It's a tiny bit hard for me to get my hands on new books out here. (Read: my South African credit card was stopped because of lack of activity.) So my list, which I felt pretentiously obliged to contribute is made up of stuff I found noteworthy in the Year of the Canine.
In this particular order, but not from best to worst:
www.linerider.com: I wish I'd though of that when I was actually making Flash movies for a living.
Orbiter! A space flight simulator. It represents all that is best in humanity: firstly you can recreate historical space missions to any degree of detail you care to imagine, and secondly it's free. Which leads me to:
The Attention Economy, which fits in nicely with the Hacker work ethic and that old Cathedral and Bazaar metaphor. This phenomenon needs scrutiny especially as it pertains to the future of China.
And looking up the above link to Wikipedia reminded me that, here in China, I am cynically prevented by a bunch of old men to do so, hence www.proxify.com also needs to be on my list.
Old books I got my hands on, and found fascinating:
The Russians by Hedrick Smith (1976)
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell (Don't knock it. )
Also got around to The Life of Pi (Yann Martel) and Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson.
Whatever. I do what I can.
Other 2006 timewasters included a 2D physics simulation programme called Working Model with which you can build mechanical systems and then watch them do devious things to unsuspecting pixels. Spent a lot of time simulating a bullet hitting a body. Half-Life 2 did that pretty well too: very playable and engrossing. Finished it in under ten hours. How disappointing is that! I still tinker with the physics engine though.
I got my iPod this year too, so that counts. And the surprise entry must be my bicycle. She brought me great joy, despite my best efforts to stay in my room for the rest of my natural life.
Music in no order except this one:
Wilco's album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
TATU & Rammstein's remixes. (Ya soshla suma, baby!)
Aterciopelados from Colombia... dunno why... just like.
Nothing else is worthy of getting more attention. Attention, after all, is like money. I'm going to be very selfish with it from now on.