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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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    This week I am teaching a lesson (actually almost a unit) on information representation to my Computer Science students. I’m using the CS Unplugged curriculum to give a base understanding to build on with the units that follow.

    I’m also preparing to start into the early 1800s in my US History class. I’m teaching basic doctrines to my Bible students.

    Personally, I’m playing around with Eve, Squeak, and Pharo. I’m also reacquainting myself with Scratch since that’ll be introduced to my CS students next week.

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      A good replacement for Scratch is Snap! it was developed by Berkeley as Build Your Own Blocks and the advantage is that it works in the Browser.

      It would also be good to know how your students react to the CS Unplugged materials.

      I’m currently trying the Future Learning Teaching Computing Course

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        I had already taught the basic concepts of converting decimal to different bases, such as hexadecimal and binary. But I noticed after covering the binary unit in CS Unplugged that they seemed to have a better grasp of actually doing the conversions mentally.

        They’ve commented that it feels like they’re back in elementary school (they are in eighth and ninth grade), but the concepts are very challenging despite the “kid-friendly” presentation. I’d be really interested to see how the material works with an elementary class. Since I am teaching ESL/EFL students, it’s been helpful to use materials targeted at a younger audience with less developed vocabulary.

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      Designing and implementing our firmware’s storage system. Because NOR flash can only be erased (back to all 1 bits) in fairly large blocks, such as 64 KB, the overall system has a lot of similarities to an append-only log with an incremental mark-and-compact garbage collector. (Individual bits can be written by clearing them to 0.)

      This store also needs to account for possible power loss at any time, so every intermediate step of committing data to flash must keep the overall storage system in a consistent state if interrupted. I’m pretty sure my design accounts for every transition, but I’m going to use property-based testing (via theft) to stress-test it, e.g.: “for any sequence of valid operations against the API, interspersed with injected flash failures and/or resets, no data that has been successfully committed should be lost”. (Unless a subsequent command deleted it.) If days of several cores running generated test scenarios fail to find any bugs, that will be a good sign.


      Working on some built-in shelving and a PCB layout for an ergonomic mechanical keyboard I’m designing. I’ve been traveling and otherwise really busy, but hope to get back to several other personal projects soon.

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        I’m working on Ivelope which is a new email client that I’ve been working on for the past 9 months. This week I finally launched the landing page with a demo video and invite system and from the feedback I have received, I will be working on updating the design this week, since a lot of people think that the design looks outdated, like something from 2005. Apparently more padding and less colors is what should be done, and more modern icons :)

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          Looks really nice, good luck!

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            Thank you!

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          Work: I’m overheating the poor Linux machine under my desk trying to develop means of identifying minimized Javascript. Javascript, man. I just … Javascript.

          Otherwise: we have to move again because our landlord sold our building, so we’re looking around, and we may have found a great place. Fingers crossed; nobody wants to move, still less with an active toddler, but if we can get this settled sooner rather than later, it’s one fewer thing to have to manage.

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            Server side rendering for elm-markdown in Elm to extend my elm-server-side-renderer project. We use it mainly for tests, and now we need it for markdown too.

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              I’m about halfway through the implementation of https://github.com/lacuna/bifurcan , which has functional/persistent data structures in Java without all the language ecosystem baggage that usually comes with it. Yesterday I confirmed that my hash-map is (slightly) faster than Java’s HashMap, which is promising.

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                Supporting more complex types in our company-internal dwarf parser for both ELF and PE DLLs. Supporting both versions of Python for it.

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                  Trying to rewrite Pow in Go and make it use mDNS over whatever resolver tricks it currently uses and support mounting applications at arbitrary urls. Going decently, I just need to come up with a better config format/structure.

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                    I had a bit of an epiphany a week or so ago, and realised I really don’t like computers all that much, but what I have enjoyed is the more electrical engineering bits of my background. I’m continuing to work through Nature of Code (it’s less computers and more exploring the world), but I’ve also started working through Learning the Art of Electronics (with all the supplementary reading from The Art of Electronics). I’ve also been playing around more with my amateur radio license (shooting for an upgrade to General this weekend, and maybe Extra soon after if I study enough), particularly motivated by digging up the HamShields I kickstarted a while ago.

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                      Oh, so that was you I read. You thought about getting involved in the open hardware movement? There’s almost no talent in there vs software FOSS. We need everything from cell libraries to analog to I/O to CPU’s. Plus boards putting them together. Plus them being in something cool that sells and justifies the effort past sheer enjoyment. Lots of potential stuff for you to get into there.

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                        Sorry for the confusion, I didn’t write that — it just really resonated. At some point I might get involved with the OSHW movement, I’ve designed a few boards and such in the past (I started this a while ago, but it sort of fizzled out.

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                          Oh OK. Well good luck anyway. Embedded walkthroughs might make an interesting start as they’re both helpful by themselves and might show where pain points are that better HW could eliminate.

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                      Finally made it back across to the boat & installed a shim to lift the mast ram up inline with the mast (a whole 10mm!). Figured out the last remaining bits of rigging I need and ordered them, so hopefully can go across (depending on when packages arrive) later this week and get her fully rigged to sail at the weekend! Season ends this month, but she’s completely ready for the 2017 season. Looking forward to getting back out on the water in a boat, such fun.

                      iOS Healthkit exporter app continues. Had a few little moans about it along the way so far, but I think I have a plan to follow now. Stopped it crashing at random when the app boots at least, which makes debugging things a little easier. Quite enjoying swift as I use it more and start to remember the syntax between hacking sessions.

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                        I’ve been working on a Twilio log viewer for the last month and it’s finally ready to release! There’s a lot of really exciting stuff in the final product - it serves results really, really quickly, even faster than the API can return them in some cases, uses hardly any Javascript, and pushes boundaries on being able to coordinate deadlines for in-progress work, in ways that have been really difficult to do in popular web frameworks lately. I hope you take a look. https://kev.inburke.com/kevin/logrole-api-client-speed/

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                          After spending some time playing around with haskell web apps, mostly in servant, I’m finally doing an actual contract, though I’ve ultimately decided to choose Yesod, mostly because it’s already a complete story, while servant had me hand coding a lot more stuff. But I havent completely given up on servant, if I have to write an api for multiple frontends, I’ll probably reach for that.

                          I’m also back on the job market, I had started working for a cooperative in the beginning of june, but we’re lacking in funds and having spent the majority of the last 3 weeks at home with no work has been a huge source of stress for me. So I’ve started looking for a new job. I’m hoping I can find something fast, but winter is coming, so worst case scenario I can always put in more hours at the ski school, where I work part time in the winter.

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                            I am sick of being a Postgres DBA, so this week I am moving most of the data in our current Postgres over to DynamoDB. The code to use it will be a little more complicated, but that’s ok, writing code is my jam. I look forward to insert-coin scalability.

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                              I’m working on a plugin for supybot that returns a search for the arch linux wiki. https://github.com/meskarune/supybot-ALwiki

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                                After a while working at the school, I have finally been given an office, a desk and a computer, so I’ve been provisioning my machine in celebration. Otherwise, continuing to help teach the freshman level security class (they’re doing very well) and my staple, System’s Programming. On the side, getting back into Haskell in preparation for trying to land an internship for the summer.

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                                  work: parsing weird-formatted date data (open hours, per season and per day, for thousands of venues, with various variations of incomplete / contradictory data). Bribed my team (with food) into watching conference talks over lunch one day, and they loved it. Worrying about onboarding five new teammates (existing team: 12 people) at the same time (going well so far!).

                                  personal: went to NYC and re-learned how to sleep. :) :) Also hoping to fix up some of my ruby projects (pairSee, safe-commit-hook-ruby)

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                                    So the objective for this week is to fix a few things on Hawkpost(which is a project done in an hackathon a few months ago, to generate links that users can use to submit messages encrypted with your public key.) and to prepare a few ideas for the node knockout contest that will happen next weekend.