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

Be descriptive, and don’t hesitate to ask for help!


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    First time posting! This week I’m diving into React Native (with very little React experience) before I start a full-stack web dev job next Monday. I’ve gone through the React Native official guides as well as ReactNativeExpress.com, which was fantastic. Trying to figure out how best to spend this week to get a little starter project up: jump in right now, or try just one more of those handy looking React courses/tutorials?

    I’ll probably try to jump in ASAP, but if anyone has any recommendations for additional learning resources or experiences starting with React Native, I’d appreciate it.

    Other than React, I’m chauffeuring the fiancee (breadwinner!) to and from work and keeping my future daughter in law busy with activities. Oh! And week 7 of StrongLifts, which my fiancee just started as well, despite my reservations that it isn’t the best progression on earth (nsuns has been on my list to figure out, for instance). But oh well. StrongLifts has an app that tells me what to do, and I’m lazy.

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      It’s probably a good thing that this answer doesn’t change much from week to week. That means I’m doing hard things, right?

      Re-working the beginning 25% of Farisa’s Courage. The ending is strong, but the beginning seems to be confusing a lot of people (too much back story) and slower to draw people in than I want.

      I’m continuing to work through the Deep Learning book and associated papers on deep neural networks. It’s not clear to me yet (and it may not be known) which innovations are specific to image-processing and which are fundamental– not that image-processing isn’t interesting; it’s just saturated right now– but it’s exciting to see how much more we know now than 10 years ago.

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        I’ve been messing around with my interpreter for the most part, couldn’t stop thinking about it. Interpreters are awesome.

        I’m not sure what to work on next. I feel like it doesn’t even make much sense to mention anything unless I’m actually going to do it. And there’s too much, old festering half-finished projects as well as things that just happen to feel cool at the moment.

        At work I need to get through some bullshit tasks before I can bring about a small revolution and write a PDF invoice generator to replace two decades of heavy dot matrix printer usage.

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          It’s one of those things like garbage collection where the concept is simple but tiny details in implementation features or optimizations produce endless possibilities. Becomes a deep rabbit hole to go into. :)

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            Also as for your search of minimal scripting languages, I think pure Tcl is the smallest thing that you can do miracles with. In its purest expression, it is nothing but strings and strings in variables, since proc can be removed in favor of just launching strings with auto-assigned arguments + simple dynamic scoping for convenience, I guess. While I like my Scheme-Tcl hybrid, Tcl is what I was really looking for originally.

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              Yeah, we’re keeping it in mind. I added this link to a collection on the topic:


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          Having sorted out the networking on the hetzner box I was messing with last time round, this week is about migrating a hosted wordpress blog across to it. Also built a lightbox over the weekend, need to photograph all the things to sell.

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            I haven’t built a distro from scratch in about 3-4 years. This week i’ll be building a distro. Might begin working on a prototype package manager in a few weeks

            Also, a couple of books to read.

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              One thing lead to another and now I’m writing a BF interpreter. If I wanted to write my own programming language (or implement someone else’s), it’d be better to learn about compilers/interpreters/virtual machines sooner than later. Good C practice too since I’m incredibly rusty in it.

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                That’s not a bad idea, you might even end up writing a JIT and a compiler with debug info generation like me. I had fun working on that. Shaving off second by second on mandelbrot.bf.

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                I’m hoping to get started on a rate-limiter for Elixir/Erlang with plugabble backends (so you could have the data be persisted to Redis, Mongo, DETS, or whatever)

                Only thing that’s stopping me is looking after our newborn ;)

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                  • Replaying FFVII on PS4
                  • Reading The Making of Europe by Robert Bartlett
                  • Diving into Designing for Scalability with Erlang/OTP
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                    Bikeshedding my academic publications page. Wrote my own generator for it (warning sign 1) and rolled my own bibiliography management / citation styling too (warning sign 2). Somewhat to my surprise, this has worked out actually pretty well.

                    I’d been using bibtex2web for a few years, which has worked fine, but it is quite complex and hard to configure. Not being able to figure out how to make it do what I want, I’ve resorted to running regexes over the output to fix it up and insert things I want, which has seemed increasingly ridiculous, especially considering the not-that-complex nature of the page. Which is what made rolling my own seem maybe not so crazy: I don’t need to solve bibliography management and citation styling in general, I just need to produce a webpage that lists my papers, each with a sub-page that shows the abstract, links to the PDF, and maybe links to other things.

                    Here’s what cloc says about bibtex2web:

                    Language                     files          blank        comment           code
                    Perl                            76           2672           3769          12527
                    HTML                             2             91             46            554
                    make                             3             23             18             49

                    And here’s my replacement:

                    Language                     files          blank        comment           code
                    Lisp                             2             20             11            134
                    Bourne Shell                     1              0              0              2

                    Written in Common Lisp using spinneret. Obviously it doesn’t do a fraction of what bibtex2web does, but it does the subset I was using, and more importantly, I understand and can modify what it does. The one really big cheat is that I don’t actually parse BibTeX (which has a lot of edge cases), instead I expect to find the bibliography in a vaguely-bibtex-inspired s-expression format. And then I style citations using a mixture of markdown, code, and format strings, instead of some proper citation stylesheet language like BibTeX or CSL. All very much not The Right Way To Do It, but I have spent so much time futzing with huge piles of cruft like BibTeX (ancient stack language!) and CSL (reams of XML! designed for library-science archival and handles every possible kind of citation!) that writing 134 lines of Lisp that actually do what I want in an understandable way and don’t pull in tons of baggage was a very nice experience.

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                      Having spent the last two months doing nothing but spelling my wife in the care of our new kiddo, I’m starting to consider what exactly I want to do with my next job, and how I want to go about getting there. It’s an interesting departure; I’ve spent the last ~25 years getting jobs without thinking, but spending some of my daytime hours on actually figuring out what it is I want to do seems like a pretty good use of time.

                      Otherwise, I’m monkeying around with building libraries in OCaml. Nothing too exciting; just trying to get a better handle on the ecosystem.

                      Still hating Unix, but that’s been constant for 30 years, is unlikely to change soon.

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                        Still figuring out how to organize my time now that I’m over a week into my “freelancer” career. I’ve got lots of things I want to work on, and no other commitments (other than family), so naturally I’m spending too much time on Twitter, et al. :)

                        • Training: Trying to figure out what I’m going to focus on for my training services, starting out with stuff I know really well (Java, automated testing) and moving into Kotlin (which I planned well before Google jumped on board, so yay for my good instincts). Reactive is also a possibility.
                        • Podcast: Working on a podcast with a friend. First one clocked in at almost 2 hours, so much editing to be done there. For now it’s just recording the two of us discussing tech/software development, since we often have interesting conversations anyway No idea if it’s worth listening to yet :). Loving Auphonic for the audio processing – it does in minutes what used to take me hours in my digital audio workstation (Reaper).
                        • Blogging: Getting my back-end for my blog set up, starting with Caddy + Hugo for a static site.
                        • Open Source: After being extremely constrained in my ability to participate in open source at my last company, I’m looking for projects where I can contribute either code (Java or Kotlin) or documentation (anything that I might use or is interesting) and where the project isn’t already getting lots of help. Suggestions welcome!
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                          Learning some python in order to be able to write some integration tests for a new Mesosphere DC/OS component I’ve been working on.