Personal Challenges for 2017

Mark Zuckerberg recently unveiled Jarvis, a simple AI to control various facets of his home including his lighting and more amusingly his toaster, which was a result of a challenge he set himself late last year to be completed by the end of 2016. The Facebook CEO is well-known for setting himself a “personal challenge” each year — a phrase which I think much better describes what we aim to achieve when we set ourselves a “New Years Resolution”. I thought that it might be nice to try to follow in Marks footprints, though not aiming for something quite as grand as building my own AI.

It’s well-known that Gyms are very popular in January as many people set themselves a New Years Resolution of losing weight or getting fitter but, by early February the same gyms are usually back to normal levels of use. Though there are undoubtely many reasons why this happens I think one of the big ones is that “losing weight” isn’t a great objective — losing 1lb technically completes it though thats probably not what the resolver intended.

Thinking back to my Business Studies A-Level I remember learning about S.M.A.R.T objectives. S.M.A.R.T is a mnemonic describing the properties which make an objective a useful measure.


Using these properties we could make our “lose weight” objective into “Lose 10lbs by December 31st”. That way we at least have something we can measure our progess against and a time set for when we want to have it done by! It’s also not so difficult as to be unachievable.  Much easier to maintain motivation for.

With that in mind here are my Personal Challenges for 2017:

  1. Read 24 books by December 31st. That’s one every two weeks. Up from my current year score of half a book (Code Complete in case you’re wondering). Split between fiction and non-fiction.
  2. Contribute and have accepted some code to Chromium, Servo and Node by December 31st
  3. Build and deploy the “Organisations” feature of CS Blogs by March 31st
  4. Finish and deploy the new Universal React version by July 31st
  5. Write at least 12 blogs by December 31st
  6. Write and have accepted a talk for a conference held in London by December 31st
  7. Lose 10lbs by December 31st

I think all of these objectives are S.M.A.R.T. so I should be able to keep the blog up-to-date with my progress.



Dissertation Handed In

If you’ve ever wondered what two copies of an 83 page Computer Science dissertation looks like, wonder no more.

On Thursday, 8th May 2014 at 11am I handed in my dissertation which was a culmination of a full academic year of work (take away large amounts of that time dedicated to other modules). The title is “Code Editor with Syntax Highlighting and Autocomplete” and the document itself describes the full process of developing Dollar IDE from the research stage to the final implementation.

I will of course update the blog when I find out how well I’ve done.



Got Some Results

Was feeling pretty ill today, so I didn’t manage to make it into University. Instead I did a bit of work at home, read the lecture notes and wrote my own for the lectures I missed, added sound effects to Evil Squash and Cleaned my room. I also looked up my results in a few modules, I got;

96% in programming

73.3% in Computer Systems Hardware

and 96% in IT and Professional Skills

All 1sts! Good times