My plan: Sample for 6 months, then in the final two weeks, decide on what to focus on (at most 2 things). Take a week of off from job and get down and dirty. If it is related to programming, create a working application. Make sure there is a babysitter during the day, i.e. father time = mainly evenings and weekends.
So, here is my plan for July 2014: First, find a babysitter. Then take a week off and study German. Rationale: I am speaking German with my son but I am not as fluent as I wish to be. I feel that a concentrated push would result in a large leap. My primary study tool is Duolingo. Additionally I will try to improve German Wikipedia pages and watch videos in German, DW for example.
- Programming practice with Top Coder, Project Euler, CodeChef. Follow Ankara Java User Group.
- Write a web browser (that's the project of a Udacity course I did not finish).
- Bayesian statistics
- Machine learning. Might chess be a good application? Check other people's projects and replicate one that could be completed in a week (documentation + test). See Tic Tac Toe, alpha-beta pruning, Rubik's Cube, Dama, Backgammon, Java Chess Engine Tutorial.
- Write a program to play 2048
- Study AI in Quake 3
- Finish the online courses (assignments + projects) that are worth the time spent.
- Write a spam blocker for Android.
- Write a lunar lander clone. Write an autopilot that handles speed control with minimum fuel consumption. Write a computer AI that can finish the game all by itself
24 August 2014: I took my extra one week vacation to learn German in August. For seven days I used Duolingo for exercises in the morning and YouTube for German documentaries and movies in the evening.
Duolingo summary: When I started a week ago my word count was 344 and my level was 8. Now my word count is 1092 and my level is 11. Below are the numerical details of my progress. Note that every day I broke the previous days point (XP) record with a whopping 460 in the end.