nick am•os•ca•to (nĭk ăm əs `cä tō) n. A software engineer, designer and musician from Pittsburgh. [Italian.]


I installed a Chrome App a couple of weeks ago called Momentum. A couple of guys at work had it, and I couldn’t get over the awesome pictures. The app doesn’t do much; it simply replaces the new tab page with a daily photo taken in some picturesque part of the world. There are some other productivity features, but I don’t really use them. For me, it’s all about the glimpse at unexplored territory. My mental list of travel destinations continues to grow.

Given the title and date of this post, you’re probably expecting some sort of cliche year in review, or even better, a list of ambitious resolutions for the New Year. But that’s not really the point. There is inevitably going to be some mention of the past, but not long past. I know there’s a lot to be said about analyzing the past, but I have to be honest, history was always my least favorite subject. So when I say past, I’m talking about my recent past. You know, the days and events that I can easily recollect.

A few months ago, I started playing some informal indoor soccer on an evening once a week. I’ve never played indoors before, and I have to say, it’s a good time! Definitely much more fast-paced (I am getting used to bouncing the ball off the walls), and assuming you have the proper shoes, it is a great outlet for a team sport in the winter. (The first pair of shoes I bought for the season were way too big, and I got some major blisters.)

And there’s no sense in proposing elaborate goals for the upcoming year, not because they are unachievable (although some goals are no doubt made out of obligation), but because they are susceptible to irrelevancy after only a few months. When you think about it, the units of time defined by our society are sort of arbitrary. Sure they correlate with Earth’s orbital and rotational speed, but who says that the physics that determine our seasons should also tell us when we should reflect on our lives?

There is a colorful brochure laying next to my computer as I write this. On further examination, I realize that it is the winter newsletter of Unbound, a nonprofit organization through which my parents sponsor two children. Flipping through the pages, the design is fantastic. While nonprofit organizations likely spend more money on advertising and advocacy than others, they always seem to output beautifully designed products. I can’t help but think that passion has something to do with it.

Just as software development has transitioned to an iterative process over the past couple of decades, I have realized that my life reflections should follow a similarly frequent agile methodology. One significant event could change the trajectory of one’s life, and the present should not be held back by a goal proposed at the beginning of the year. Reflect on the day’s events; teach yourself a lesson from those that did not go as planned, and use the favorable outcomes to guide tomorrow.

@namoscato: "Finale is to Sibelius as Nikon is to Canon."