I used to discover all the neat new things, like that Packrat paper, from a site called "sweetcode.org". If you were lucky enough to see it before it was snapped up by the domain squatters you too can share a moment of silence with me in memory, for it was truly a great site.
It turns out that the guy behind sweetcode is a coworker as well, and though he was in New York when I discovered this fact, it just so happened that he ended up sitting directly on the other side of the glass wall of the office I used to hang out in. I had always intended to go beg him to bring the site back but I kept forgetting about it. And now I'm far away and email just doesn't seem proper.
...oh! It just occurred to me that you can you can look through the internet archive of it! Especially now that I can look back, I can see things that took me years to rediscover later: on just one randomly chosen page of it from 2003 they mention Zero Install (rediscovered that for fg recently), darcs (I've been using it recently), Judy (the hash that Audrey's been raving about), and Sequitur (an algorithm for finding hierarchies in strings, which I learned about via erinearl's research). And those are just the ones I rediscovered: the page lists five other equally-interesting things to consider.
* I feel a bit weird using "friend" 'cause we've only hung out once or twice, and I'm sorta in too much awe of him to really be able to talk as people do: most people at work are pretty sharp but I've met a few whose minds must be a strict superset of mine, and I think he's one of them.