The Best and Worst of 2010

On the first couple of days of 2011 I’m sitting down to continue a tradition I started in 2005 (2006, 2008, 2009) I find this a nice way to review the year before its committed to the cobwebs of my long-term memory. So, here’s a quick review of the best and worst of 2010 :

Best Moments

The U7 Soccer team I coach has really come together this year – I’ve coached many of these kids for the last couple of years and this year was the first time I’ve seen teamwork and tactics emerge. They’re also super-competitive which I think is a “skill” that’s being eroded – there are valuable lessons in winning and losing. Making everyone a winner creates kids who are ill-prepared for the ups and downs of real-life.   

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We visited Washington, DC over the Thanksgiving break – not the first time I’ve visited but it was the first time I’ve had the time to look around. Reading the inscriptions on the Lincoln Memorial reminds you of how far the United States has come in such a short time and of how great the United States has been through it’s short history – hopefully we now have a leader in office who can restore that greatness. I’m hopeful but only time will tell.

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I work for Red Hat and through 2010 we continued to turn in good results; after my final few years at Sun staring into gloomy uncertainty – it’s nice to be on a wining team and looking ahead with optimism. It’s also nice to be in a smaller company where the impact of ones efforts on the company’s growth and success (or otherwise) are much more apparent.

Biggest Disappointment

Last year the TSA just edged out the Right-wingnuts but this year the axis of stupid take the prize. Every time I hear Sarah Palin or Glen Beck talk – I’m stunned at the breadth and depth of idiocy it takes for them to be considered leaders. Their followers are making the rest of America look stupid to the rest of the world.

Best Technology

This is a tough one. I held off buying an iPad for while but finally succumbed in August. Soon after – it replaced the “smart-phone” as the tech. toy I use the most. Apple have done it again and defined a new category – I’m excited about the future of tablets with many competing devices emerging – there are many tasks for which a touch screen presents a far more natural user experience. I still haven’t found the killer app. for the iPad but iCal, Things, Kindle Reader and Flipboard are some of my favorites that have embraced the new form factor.

On the other hand is the Garmin Edge 800 GPS-Enabled Cycling Computer – while it has a few kinks that need to be ironed out (I’m downloading the latest firmware update as we speak) – it generally rocks and Garmin have a pretty nice web service for collecting all the data from your runs, rides and workouts – Garmin Connect. I like Garmin products, like Apple – they generally “just work” and don’t get in the way too much – that, in my mind, is success in consumer technology – “get out of the way and become invisible”. I do need spend some more time playing with routes and maps and workouts on the Garmin – there’s a wealth of functionality that I haven’t tapped into yet.

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So in the interests of continued health and well-being – I’ll go with the Garmin Edge 800.

Best Book

I’m still working through Neal Stephenson’s – The Baroque Cycle – a mid numbingly long and complex story of truly epic proportions and as with all Neal Stephenson – impeccably well presented. I’m mid way through book seven of eight so it will be another month or so before I’m finished. For that reason – I’ll go with “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail” (Bill Bryson) – a fine way to spend a Sunday afternoon at the pool.

Best Film

The only time I go to the Cinema is when I take my kids – so generally catch-up with grown-up movies via Apple TV – a few weeks back I saw Inception – very cool visually with a good story line – good enough to watch again at some point. So I think Inception wins it this year.

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