I Want to Believe 2013 is Gone

I very nearly didn’t post this, for a number of reasons.

The first is that I don’t like to dwell on things. 2013 simply wasn’t that great a year (personally or otherwise), and I just want to move on and get it over with.

Mostly due to financial constraints and their impact in the country at large, I’m now (in terms of purchasing power) back where I was roughly three years ago, but with less savings.

That and the somewhat bleak prospects for the local economy have considerably dampened my enthusiasm for technology in general – let alone regarding stuff that I simply can’t afford.

So I’ve resigned myself to watching from the sidelines as Apple keeps renewing their product line (with rather interesting and far-reaching implications that others have far more time to write about), and making do with cheaper gadgetry.

On that note, I’m still quite taken by the amount of tiny ARM computers that have been crawling out of the woodwork over the past couple of years, and even though I consider “the internet of things” to be another pipe dream that will eventually coalesce into something else entirely, this profusion of tiny machines is something I can get behind – and that happens to resonate with my background in electronics.

The second reason I nearly didn’t post this is that I’m not optimistic about the immediate future – it would be foolish to be anything less than guarded, considering that the brain drain I wrote about last year has been steadily progressing and that Portugal remains a country where fostering technology (or even making sure we retain enough knowledgeable folk to bootstrap whole chunks of the economy) is simply not a political priority.

There are exceptions, though, and I’m lucky enough to be close to them. So putting aside our burgeoning national trade in exporting knowledgeable, competent professionals, there’s still a lot of fun stuff to be done (always a good sign) and I now spend more time herding various breeds of metaphorical cats and providing guidance on various (and often contradictory) aspects of development.

So much so, in fact, that my yearning for a clearer way to develop things has led me to taking up Clojure to cleanse the palate and explore new ways of doing things – I find the way we (as an industry) build and deploy applications on the internet still rather brittle, confusing and wasteful, and would love to build something more efficient, maintainable… and thrifty.

The third reason I almost didn’t post this is that pessimism (or, as I’d rather put it, stark realism) is often frowned upon, especially in the IT industry (and doubly so in Portugal).

Not being one for protracted discussions, I’ll simply point out that I’ve had this hanging on my office wall for at least two years now:

There was a fourth reason (I’m currently somewhat out of whack with a migraine and a weirded out stomach), but that’s pretty much beside the point – writing is therapeutic, they say.

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