My 2014 resolution

:: reading, Forth, Murakami, Doctorow

For 2014 I had just one New Year’s resolution (and that stolen from @patrickrhone). Which I failed to keep.

I managed to buy only eleven books which weren’t presents for others.

I guess nostalgia and being a sucker for a bargain accounted for a few, such as the Kindle edition of Stack Computers: The New Wave which decribes the architecture of new (circa 1989) machines optimized for running languages such as Forth.

The first useful computer I built and programmed ran Forth, and it gave me a taste for having a machine on which it seemed there was a really tight loop between thinking of something and being able to express it as a running system. This experience has spoiled me for many languages since. (The three which I reckon best exemplify this magic are Forth, Smalltalk and Lisp).

Another was a 2nd hand copy of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. I so like this author. His story-telling of apparently mundane activities; making noodles, drinking coffee give me a shiver of wistfulness for Japan, and then suddenly there’s a talking cat, or a hotel with a sinister, transient floor. Not so much magic realism as realism with magic.

My most recent transgression was @doctorow’sInformation Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age”. If anything warrants breaking a resolution, a new book by Cory Doctorow does. This is a guy with a great line in anecdotes, an easy, informative style and a sound take on the interaction of technology and rights. I had the great fortune of catching his talk at last year’s HowTheLightGetsIn festival in a very damp and muddy Hay on Wye.

So, I don’t feel too bad about 2014. Let’s see how my 2015 resolution goes… (best summarised by the epithet “*text, text, text*”). More to follow.