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2009 Resolutions Redux

It’s the end of the year, which means its time for me to look back at my 2009 resolutions to see how well I met my goals:

  • Complete a marathon
    Result: Success! I completed the Portland Marathon in October. It wasn’t my best moment, but I did make it. I had to verify that this resolution said “complete” rather than “run” because I certainly did not run the entire marathon.
  • Complete an Olympic-length Triathlon
    Result: Failure. Had I been a little more aggressive with my schedule before starting work, I could have participated in an olympic-length race with Kunlun; however, I was not sufficiently on the ball and I missed this one.
  • Get a better time on a Sprint Triathlon
    Result: Success! I completed the Seafair Triathlon three and a half minutes faster this year than last year.
  • Complete Seattle To Portland bike ride in One Day
    Result: Success! I left Seattle with the first wave at 4:45 am, and many hours later, arrived at the finish line in Portland just after 9:00pm. Apparently, I didn’t blog about this, perhaps because I was preoccupied with my upcoming travels (see next item)
  • Visit Australia and Peru
    Result: Success! I traveled to Peru with Kunlun, Scott, and Ben in June. I enjoyed myself, but I’m not itching to go back real soon. I wrote about the trip in five blog posts. I returned home just long enough for the Seattle to Portland bike ride and the Seafair Triathlon, then I headed out for Australia and New Zealand with my parents, a trip that I consider to be the most wonderful success of any trip I have ever embarked on. I definitely have more I want to see and do in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Work out (1+ hour) at least once a week
    Result: Mixed. I probably got more exercise than this throughout the week, but often not all at one time.
  • Get my Motorcycle certification endorsement
    Result: Failure. I just didn’t get around to this. I will try again next year.
  • Complete my Masters degree with a grade at least as high as my Bachelors degrees
    Result: Failure. I’m pretty disappointed with the overall grade I achieved in grad school. If I ever go back, I won’t let it happen again.
  • Eat slower, smaller portions
    Result: Partial success. I’m getting better at regulating how much and how quickly I eat, but I still have too many lapses. Fortunately, I’m learning more about myself, which is helping me make progress here.
  • Eat only until I’m full
    Result: Partial success. This is of course closely related to the last point, and I have gotten better at moderating my intake at each meal. Again, this is a work is progress.
  • Curb over-snacking tendencies
    Result: Success. I’ve found that by limiting what I have around the house, I can control what I munch on much better. This is made a little more difficult by easy accessat work to junk food, but it hasn’t been a major problem, so I feel good about claiming this as success.

Overall, I feel good about my accomplishments this year, even though the failures bite a little, I hope to learn from them and do better next year.

Stay tuned for next year’s resolutions.

Catching up

I’m having trouble sleeping right now, so I decided to do a catch-up blog post.

First, work has been fantastic. I’m definitely being stretched, which is great for me and I hope for Facebook as well. I’m pretty excited about a couple of the things I’m working on right now, and I may be able to share it sooner rather than later. Part of my sleep woes are the fact that my schedule got knocked pretty off kilter when a friend-of-a-friend reported a bug on Facebook to me, and I stayed up a good part of Saturday night managing that. My schedule has been a little wonky since that, but it has still been a good week overall.

Last weekend, I made it up to San Francisco again and visited with Paul, who I’ve known since 1st grade. I’m pretty sure he’s the oldest friend I have that I’m still in touch with. He showed me his art studio and his apartment in the city, and we visited San Francisco’s Ocean Beach in time for a nice sunset, took pictures in some city-enhancing fog, and ate Mexican and sushi at a couple of restaurants. It was good times. I’ve posted pictures on Facebook that anyone can view.

I visited the family for Thanksgiving, returning my car to Washington in the process. I drove up Wednesday night, staying at my sister’s place in Eugene before arriving in Bellevue in time for a nice low-key Thanksgiving dinner at my parent’s place with some family friends, the Paulsens. We were expecting a more bustling time with my Redmond-based cousins and their kids, but they were all suffering from illness and weren’t able to make it. The food was good but unconventional, as is my family’s tradition. We ate Salmon instead of Turkey, for starters. Afterward, we had a wonderful conversation with our guests.

I also got to see a lot of friends. I watched the Apple Cup with Jon, Maneesh, Bobby, and Ananth, played Munchkin with the 5011 crew, heard Peter Ellis perform his Cello at Kate’s Pub in Wallingford, chatted while walking around Seattle with Theo, met up with a long lost high school friend, watched Ninja Assassin, and generally kept myself busy — or at least occupied! I even met some new and interesting people along the way. I worked from home on Monday, and flew back to SFO on Tuesday morning.

With my upcoming trip back to Washington for Christmas, I will have visited Washington every month since I moved to California, and I think I will have spent more time in Washington after summer than I did during the summer this year. On my trip, I will actually be stopping in Las Vegas to see my brother, sister-in-law, and my new niece, who I have yet to meet in person. I’m am very much looking forward to that.

The End of Wikipedia

Wikipedia can continue to change the world by allowing more articles, or they can slowly fade into obscurity by halting their growth”

Ryan McElroy, November 19, 2009

I tweeted this about a month ago. Several friends quickly asked why I said it, or what article I was referencing. I said it because I noticed that Wikipedia had just deleted the article about the Titan Robotics Club, the high school robotics club I helped start during my senior year in high school at the Bellevue International School. The reason: the Titan Robotics Club was not sufficiently “Notable”.

Wikipedia has rules for when they delete articles, and they followed their rules in this case. There is still an electronic trail on Wikipedia of the deletion, and why it occurred. I have no specific problem with those that followed Wikipedia’s rules to their logical conclusion. What I have a problem with is the idea of Notability.

The Titan Robotics Club is notable to me and many people I know. I think it makes sense to have a Wikipedia article about the club. However, I understand that the Titan Robotics Club is not notable to everyone. Just as, say, Sigur Ros’ album commonly known as “The Recycling Bin” is not notable to me. But it’s on Wikipedia. And that’s exactly the point.

There is a long tail phenomenon going on here. Maybe not many people care about the Titan Robotics Club, but a lot of people care about a lot of different topics at least as unnotable as the Titan Robotics Club, and they will spend time to write high-quality articles about these things, just as I would spend time to write or improve an article about the Titan Robotics Club, if I were confident that it would not be deleted by some rule-following robot editor. I believe that is the criteria that Wikipedia should use to judge articles — Quality, not Notability.

Wikipedia has been successful because it fostered this semi-unregulated free-for-all knowledge sharing extravaganza. Now, Wikipedia is nearing the limit of what their current policies allow in terms of growth, and it is time for them to change their policy if they want to remain relevant. If Wikipedia continues on its current path, it will fall even further off the exponential growth curve it used to ride, and in this day and age, if your growth is not exponential, you are falling behind.