The 2008 List

As human beings we tend to like things that happen in multiples of 5 or 10; something to do with our (body's) digits and the fact that decades make a fairly interesting yardstick for measuring life. So -- this is the fifth time I've made a list of things I found memorable in the year gone past; it joins previous entries in the closest thing to a repetitive theme dating back to my first attempts to find an on-line voice that "worked."

This was a nasty year. But -- for every thing that made me shake my head, there was something else that made me smile, whether at work, home or riding the subway in NYC.

Work moment. Tough call, because there were a few of them this year, but two stand out: Glenn Brunette and his security team winning the Innovation Award, and the highlight of a staff meeting we held in Korea when the newest systems engineers greeted us with a song. The Korea team gets a slight edge, because their abundant enthusiasm for Sun, for their roles, and for the market as a whole was infectious.

Family moment. Trivially easy to pick this one: Celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary with my wife Toby and our kids, enjoying some overly rich desserts and laughing the whole time.

Nerd toy. Shazam iPhone application. Shazam has been responsible for as many music purchase decisions this year as friend recommendations. I tend to associate songs with specific events and locations, and now with Shazam I'm able to discover the whole under the musical snippets that provide background for in-game sports breaks, dinners, or long drives in rental cars.

T-shirt. The "crew" shirt from the 12-meter challenge. It was one of those 2008 events that I look back on with a solid smile.

Reading. Finished everything Neal Peart has written this year, which was a fascinating insight into how he dealt with tragedy, grief, and the rigors of a literal rock star life. Seeing him (along with the rest of Rush) twice this summer re-inforced the depth of his work. If all goes well, I'll finish Neal Stephenson's Anathem before this extended New Year's weekend is over -- so far it's one of the best reads I've had in a while. While those heavy doses of written an-neal-ing shaped a bunch of thoughts, the best "read" of the year was hearing Cory Doctorow read from Little Brother in New York City, with my son and some of his friends in tow. They all read the book; it was passed around and educated others in their circles of friends.

Email. Perhaps I should call this "message" because it derives from my Facebook inbox rather than one accessed through IMAP. Got a note from an old grade school friend telling me to go see Defiance, because two of the heroes in the movie were at our (shared) Bar Mitzvah back in 1975. It was a great way to reconnect. Second place: a note from Jack Falla himself, commenting on a blog entry I had written about one of his books. The hockey world lost one of its best vox populi with Falla's passing this year.

Thoughts for 2009: More reading, more writing, more punctuality (in everything from email responses to hockey practices), and more focus on things my friends, family, and I enjoy. Sometimes it takes making a list of those things to remind you of their importance.

Comments:

Beautiful, meaningful and insightful as always. Your year-end lists help me to reflect on the great joy you bring to the lives of those who love you.

Posted by Beverly Stern on December 31, 2008 at 04:15 PM EST #

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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