2013 goals

This post is more for my benefit than anyone else’s – last year I found it useful to write up what I hoped to achieve in 2012 and reflect on the previous year’s aims (https://alexjmackey.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/2012-goals/).

I’m a big believer in how putting your aims down (and in public) can help you commit to them.

2013 was a somewhat mixed year for me (inc a missed Fiji holiday due to some bad taxi driving!) but highlights included:

  • Getting engaged – yes best put this one first!
  • A trip to Europe (UK, Spain, Norway) to see family & friends for a well needed break
  • Attending NDC conference – highly recommended & by far the best run conference I have ever been to
  • Winning an internal company award (whilst still at Readify)
  • DDD Melbourne 2012 ran smoothly with just under 250 delegates & speakers. Once we get approval from Australian tax office I reckon we will also be able to make a donation of around $1000 to charity and still have plenty of funds left for next year’s ideas 🙂
  • Getting Introducing .net 4.5 book out (and making some money for Cancer Council Australia out of the sales)
  • MVP renewed
  • Starting new job at Kiandra

So what for 2013?


  • Continue AI research
  • Start writing Ajax – a users guide
  • Learn more about Photoshop

Continue AI research

It’s easy when the majority of your work is about putting data into databases to forget about some of the more interesting areas of computer science. We had a great project at Kiandra recently that involved writing a simulation for a business idea – very different challenge to the usual fare.

I have been spending some time recently with Udacity Robotic car AI course & looking into computer vision with some interesting libraries such as AForge. Some of the maths involved is a bit of a mystery to me still but these are interesting areas for me.

Below is my test example where I am trying to narrow it down to detect the sign (random picture from Google images):

29-12-2012 6-56-57 PM

Ajax – a user’s guide

There are a number of AJAX related issues I think are commonly ignored such as how to handle connection timeouts, how to handle server side errors and how to serialize dates. I noticed the majority of books on Ajax subject are really out of date (most published around 2006!) and I want to start putting together what I hope will one day become a pretty decent living reference on how to handle these various scenarios.

I had mixed experiences writing for a mainstream publisher (I actually had to order my own book as publisher still hasn’t sent me a single copy  4 months after publishing it grrrr!..) and this is a fluid area so I am going to take a very different approach with writing this.

The contents going to be available online as it’s written & can be commented on!

At the moment I am thinking of doing this using Google doc’s– you can see my current planning (not much there yet) for this at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yDLfxPElTWhmrMyr1j3uPnm2KeS23XV7uw3XkMVlwUA/edit?pli=1


  • Further education
  • Trip to Japan
  • Martial arts

Further education

Last year I completed Cert IV Personal Training. It was really refreshing & interesting to learn about a subject completely different from my main job. I want to do another course but not sure in what yet.

Trip to Japan

Both myself and my partner have always wanted to travel to Japan so we are looking at doing this in Australian winter time to have something to look forward to.

Martial Arts

Physical activity is a big part of my life – I have a lot of energy and without exercise to burn it off am quickly climbing the walls! If you train hard and determined enough sooner or later you will find where your weak areas are. After some injuries the last year I realised I needed to balance things a bit better and work on some weak areas such as flexibility and range of motion .

I wish you all the best in 2013 🙂