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What are you doing this weekend? Feel free to share!

Keep in mind it’s OK to do nothing at all, too.

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    I’m resting with my cell phone in “Do not Disturb” so the only possible disturbance is a phone call from my parents.

    I had a pretty rough week and need to disconnect. Have a nice weekend, fellow lobsters!

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      Prepping for a trip to Turkey for a week near the Syrian border to provide some training to humanitarian staff working in Syria on disease and health monitoring and outbreak management. Never been to Turkey but have friends from there, super excited to go but don’t know a lot about turkey from a cultural standpoint. Need to ask friends for some help.

      Trying to get the Congo set up in our disease management system as well in between playing with the kids and prepping training materials as well.

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        Sincerely, bravo. You’re a hero.

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          Really interesting. What do you train people do do?

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            I’m the sole developer for a fairly large data collection and analysis system focused on disease surveillance and outbreak management. It’s funded as a consultancy to a part of the U.N. I’ve been at it for about five years now (before that I built systems for health management in refugee camps, situations, etc…). We’re set up in emergencies and as long-term surveillance in about 12 countries at the moment, mostly centered around Africa but some in the Pacific, Middle-East, etc…

            I usually travel a few times a year, but haven’t in the last year as i’ve been waiting for my permanent residence application to get finalized. But normally I go out to the field with an epidemiologist and do field training for field staff, IT staff, etc… and it’s just a good opportunity to sit down and get a better understanding of what limitations people are hitting with the system and how I can improve things, and people like to put a face to the name as well when they hear that it’s just this one dude that’s going to be underpinning an entire sub-section of their operation. These people are usually pretty busy so if something doesn’t work for them, they’ll abandon it pretty quickly and go back to excel or paper-based reporting… we’re on the cusp of releasing a locally installable version of our system as rust binaries and the Syrian conflict is going to be one of the first to get it and have it installed locally so need to sort of assess what they have for infrastructure, etc…

            The whole thing is completely free though, doesn’t cost countries/orgs a dime unless they want a “kit” (basically a bunch of pre-configured phones, couple laptops and a local relay server). It’s a funded project though (and all the merciless stress that comes with that) I actually paid for the application servers for some of the largest outbreaks in the last 3 years out of my own pockets because of lack of funding, not a great feeling being in the position of deciding whether to shut off an entire countries disease outbreak alert system or feed your kids that month… but that’s all gotten better in the last year as I went begging to a few doors outside the org I work for.

            Most of the time I just keep my head down in the back room of a little rented farmhouse in the countryside, support our countries 24/7 365 days a year, write code furiouslyday in day out and slink around in the shadows on lobste.rs.

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              How much are those app servers running you?

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                During really busy months it can run just shy of 1000USD/mo. We’re hopefully going to get that down quite a bit in the next year as we’re releasing a desktop app that offloads some of the hard work to the users machine as well as deploying portions of the code written in rust compared to our currrent python heavy deployments.

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                That’s incredible. You are a hero.

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                  Not at all. I just write code for the most part and answer a lot questions and write scripts to load/export data. The people that have to be out in the field, in the clinics, doing contact tracing for Ebola and stuff. Those people are just amazing. Stronger people do not exist considering the things they see and experience on a daily basis.

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                  Wow. Very impressive. Maybe you should post a link for donations.

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                    I don’t think I’m allowed to do stuff like that. Its sort of any funding I get has to probably be approved by the org. We’re hopefully going to open source the whole system sometime in the new year so closer to that I might write up an article to see if there’s any interest in contributing or helping with funding. If I took donations I’d have to pay tax and all that on them I think and that would probably be a nightmare come tax time… I also feel bad that people give money and a chunk of that is immediately lost to taxes…

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                      Probably a way to give to the UN.

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                        Yeah I’d need to do some digging on how it would work. You could give to the Org and stipulate that the funds have to go to the project but you’d have to be giving a not inconsiderable amount I think to have that stipulation and even then it would go to the department I think and probably not make it down to the actual project itself and as soon as it passed to me it would still taxed still as income.

                        The thing i would ultimately jump for joy for would just be 1-2 more devs more than just me and maybe an admin person. At least then I could go to bed at a reasonable hour, and I wouldn’t be so alone on the project all the time. I get paid well when I get paid so I can’t complain on that front but if I had a commitment of money for an extended period of time I could use for some additional staff I’d probably bawl my eyes out for a week straight out of sheer joy.

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              I’ll be continuing my reading of Programming in Ada 2012. I intend to use Ada to write a simpler reimplementation of a tool of mine. I may start working on this version of the tool this weekend, as well, starting with the simpler components, as a nice way of getting acquainted with the language through experience.

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                It’s nice to see people using Ada, and I’m curious to see how it turns out!

                I used Ada 95 for almost all of my projects in college, and it’s a great language. Only bad thing I can say about it is that it’s maybe a little too verbose. Otherwise, the type safety and concurrency primitives were great to work with.

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                I will try to fork and reinvigorate sile (http://sile-typesetter.org/). I would love a working modern update to TeX. The “gimmick” of sile is that is have frames (like indesign) to arrange content as well as being able to change the typesetter as it is typesetting (this allows, for example, two columns of different languages to become lined up).

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                  If it’s OK to post non-programming stuff…

                  Tonight I’ll be singing and playing keyboard as part of a live band performance in Seattle. I’ll be spending part of today practicing for that.

                  Then tomorrow I fly back home to Kansas to be with my family (parents and siblings) for a week.

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                    If it’s OK to post non-programming stuff…

                    Yes! The point is to share things you do that may or may not be tech related to get to know fellow lobsters.

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                    I’m back in Poland for a couple nights, driving my tiny car, and just generally having an amazing time.

                    I plan to finish reading Jeremy Clarkson’s new book, and then I’ll try reading the Type-Level Programming in Haskell book by Sandy Maguire.

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                      That, is a tiny car. Also, props to the Polish in the UK, every Polish transplant i’ve ever met here has been super nice and super hard-working.

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                      I plan to start running a PeerTube instance, like I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

                      I also want to finish reading Ian M. Banks’ The Player of Games, which I’m about 2/3 of the way through.

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                        I’m working on a platform for Dungeon Masters with GraphQL and React. I’m pretty stoked.

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                          Care to elaborate?

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                            It’s just a platform that will encourage writing about your DnD adventures. Think a blogging platform (like medium), but feature’s are driven at DnD Players

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                          I’m going to make be cooking for a potluck and seeing a good friend who is visiting while interviewing in the area.

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                            Writing the trampoline for the POWER9 Firefox JIT. I finished most of the stack frame work this morning.

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                              Contributing to https://freedombox.org/

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                                I plan on doing the following:

                                1. Watch/listen to some of the USENIX LISA presentations that were uploaded to YouTube
                                2. Work on my fork of FreeBSD’s hypervisor, bhyve, for a special malware lab
                                3. Work on automating builds of HardenedBSD for the various arm64 SoC dev boards (RPI3, Pine64-LTS, etc.)
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                                  Today’s the last day at my job, so my plan for the weekend is to relax and probably go skiing.

                                  I have two weeks before I start the new gig, and I’m hoping to get some reading done, finish up a few of my Lisp projects, and rearrange my apartment in preparation for working from home.

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                                    I am watching Immo Landwerth’s Minsk screencasts. He is writing a compiler and IDE in C#.

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                                      I just bought Shenzhen I/O, and the SO is out all weekend, so time to binge on logic puzzles!

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                                        Have you played Exapunks? I love Zachtronics games, and am playing them oldest-to-newest. Almost done with Infinifactory!

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                                          I have not. I was a big fan of TIS-100, that was the only other Zachtronics game I have played.

                                          Just read about Exapunks and Infinifactory.. there goes any ‘spare time’ productivity for at least a month..

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                                            Sorry about your spare time :)

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                                        Yesterday morning, I ran a 5k in Lansing and signed up for another in two weeks. I usually put my outdoor running on hiatus during the winter, but this year I’m forcing myself to get out there. The races are a good motivator for me because it proves I’m not the only one crazy enough to run in freezing weather (thankfully, it was only down to 30 degrees yesterday morning).

                                        Yesterday afternoon, I found defective wiring harnesses in the power supplies of 3 of my Dell Optiplex boxes, so I’m pulling apart the other 17 nodes today to double-check their power supplies as well. I thought I was finally done with the hardware part of my CPU/GPU compute project, but there is always one more thing.

                                        I’m also about finished writing my first multi-node application for the cluster. As a Java developer, re-learning C++ has been a humbling experience, but I’m finally getting back into the right mindset for it. It is interesting to see how the language has evolved since I last used it, and how other parts are just as traumatic as I remembered.

                                        I’ve put together an outline for a in-depth write-up on this project (and all of the associated mini-projects). No actual writing yet, but its a start. I’ll probably be working on this a bit during the Michigan State - Tennessee Tech basketball game this evening (finally, BigTen Network without a cable/satellite subscription!).

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                                          Weekly library run with my son, swimming, repairing a gas range igniter, and hopefully get out to do some photography.

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                                            Flying to Sweden for øredev, rehearsing my talk for Monday morning.