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This is the weekly thread to discuss what you have done recently and are working on this week.

Please be descriptive and don’t hesitate to champion your accomplishments or ask for help, advice or other guidance.


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    Nothing! Apart from some studying, blogging, and experimentation, I’m done for the year.

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      Yep, nothing at all.

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      My obsession for the last three years have been trying to reinvent text input. Somewhat a crazy task but I’m in the process of tying it up. Obviously you’ll perform much better with the keyboard that you’ve practiced with for ten years, but to make users up to speed I’m making the learning process into a game.

      The reason for all this is VR. Running around with a keyboard doesn’t sound to realistic having chorded keyboards is nice and all but good luck learning all users 60 chords just to start typing.

      The idea is to use gamification to get a lot of testing and statistical feedback as well as to see how well users can be thought a couple of different layouts with a few configuration options.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlrzNmeh650&feature=youtu.be Typing the illiad in game using 6 keys

      here you’re typing with only one hand, leaving the mouse for something else.

      https://youtu.be/qLRXs55MpOA Another setup.

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        Hearing back from a job interview in 15 minutes… should dictate how the rest of the week will go.

        Edit: Didn’t get it. “Too weak on CS Fundamentals.”

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          Keep trying, interviews are a stochastic process.

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            Keep at it, bud.

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              fingers crossed

            2. 4
              • eye exam today
              • Security test for campus staff
              • Maybe work on json ingestion script …
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                Leaning what I can of React while working on the UI of a Bluetooth tracking system in between semesters.

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                  Same here … I mean React :)

                  It’s pretty exciting like WordPress ten years ago or Jekyll. And very very productive. Storybook, Gatsby … http://metamn.io/react

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                  At work, we explore if we want to go towards the Monorepo approach. We are testing how well git/Bitbucket/Jenkins scale. How we have to adapt our build system. Planning how long a real transition would take for us.

                  I’m really happy that we got two weeks of exploration before the decision is due. This certainly is a hard decision and many uncertainty will still be open on friday.

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                    Is Mercurial also a consideration for monorepos? It’s had a lot of monorepo work from Google, Facebook, and Mozilla.

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                      Not for now. Retraining hundreds of developers for Mercurial does not sound sexy.

                      However, I assume we will consider that in one or two years. We are nearly at 100k commits now and git is already noticable slower after the switch.

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                        Retraining hundreds of developers for Mercurial does not sound sexy.

                        Facebook does more or less exactly that, but they do have lots of resources to do so. I think this might help:


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                      This may be specific to your organisation, and you certainly don’t owe me an explanation. But I’m curious as to what is pushing you to consider the monorepo approach?

                      I can see it has some benefits, but I’ve never quite understood what specifically drives people to choose it, especially given the apparent implementation complexity.

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                        The goal is to integrate other projects faster and iterate more. The biggest opportunity I can see is that we prevent accidental interface breaks. Technically you don’t need a monorepo but it makes interface changes atomic and simple.

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                      My last opportunity went south fast. I’ve parted ways with the company and am giving myself some sorely needed R&R for a few weeks. I’m patiently and deliberately looking for the next big thing on which I want to spend my time while revisiting some aspects of my life that I’d put on hold (e.g., video games) because of how hectic my old job became toward the end.

                      In the meantime, I’m doing a hard press for sponsorship for a software conference I’m running called Abstractions. It’s in Pittsburgh in August 2019 and will have 2,000+ attendees. We had some big names headlining 2016 and we’re shooting for the same caliber of talent this time around. Contact me if you’re interested in learning more!

                      1. 3

                        This week we’re working a custom theme & various plugins for Moodle for a client. I’m fairly stoked, honestly. Moodle in and of itself isn’t terrible exciting. But, working with PHP in a more advanced way I’m looking forward too.

                        After this we’re maneuvering over to a project that will use a Laravel API, which is why I’m stoked for the current project as I imagine it’s going to get my skill level up and above where it currently is.

                        In addition to that I’m working with Rust some more this week, trying to make that my most fluent language by the end of 2019

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                          The new PCB design has been signed off, so now it’s software bits. Porting a few packages and applications from the old platform and packaging them as Yocto recipes, making patch deltas to some already existing ones.

                          The core application was ported within a few days, however there’s an issue with sound. The software has lineage back to Linux 2.4 days, and then relied on OSS. Afterwards on 2.6/3.x, ALSA’s OSS API layer was used and worked just fine. Now on 4.9 however, for whatever mysterious reason /dev/dsp is silent no matter what you throw at it - with the same compatibility layer. Hoping to crack it in the few remaining days before xmas, or else would finally have to port the thing to ALSA.

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                            At work I’m helping to do the manual QA for an upcoming release. I’m new, so it’s going slow, but I’m learning a bunch.

                            A friend and I rode the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park this past weekend, and I have a few hundred pictures to go through, so I’m going to spend a few evenings doing that.

                            I may also take a break from Common Lisp for a little while and learn a new language or two. I’m not sure which one(s) I’ll look into, but right now the top contenders are Erlang, Nim, and Julia.

                            I looked at Erlang a few years back, bought and read “Programming Erlang”, and then never did much with it. I have a spare desktop sitting here, so it’d be cool to setup a little distributed computing test bed and see how the language’s changed in the last few years.

                            Nim looks interesting, but I’m not sure what it offers over languages I already know. I guess my first goal should be to find out…

                            Julia looks neat, but my initial feeling is it’s too math focused for most of the projects I work on.

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                              Trying to send emails from my local environment at work (WSL using Ubuntu 18.04). I have to develop the transactional emails for Magento 2 and I can’t seem to send anything from WSL. Does anybody have any experience with it?

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                                Last day at work today for the year! Going on vacation with the family and while doing that putting some finishing touches on Yori for v1.0. As much as it pains me to be writing native Windows “df” and “du”, I know I need them and will use them for many years, so may as well hammer them out. Also still straightening out kinks in the “monolithic” version where all tools are linked into a single binary like busybox/cmd; I don’t like it architecturally, but it is kind of convenient to be able to copy a single binary onto a system and go.

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                                  Hey, looks really nice. I’m not a windows guy in that sense but looks like your onto something nice.

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                                  I’m doing a solo sorcerer run through Baldur’s Gate II.

                                  Sorry. No Haskell today.

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                                    Different kinds of sorcery

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                                    • Experiments with different word embeddings and how they influence the accuracy of bi-directional RNN taggers. This mostly as an example to encourage students to write their own hypotheses how different types of embeddings and hyperparameters influence their chosen task and test them. (Some folklore from the field surprisingly does not seem to hold up: e.g. shorter contexts and lower dimensionality, since this is a syntax-oriented task.)

                                    • Reading up some papers on vector quantization. I have started implementing some approaches in Rust, so that I can use them later in my crate to experiment with compressed embeddings.

                                    • Porting my approximate randomization tests package from Haskell to Rust. I haven’t done Haskell in years, and when trying to compile it with up-to-date dependencies usually requires a lot of work. So I am taking the lazy approach and redo it in Rust.

                                    • Finishing up a paper with some colleagues. Must be done before the holidays.

                                    • Baking Christmas cookies with our daughter. We made the dough together today and we are baking tomorrow. We also have to prepare a starter for their Christmas dinner at school.

                                    • Getting and wrapping the last presents for Xmas.

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                                      This week, as part of my personal-k8s cluster project, I’m going to deploy NextCloud to my cluster. Long term I’m hoping to use it for Calendar, Documents, Trello-type boards, and Todo lists. But for now, I’m just starting with getting and running and migrating some of my less important todo lists. Should be fun! I’ve deployed my static blog to my Kubernetes cluster, and some monitoring tooling (i.e. Prometheus), but this will be the most complex application I’ve deployed so far! I’ll be blogging any lessons I pick up on mattjmcnaughton.com.

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                                        Continued work on Koype. Working on some prototypes for clients and then maybe rewatching the Rocky series so I can go watch Creed 2 with all of that knowledge fresh in my head!

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                                          Understanding how version control is being used is as many scenarios as possible. Doing some research too on how merge tools are compared and how is a better merge machine perceived.

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                                            I have some extra vacation days to use up, so I’m planning on doing the following:

                                            • Sewing bags to give Christmas presents in instead of wrapping them in wrapping paper.
                                            • Reading more of “Why Nations Fail”, which attempts to explain why some nations are more prosperous than others. So far, it’s been a great book and has really helped me see a more nuanced view on many political topics.
                                            • Reading “Technology and the Virtues”, which is an ethics book aimed at technologists. I think as a software engineer, it’s important to have thought long and hard about the ethical implications that the software I build could have. Sometimes it seems too easy to ignore or underestimate the (sometimes unintended) impact of a software engineers’ work.
                                            • Packing to go to my parents place to visit my family over Christmas :)
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                                              Sewing bags to give Christmas presents in instead of wrapping them in wrapping paper.

                                              Great idea! We have a couple bags that we reuse for core family stuff. We also are going retro this year to brown wrapping paper (which in contrast to glossy/waxed paper is recycleable), decorated by my 7-year old son.

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                                                Awesome :D

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                                              I got new glasses the last week, unfortunately I’ve been kind of depressed this week for a variety of reasons, so I’ve been sleeping a lot.

                                              This week I want to start re-reading Applied Analysis. Around maybe two or three years ago a colleague of mine recommended it to me, we were going to read through it. Unfortunately we didn’t get far, and I’ve been meaning to get back to it.

                                              I’m also going to try and find some time to set aside to read A Concise History of Economics. In addition I’m hoping someone will gift me a copy of Russell’s A History of Philosophy, because a few of the books I picked up a while back are more academic than I realised, so I need more of an understanding of philosophy to read them.

                                              I re-read some essays in In Praise of Idleness today, I forgot how good a writer Bertrand Russell was. It’s so easy to read, but it isn’t simple english. He clearly wrote for both purpose and aesthetic pleasure.

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                                                Wasting way too much time on adventofcode.com but having fun in Elixir and Clojure.

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                                                  Battling seasonal depression by playing with the small people; battling a series of respiratory and inner ear infections that come from playing with the small people. Work is quiet; we’re finishing off the year with a hackathon this week, so I’m using my time away from the quotidian to … write reviews of my people. Oh well. A manager’s work is never really done.