I don't typically feel the need to write New Year's reflections, or make predictions about the future. Not usually. However, I have been thinking about 2010 over the holidays, and trying to distill for myself some of what was significant.
My blog's readership increased by a factor of 10 in 2010, thanks in no small part to you. So thanks for spending your time with my thoughts and words. I do appreciate knowing that you're there. I put a lot of myself into my blog, and it is encouraging to know that it is received by others.
In 2010 I learned more than I ever thought I would about audio. I started the year with a handful of printfs and some vague ideas of how to make audio work on the web and today, as 2010 comes to a close, my work is ready to ship in Firefox 4. It's among the most important pieces of code I've written, and also among the most rewarding.
Adding the audio API to Firefox was also the hardest programming I've done. I agreed to do it partly as a challenge to myself, as a way to see how much farther I could push myself in the direction I've been aiming for the past six years. I wanted to prove to myself the things I tell my students, namely, that if you focus and push yourself, you can do great work.
In 2010 I found myself involved with new communities: the so-called #audio group, the demo scene, the Processing community, the community of web hackers. I didn't really go looking for these groups, but as I look back, I can see that I'm deeply connected to them now. This has been good and bad. It has taken me away from some other groups, and I miss those people and what it was like to work with them. It's also allowed me to work with some of the people I respect most, and in some cases, to work with people I have looked up to for many years. And it's been among the most collaborative and productive times in my professional life.
I gave up on other things in 2010, too. My work to finish audio, to ship Processing.js, and on other web technologies, eclipsed other aspects of my creative and intellectual life. I didn't read much. I didn't write much. I stopped working out. I became aware of the cost of doing really hard, really great work. It has a cost.
I don't write a lot about my personal life, or my family, and that won't change here. But I will say that 2010 was a year where I was immensely impressed and inspired by my wife. She's spent the entire year volunteering her time on a huge project. Her ability to do all that, plus home school our children and be a mother, plus be an amazing and supportive wife to me--it's hard to describe how significant a person she is to me. We just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary a few days ago, and I can honestly say that after 13 years, we are only closer than we were.
I have lots I want to do in 2011. I hope to spend it being more thankful and less cynical, being more artful and less scientific, more playful and less serious, more spiritual and less mundane.
I'm thankful for the past year, and a little sad to see it end. It would be great to be able to write that again next year.