So what do I want to publicly set at goals for 2008?
The first two are holdovers from 2007 – (#1) being more physically active personally and with the family (bikes, basketball, hikes, etc.) and (#2) finish my Microsoft certification MCPD/Web.
New Goal (#3): Learn a new language
I mentioned this to someone the other day and they said "oh, like French" which would be a reasonable guess for a non-programmer. What I intended though was a programming language – but now that I come down to writing it, I think I'll do both.
First, programming language – I program mostly in C#, which seems like a relatively new language (even though it is 7 years old now – though if it got an "upgrade" a month or so ago). Programming languages have a definite life-span so the next programming language has got to be out there somewhere. I don't know if it is F#, D, or Ruby (or another dynamic language, IronRuby?), or a robotics language (see below) like NXT-G (from Lego), VPL (Microsoft's Visual Programming Language). I've used Java, Perl, C++ and the like in the past, but haven't really used PHP. Anyway, I'd like to spend some non-trivial time learning and working with the new language – enough to be able to explain it to others.
Next, I think I'd like to get into studying and speaking some Spanish around the house. My kids have sampled several languages and learned vocabulary and simple phrases, but it'd be nice to go a little deeper. This wouldn't technically be "new" since I studied Spanish a bit before, but not since the 80s and it still seems to be the most practical language to spend time learning (don't see a real influx of people from Quebec that I need to be able to communicate with). I have a really old version of Latin Spanish Rosetta Stone software (not that the language has changed much) and some educational CDs. I'll have to check out the library to see what might be newer – any ideas?
New Goal (#4): Robotics
I've been putting this off for a while, but I think now it is time. I've been interfacing robots with computers since high school and I rally enjoy working with them. It is really awesome to see a project actually move around, physically do something, and perhaps even create something (or at least perform a task). With all the "physical UI" stuff going on (e.g. Wii controllers, laptop/Chumby accelerometers, touch screens, integrated audio/video, etc.) this will really have a place in technology development going forward.
I got to watch a LEGO Robotics team this fall go through some of their projects, and picked up a LEGO NXT for Christmas (for the children of course – don't have one for me (yet)). I want to be involved with a LEGO team/club this year (perhaps lead or start one).
Microsoft also has their Microsoft Robotics Studio now which opens up a bunch of other options as well. I've build an RFID reader and touch-screen kiosk in recent years, so now is time to add some motion and intelligence to some projects.
This is definitely one I want to pursue right along-side my kids so that will be great as well.