1. 16

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

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

    1. 10

      Baking pancakes at a restaurant, writing Haskell (and compiling it to VHDL and synthesizing this VHDL, using Clash ), writing CPP (and compiling it to VHDL and synthesizing that VHDL as well, using Vivado HLS)

      1. 3

        Always good to see more hardware people on here. Since I’m a software guy, I like to bounce open tools off of experienced, hardware people to assess the current state. If you have time, what do you think of Synflow’s Cx for hardware prototyping? Or letting non-hardware people get started on hardware optimization before handing it off to actual, hardware people? It’s one of the last attempts at HLS that I didn’t see reviews of.

        Edit: Given your profile, you might also find [G]alois Inc](https://galois.com/) interesting given their work combines all that. They open source a lot of stuff, too. Have fun with that. :)

        1. 2

          Thanks! This looks awesome. The Cx for HW prototyping looks interesting, however I’ve recently come to believe that using imperative languages for hardware design is a mistake. An FPGA is a “logic machine”, as opposed to a CPU which handles instructions in a sequential way. That’s why C is the “ideal” language for CPU’s (in terms of being able to control exactly what is executing), because C is so close to assembly. For an FPGA, functional programming more closely resembles what the FPGA is doing, and the change in mindset forces you to think more in terms of what the FPGA needs to do / can do.

          This is roughly paraphrased from what one of the Clash developers once said, I’ve forgotten where/when.

          Galois sounds awesome! I’ll take a closer look when I have more time.

          1. 1

            Yeah, the hardware people tell me it’s inherently parallel. So, parallel languages fit. You said inherently functional. The intro I read said there were stateless circuits (functionalish) and stateful circuits with internal memory. The stateful ones sound a bit more like imperative programming. I don’t do functional programming, though. So, what’s your take on the sequential circuits being functional? Or you make exception for those?

      2. 1

        Cool! İs clash output reasonably efficient?

        1. 1

          It’s quite fast at generating VHDL code, so that’s awesome. As far as I can tell, it’s efficient, but that does require understanding of exactly what the hardware is doing (which I don’t completely have at the moment). It’s also easy to generate hardware that you looks very different when changing small things

      3. 1

        Clash looks really cool! I assume you’re working on some kind of FPGA?

        1. 2

          Yes, the cpp->vhdl one should run on a PYNQ Z1 and the other one is a Cyclone V

    2. 9

      Earlier this month I finished the game I’ve been working on for a bit over a year (which is already available on itch & will have its steam release in mid-February). I was planning to wait until I got ~100 sales (to guarantee I’d make back the money I spent on assets & on the steam application token) before starting on a sequel, but I’ve been bursting with ideas for mechanics today so I will probably start planning the sequel more concretely this weekend – perhaps even starting on character designs & plot.

      I’m also continuing to go through research materials for my next book. I got a copy of Raskin’s The Humane Interface recently, and I’ve been reading that recent history of PLATO, The Friendly Orange Glow. I’m not planning to cover PLATO in the book since I don’t think there’s an emulator around for it, but I expect reading about it will spark some ideas.

      1. 3

        Link to the game please!

        1. 3
      2. 1

        Any details about the game? Links to more info? Genre? Linux? Multiplayer?

        Don’t quite have the time for games that I used to, but if it’s a puzzle/coop 2d/adventure that runs on Linux I might not be able to help myself…

        1. 2

          Sorry to disappoint, but it’s a VN (a kind of narrative-focused variation on the 2d adventure game popular in Japan). It does run on Linux.

          1. 1

            DDLC 2? :-)

            1. 2

              I started this before DDLC came out, & was a little concerned because they both played with the player / player character divide & with meta (specifically, both incorporate things VN players normally do outside of the game as part of the game’s mechanics). But, they’re different enough to not be really comparable.

              There’s more overlap with another thing that came out shortly after I started, the movie Happy Death Day. Luckily, the tone is very different, & the only overlap is within the pitch (which really acts as a frame story in MfoM).

              1. 1

                So, what’s the games namem I’d love to try it out. Especially since it’s from a fellow lobster. :-) Pretty please.

                1. 1

                  It’s called ‘Manna for our Malices’.

                  The sequel, if I end up making it, will be called ‘The Book of the Damned’, to continue the Charles Fort theme.

    3. 8

      Making another bootie! I have to hurry, ’cause the baby shower is on Monday.

      1. 4

        cat :3

    4. 8

      Working on laarc: https://www.laarc.io

      We’re trying to recapture some of the early spirit of Hacker News circa 2007.

      Laarc is growing quickly. The site is all thanks to the early community, who have turned out to be some of the nicest people ever. A lot of them are also the most capable hackers I’ve ever seen; I pointed out JungleCat’s “scent map” pathfinding technique last time (https://www.laarc.io/item?id=278) and you might like rain1’s study on continuations. Akkartik and nickp seem to always have something interesting up, and in general everyone seems to be pitching in to push it along. The traffic is pretty nuts: 75k views in the last month from 3,500 people.

      New submissions go directly to the front page. This won’t last, but the community has shown self-restraint and remarkably good taste. You’re free to try it. It’s worked surprisingly well to just trust people to be good in the early days.

      We had our first Show Laarc post! https://www.laarc.io/item?id=674 enow is trying to make gamepads as effective as keyboards for text input. It’s an ambitious idea, but he has some promising early progress.

      We struck a deal with diffbot to be able to use their product for the forseeable future. They’re an awesome company, and diffbot is what lobsters uses to turn submissions into emails. (e.g. diffbot turns a url into a readable summary. I posted a diffbot-summary script here.)

      Thanks, diffbot! Check them out; you might want to recommend them to your coworkers if the topic comes up.

      On the news front, HN seems… worried. Someone posted laarc to HN (surprising to me) and it turns out that HN had preemptively banned laarc: https://news.ycombinator.com/from?site=laarc.io

      (If you don’t see anything on that page, it’s because you have to log in and enable showdead. The direct link is here but also won’t work without showdead.)

      I don’t want to do a Show HN. It would grow the site much too quickly. But there have been other ways forward, and HN users are starting to notice some differences in the quality of laarc’s front page: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18982208

      nostrademons: It’s interesting, I just checked it out (I’d never heard of it before) and a number of the usernames seem familiar, and are not who I’d think of as more political-oriented people. The topics are actually more technical and arguably interesting than what shows up on HN these days.

      I think it may just be that beyond a certain size, online communities break, and you get crap. And laarc is effectively a splinter off HN of users who got fed up with the content here.

      They’re also starting to get real fed up with Dan’s moderation:

      untog: you might notice it happening now. This story has slipped down to 23rd on the front page, despite having far more upvotes in a shorter space of time than the stories that surround it. Soon it won’t be on the front page any more.

      I used to hear a lot of this talk on HN, but regrettably dismissed it. HN seemed good to me, and whatever Dan was doing seemed to be working. And for the most part, it does. But that’s little comfort to those who find themselves personally blacklisted and excluded for asking questions.

      I am incredibly grateful that lobsters exists. It seems strange that anyone would feel threatened by a new community popping up. We enhance one another. One doesn’t come at the expense of the other. It was inspiring to hear that pushcx forged out on his own and made it work, since it shows that people will always flock to quality.

      Either way, the site is rapidly shaping up. We have an iOS app available for testing, and users seem willing to try it: https://www.laarc.io/item?id=650

      I’ll be rolling out search soon, roughly equivalent to HN search. https://hn.algolia.com/

      We decided to wait several hours before posting this, both so that everyone else had time to share their stories and so that less people find out about laarc. I was hesitant to post at all, but a long-time lobsters user said not to worry about it. If updates like these get annoying, please promise to smack me on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. :)

      1. 4

        It’s always fascinating and weird to hear the various stories of people building hunam communities and the tools that enable them, and how other communities react.

        I regret nothing about taking HN off my usual “check every day” bookmarks rotation, and replacing it with lobste.rs. May the community you build hopefully be as neato. Maybe I’ll check it out from time to time.

        Are you using the lobste.rs codebase, or something else?

        1. 3

          It’s actually Arc: https://github.com/laarc/laarc

          http://paulgraham.com/road.html isn’t about Lisp specifically, but Arc is the embodiment of those ideals.

          It’s effective. People in feature requests thread keep saying “Wow, that was fast” when they ask for concrete features. https://www.laarc.io/item?id=230


          Lobsters has an excellent codebase. I used it as a reference for the “suggest title” feature, and it’s how I came to know about diffbot. The very first thing I wanted to know was “How the heck does Lobsters turn a URL into a readable email?”

          Hmm… One of the annoying things about doing a deal with a company like that is that you can’t talk about them anymore without sounding like you’re shilling for them. :) But I’m not. They’re just that good. It seemed like one of lobsters’ main superpowers was turning URLs into readable emails, and I never would have figured out how without lobsters and the community here.

          I’m excited for Arc. There is still a small but intensely interested community at http://arclanguage.org/forum and some exciting upgrades to the language may be coming soon. I ported Arc to JS also, so you can use npm libraries with Arc and such.


          (Those docs are about Lumen, but most of Arc’s standard library (like whenlet) works with the in-browser repl there.)

          1. 3

            Goodness, Arc is still a thing? Frankly I’ve heard less about it the last few years than newer minor languages like Kitten and Pony. Good on you for actually making it do something useful. 😊

      2. 1

        Yeah, it’s been a fun site so far. Like I told Doreen, I’ve enjoyed a lot of the non-technical stuff more than the technical. Much like HN’s diversity of content without its noise and fast pace. Complements Lobsters nicely. Look forward to seeing what happens. Especially with the double-edged sword of growth. Still watching HN since its community is huge with occasional, good submissions and comments worth the noise. I repost the better stuff to Lobsters and Laarc for folks that don’t want to deal with the cost of following it all.

        Far as the HN moderation, I will note that the user has weird, failed, submission history. A 2012 submission, followed by three in 2017 (one dead on politics), a scattering from 5-6 months ago, three on typing from a month ago. and dead post on laarc yesterday. The articles are mostly 1-2 points total on a massive site with Huffman Tree’s getting 4. This account is, in eyes of HN community and/or moderation, failing constantly to be worth their readers’ time. They might already be targeted by moderation for what I’m seeing, something in comments, and/or along with whatever they emailed them about in response.

        I still figure Laarc might be on Dan’s shitlist given he really doesn’t like you for whatever reasons, you’re in showdead there, and he sees familiar names on Laarc’s homepage. “That’s the sound of inevitability, Mr. Anderson.” It’s not stopping Laarc, though. The show will go on. :)

    5. 7

      Volunteering at the compileHer hackathon!

    6. 6

      Studying like a mania for an entry-level job that wants me to know C, Python, Lua, Java, and Ruby according to the job description. I’m going to brush up on my C and data structures, hopefully I don’t even get tested though, I haven’t been warned about one.

      1. 1

        That’s a lot to expect an applicant to know for an entry level job…

    7. [Comment removed by author]

      1. 2

        Is that good? I’ve been afraid that it might already be dated.

        1. [Comment removed by author]

          1. 3

            IronGremlin’s comments about breaking, API changes making book’s examples harder to follow. Books and CompSci papers breaking or being unsupported over time is a general problem I was thinking about how to tackle. I think it would be useful to maintain an older toolchain or even just VM for works with established value. In this example, a Haskeller looking for a helpful project might find whatever compiler and libraries were necessary for these examples, package them up somehow for modern OS’s, and send links to folks sharing the book or places where it would be seen. A combo of paper authors and/or community support does this for various works, esp educational, with long-term value.

            If you all are thinking that sounds a bit much, remember that it seems hard to find people that can turn hard ideas or exotic tech into educational resources lots of people pick up easily. I say we establish wide distribution and long-term support (ie. maintaining tools) for at least one, great guide on every tech topic. Then, readers rapidly learn the fundamentals and some realistic uses followed by reading some links to update themselves on current state of the field. A great start will make the update easier, too.

            1. 2

              There’s always the Knuth approach, spend a couple chapters defining a fixed system that you can use in the rest of your writing. This at least gets the relevant life span of your writing to 40 years or so. :3

    8. 5

      I just moved, so I’ll be unpacking and making a giant “donate this to Goodwill” pile as I go. Moving frequently is a great way to be remind yourself how much useless crap you accumulate.

      Maybe I’ll get back to working on my polarization simulations. There’s one, last show-stopper bug keeping me from making an announcement about it, and moving on with life, but walking away from it for a while hasn’t given me any new insights.

    9. 5

      Planning to learn/practice davinci resolve

    10. 5

      Taking a friend to Bletchley Park and The National Museum of Computing as he’s never been :-)

      If you’re in or are going to the UK and haven’t been to these I highly recommend them, especially if you’re into cryptography or old computers.

      1. 2

        I volunteer at TNMoC! Sadly I can’t be there this weekend.

        1. 1

          Oh, cool! If I lived closer I’d love to work there :-)

    11. 4

      My wife’s firm retreat is this weekend, so I’m solo parenting the girls, which, weather permitting, will involve a very great deal of tobogganing. I’m also going to pack for our trip to Hawai’i (we leave on Wednesday). Finally, when we’re moving, I’m going to downsize my computer setup to one server, and part out the big desktop machine. So, I’ll start doing that when I get back, and I’m trying to decide if I want to replace the desktop with a Windows or a Mac laptop.

    12. 4

      Resident Evil 2 remake, reading, and deciding what tech and tech books I want to spend time on in my free time.

    13. 4

      Working on an optimization for the Curv GPU compiler: common subexpression elimination. This will reduce the size of the shader programs that I generate, and make them run faster, because I’m running into limitations with some of my 3D models. First, I have to pick a good data structure. I have something in mind, but I’m going to read up on the SSA, CPS and ANF compiler intermediate representations.

      Plus, spend some time away from the computer. Make blueberry pancakes, get some exercise, do something social.

      1. 1

        That sounds pretty cool! Do submit it when done if you have time to write-up a description.

    14. 4

      Getting over being sick as a dog and watching lots of Youtube. For anyone interested in infosec-theater as I am, this one is pure gold :)

      I’ll Let Myself In: Tactics of Physical Pen Testers

    15. 4

      I’m leaving Russia and returning to Poland for one week, before I travel to Thailand.

      I just about finished my first energy supplier integration for Comparestack/Moneygains, so that codebase is now around 10K lines of mostly Haskell and Elm. Now I need to switch focus and work on my other two projects.

    16. 3

      I have applied for a job as an embedded programmer: I hope that will fit my background better. I’m also hoping to get another offer where I can work on a compiler, which seems exciting. Things are not terrible at my current job, but not great either, and I don’t feel like I’m experiencing much growth (both financially and personally). I’m digging up some C code to share with a potential new employer, and maybe I’ll write some new code. I was thinking about an interface/implementation to solve (either perfectly or heuristically) simple turn-based games. I also trying to learn a bit more about I/O in Haskell (writing raw bytes to a file). Further: catching up with old friends, getting my bike fixed, starting to use a new/secondhand phone, and the regular chores.

    17. 3

      Self Improvements: more fiddling with Kubernetes; my shop is making some changes to our infrastructure, and it seems like this will help with a lot of our issues.

      Side Projects: working on my home management app and probably updating the home server. Also, trying out some dual-extrusion 3D printing hopefully. It’s also my oldest child’s birthday and I now have a teenager at home (and there’s going to be a slumber party on Saturday night).

      Home Improvements: Bunch of home electrical work to do - I have a few new light fixtures and a few new outlets to install at various places in the house.

    18. 3

      I have a coop shift, so I’ll be shelving produce and cans of food. Outside that I’ll do a bit more of the Little Schemer for my lisp study group and probably head to the plant center to pick up some things for some starts I brought back from TX.

      1. 3

        I think I am now bannished from the coop, but I guess it doesn’t matter since I no longer live on that side of the country. Please send my love to the produce coolers and the belt—I miss those things.

        1. 3

          I will say hello to the coolers and the belt!

    19. 3

      It’s still the case that the Labrary is a business in want of some customers, so I need to fix that. I’m still struggling to work out how to make the website valuable, but what I think I really need is rampant networking so I’m going to fill my meetup calendar. Particularly with Silicon Canal and other local events.

    20. 3

      Earlier this month I finished the game I’ve been working on for a bit over a year (which is already available on itch & will have its steam release in mid-February). I was planning to wait until I got ~100 sales (to guarantee I’d make back the money I spent on assets & on the steam application token) before starting on a sequel, but I’ve been bursting with ideas for mechanics today so I will probably start planning the sequel more concretely this weekend – perhaps even starting on character designs & plot.

      I’m also continuing to go through research materials for my next book. I got a copy of Raskin’s The Humane Interface recently, and I’ve been reading that recent history of PLATO, The Friendly Orange Glow. I’m not planning to cover PLATO in the book since I don’t think there’s an emulator around for it, but I expect reading about it will spark some ideas.

    21. 3

      Work continues on plant startup. We’ve got round one of meatspace testing going with a boatload of seeds in pots, good so far. Working on getting some simple watering reminders set up now.

      Still happy to send people kits (everything you need to grow plants from seed, including the seeds and clear instructions) for free, just PM me. No green thumb required, should be going out in a month or so.

      Otherwise I’ve got coworkers from the other side of the world coming into the city for my day job. Excited to spend some time with them as well :~).

      1. 1

        Tell me more? I’ve recently been contracting for panacea.ag, which is a very young startup building systems for monitoring greenhouse plants and equipment. So I’m interested in other people working in this space.

        1. 1

          Hey, sure. Panacea looks cool! We’re more of a consumer company, much lower tech than what I imagine y’all are doing just from glancing at the website. Think Blue Apron but for house plants with some smart-enough care reminders. The hope is that since we are maximizing for just keeping plants alive and reasonably healthy, rather than maximizing growth or yields, we can achieve our goal with minimal hardware.

          We haven’t started playing with that side of things yet, but when we do I’m happy to have a more in-depth conversation about our findings if you like!

          1. 1

            Hah, that honest sounds like something I’d be interested in, at least come spring. I like gardening, at least for the first three weeks or so, and having a system to poke me time to time and remind me to help take care of stuff sounds nice… Especially if it teaches me stuff in the process, which wouldn’t be hard.

            Panacea is honestly lower tech than it looks, basically everything is off-the-shelf. But in this era of cell phones and arduinos, you can do a lot with off the shelf parts. The maker movement and their tendancy to dig into random topics and then blog about it is also wonderful. “Oh, you need a filter for a near-IR camera? We tested a bunch of things and found a theatre light filter that works great, you can get them anywhere for $2. Here’s what the transmission spectrum looks like…”

    22. 3

      I will be:

      1. Creating and sending tax documents for 2018 HardenedBSD donors
      2. Attempting a BIOS downgrade on a couple APU4 devices, so I can install OPNsense 19.1-RC1 on them
      3. Going over February’s budget with the missus
      4. Learning more about Rustlang
    23. 3

      I’m finishing my office move (working from home starting February 1). My home office looks more like a warehouse than an office right now. I built a second standing desk in one of the closets to act as a “business center” (copy/print/scan/file), and I’m planning to build bookshelves in the other closet to house what used to be the company library. I’m a little stressed out but I’m making progress.

      1. 1

        Good luck, home offices are hard.

    24. 3

      Going to finally finish my personal website and just get something out there, even if I haven’t written too many posts on it. If I can finish it, then probably begin adding in a dashboard feature for a security focused startup I recently undertook with colleagues.

      Besides that, I need to catch up on reading the Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin for a book club discussion with friends next week! Just finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, as well as Educated by Tara Westover, and both were phenomenal reads.

    25. 3

      Finishing touches on updating NetBSD to mesa 18. This was hard because things in base effectively have their build system rewritten, and mesa is huge. This is going to be a lot of compiling, but fortunately my computer is doing the heavy lifting on that.

      Writing a lecture about pkgsrc for a local FOSS meetup.

    26. 3

      Procrastinating working on ggez, a 2D game framework for Rust. I should get some bugfixes in, so I can publish a new release candidate… There have been some wonderful API improvements from interested contributors, but most of these bug fixes are either on touchy areas or on areas needing judgement calls, so it’s harder for drive-by contributors to help.

      Instead of doing that I’ve been working on a review article of Rust web frameworks, slowly. And angsting about starting a new job next week. It’s a very nice job working on interesting stuff, doing devops for a company building drone autonomy software. But they look an awful lot like a startup that has no concept of work-life balance, which is usually bad for my mental health. We will see.

    27. 3

      I’m thinking about buying some yarn and a hook and trying to learn crocheting. I’d like to make myself a nice winter hat, we’ve got some really cold weather coming and I lost my last nice one.

    28. 2

      Writing some emails to clients, planning out the work for February, taking care of Business Stuff. Lifewise there’s a couple of monthly dances in Chicago: every month I hope to go to both, settle for going to one, and end up going to neither. Let’s see if I can break that this month!

    29. 2
      • BTS (K-pop)concert via theater Fathom Events.
      • hiking
      • Watch local youth philharmonic talent show Sunday.
    30. 1

      Visiting a friend, which will likely involve wine, board games, a run or two to the tip, yorkshire pudding wraps and much merriment.