot. The goal was to add an upgraded story mode but I don’t think that work went anywhere.
- Making of a Manager - Good book about management in Tech
- Managing Humans - Casual book, quick read. Value varies from chapter to chapter
- Manager’s Path: Excellent book that covers what the path looks like from IC -> Senior Eng -> Tech Lead -> Manager -> Group Manager -> CTO.
- What Is This Thing Called Science: Book about the philosophy of science. I enjoyed it. It is kind of a book that I should re-read since there were a lot of nuances that I probably didn’t fully absorb.
- The End of Everything: The book was interesting but I thought it could be better. I think it should have gone on some of the topics at a deeper level. I do share the author’s fascination with the Vacuum Decay ending the universe before anyone notices anything.
- From Eternity to Here: I have always looked for a book that talks more about Entropy. While the title of the book is about time, the author argues about a deep coupling between entropy and time. I loved the book.
- Soul Music: Another book in the Discworld series
- If Chins Could Kill: Amusing anecdotes by Bruce Campbell. In particular, it was a fun exposure to indie filmmaking.
- Abstract Algebra: book about group theory mentioned earlier
At work, I moved to a different area to start a new team. In 2021, I grew the team and we worked on a proof-of-concept for what we were trying to do.
I remember I spent some time researching visual programming. I found that there has been lots of work in this space going back to the 80s.
- Stańczyk (painting): Painting shows a sad clown who knows of the upcoming danger while there is nobility in the background celebrating in ignorance.
- You lose any determinism in a system pretty quickly: StackExchange question that shows that within 50 collisions all kinds of “negligible” things like electrons at the edge of the universe start impacting systems.
- Built a toy ray tracer. Referred to it in the C++17 Execution Policy post
- Certificate Transparency Logs (public logs of SSL certificates) had to permanently suspend one of the logs because it got in a bad state because of a cosmic ray bit-flip [discussion]