Programmer Competence Matrix + Language profiling/popularity

Programmer Competency Matrix allows you to estimate your current skillset, but won't give you any advice as to what to look into to boost it all up.
So for making a decision about platform for your side-project or pet-project: see the Computer Language Benchmarks Game. And then of course you'd likely want to look on comparisons (russian version is quite better at that for some reason). Some popularity indexes may be also helpful: langpop.com, lang-index @ sourceforge, TIOBE index.

UPD: another page with language performance comparison (russian). A thought aside: there's no benchmark for green threads with in-process scheduling (which should look like load testing), where V8 and Erlang would shine.


Scala / Erlang / Node.JS

I'd recommend this informal intro into Erlang. Was quite nice for me till the moment author got into building Finite State Automata upon OTP. The examples in that section were brain-melting and I definitely lost the thread of author's thought (either none or massive bunch were present there at the moment). Some of the pictures have quite nice humorous messages encoded in the alt, so hovering them relaxes you a bit here and there. Nice idea.

And another trend worth checking. This of course is a gross oversimplification but the direction is more or less clear. Scala is not a programming language for Google, it's the theatre or something, so no Scala trend for you in there.

P.S. I have some extra links into realm of Erlang so stay tuned if you're interested.

The Case for Extensive Reading

Most language teachers do not require their learners to read much. Instead, they consider extensive reading as somehow supportive, or supplemental and rarely they set fluent reading for homework. This chapter has argued that it is fundamental mistake to consider sustained silent reading as supplemental, or optional. Extensive reading (or listening) is theonly way in which learners can get access to language at their own comfort level, read something they want to read, at the pace they feel comfortable with, which will allow them to meet the language enough times to pick up a sense of how the language fits together and to consolidate what they know. It is impossible for teachers to teach a “sense” of language. We do not have time, and it is not our job. It is the learners’ job to get that sense for themselves. This depth of knowledge of language must, and can only, be acquired through constant massive exposure. It is a massive task that requires massive amounts of reading and listening on top of our normal course book work.
© Rob Waring, via Dmytro Korduban


User Agents Trends

Operating Systems: Browsers and Operation Systems (OS) are identified by the "referrer" string sent by users' browsers.
% Visits from OS | 11/1/09-2/1/10 | 11/1/10-2/1/11 | Difference
Windows          |   89.9%        |    84.8%       |   -5.1%
Macintosh        |    4.5%        |     5.2%       |   +0.7%
Linux            |    0.6%        |     0.7%       |   +0.1%
Other            |    5%          |     9.3%       |   +4.3%
The data is courtesy of Google Analytics team and spans "hundreds of thousands of sites". Looks like there's some revolution going on in the "Other" category. Quite interesting.