1. 30

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.


  2. 26

    Was let go from my job last Friday. Can’t say I’m too upset, as I didn’t really like working there, but I would have liked to have finished the project I was working on and found something else to go to first.

    So now I’m grabbing the silver lining of the cloud by the horns, mixing my metaphors, and using my full time to launch my side project.

    1. 6

      And lobste.rs is a great place to ask around for what’s available and what people work on!

    2. 20

      I’m getting married on Saturday. :)

      Meanwhile at $work, I’m trying to get some ancient java application to talk to its server in a mode that is supposedly supported but doesn’t work out of box. Thank goodness for http://www.benf.org/other/cfr/ and https://github.com/arthurblake/log4jdbc, both highly recommended!

      The next time I find a spare moment, I’ll continue work on a little state machine toy I created in which you draw the graph (DOT language) first, and a compiler-like program emits code which matches the graph. (Don’t call it visual programming!)

      1. 9

        I’m getting married on Saturday. :)


      2. 15

        I’m receiving my father’s day gift a bit early, a Pebble Time is getting delivered to me tonight. Thanks, $wife! I’m going to build something for it, I’ve had an idea for a while, I’m going to make it reality or I’ll go insane.

        I’m also learning Rust, for fun, because I think it’s worth learning. I wish I knew enough about all that to be able to code an android app in rust, and a pebble app in rust, but yeah. Don’t know enough yet.

        Aside from that, I’m fighting with Laravel to get some stuff working for my day job. I’d be lying if I said that it brought me any kind of pleasure at all trying to figure out why does some property of a thing doesn’t behave like I think it should. Well. Especially in this very case. Also I profoundly dislike PHP, which doesn’t help my case at all. I wish I was paid to build cool shit and come up with cool talks.

        1. 10

          Last week I wrote a server for the extensible nREPL protocol in Lua which allows you to connect to a Lua program over a socket and evaluate code inside a sandbox: https://gitlab.com/technomancy/jeejah

          I’ve already added it into my spaceflight/programming game (https://gitlab.com/technomancy/bussard), and tonight I’m working on extending the protocol to go beyond simply evaluating code into game-specific things like keeping you updated on nearby planets, ships, stations, etc, and interacting with the ship’s onboard filesystem.

          The plan is that once you get to a certain point in the game, you’ll be able to operate it entirely from Emacs or another editor of your choosing. You’ll have to implement autopilot routines since the external interfaces are unlikely to provide quick enough feedback to support piloting your ship manually, but by then the point of the game has moved beyond the spaceflight bits into the juicy story-driven and programming-centric parts.

          Trailer for the previous beta here: https://p.hagelb.org/bussard-1.3.webm

          1. 3

            I just watched the trailer, and will give the gameplay a try when I have some time. Job hunt, family coming in a couple of days (with the requisite “honey-do” list) and some freelancing type work have all got me fairly busy. The trailer reminded me of Rodina (Mostly the font/fadeout at the end). Intentional?

            1. 1

              Cool; would love to hear what you think. The story/missions so far only really last 20 minutes or so; I have a lot of plans for more but haven’t gotten a chance to work it in yet.

              The font choice comes from http://typesetinthefuture.com/fontspots-eurostile/; Jura Demibold is just the closest thing in Debian to Eurostile Extended. I hadn’t seen the Rodina trailer, but it looks cool. The fading text is really just because I’ve never done any video editing before and had to just do the simplest thing that could work. The music is taken from the soundtrack to Singularity: https://github.com/singularity/singularity-music/tree/master/music (Through Space) which is CC-licensed.

            2. 2

              I tried your game a bit. As someone who liked to play Escape Velocity as a teenager, I’m really excited by the concept, except that the control aren’t so nice - I couldn’t manage to get closed enough to a target to connect to it, so I had to use the ‘cheat’ keys in ‘ship’ to get where I wanted. But I guess it’s on purpose since you’re making the game programmable…

              1. 1

                Thanks. I still haven’t done enough playtesting with new players to make sure the learning experience is smooth, so it’s good to get feedback like that. The ship.cheat table is really just there for debugging and probably going away once the game gets more playable. (Though there will be ways to escape the sandbox later on, they just won’t be so obvious.)

                But the comparison with Escape Velocity can only really go so far–piloting in EV is challenging because of combat; it’s drastically simplified by the removal of gravitation, but it’s still fun because there are ships trying to blow you up. For my game I didn’t want to make another murder/capitalism simulator, so some of the challenge comes from learning to pilot a ship in a gravity well.

                Were you able to get the two blue trajectory projections and see that matching course requires firing the engines in such a way as to get the two trajectories to line up, rather than firing the engine so that you accelerate in the direction of the current position of the target? If there are glitches in the controls then I would love to get a bug report, but if it’s more “I don’t understand how to match orbit with a target” then a different approach is needed.

                1. 2

                  Were you able to get the two blue trajectory projections and see that matching course requires firing the engines in such a way as to get the two trajectories to line up, rather than firing the engine so that you accelerate in the direction of the current position of the target? If there are glitches in the controls then I would love to get a bug report, but if it’s more “I don’t understand how to match orbit with a target” then a different approach is needed.

                  Yes, I was able to do that, but not always… if I’m far from the target it’s hard to change direction as well, and can be frustrating (hence my use of the cheat).

                  I humbly suggest that you should explain your API a bit more, like “try to change your speed by entering this command…” in the help of the game, in order to guide the players a bit more. I haven’t managed to track my target programmatically (well I didn’t put too much effort) and I’m a seasoned programmer, so someone with no programming experience will have a hard time.

                  1. 2

                    Thanks for the feedback.

                    I think I was a little unclear; I want to make auto-piloting functionality one of the mid-game programming challenges; at the outset of the game it will rely on manual piloting, and I need to find a better way to explain how that works. I want to make it so that by the time you figure out how to write the auto-pilot, it feels like a huge achievement because it allows for much smoother travel. (I think you’ll have access to a device that speeds time up by that point too.)

                    I am thinking of increasing the mass of the targets in the initial systems in order to make them a bit easier to match orbits with, but I’d be happy to hear other suggestions too. There are little things like “always fly around the star in the same rotation as the orbits of the planets” that help a lot, but I’m not sure the best way to explain.

                    I definitely plan on a more gradual introduction to the kind of coding that would allow auto-piloting, but it’s still a ways off at this point. I’ve written basic auto-piloting, and it’s no joke; it’s tricky and easy to get wrong.

            3. 9

              Packing! Moving at the end of this week somewhere semi-rural and starting a 100% telecommute job.

              1. 2

                I did that last year. It’s the best.

              2. 8

                Several projects:

                • A static analysis tool for one of the popular languages.
                • Scala wrapper for a client.
                • Findings report.
                • Attempting to wrangle a client into actually getting a security assessment started.
                • my tiny ML-like language.
                1. 7

                  Working on quantitative marketing analytics (and AB testing) for understanding customers on our (Food)Online Ordering platform, and trying to find holy grails of customer retention.

                  Learning Swift in free-time from “The Swift Programming Language” book. Would appreciate suggestions about any follow-up resources/roadmap for the same.

                  1. 4

                    wrt Swift, Tailor was extremely helpful for me (while I am extremely interested in PLT, and I like some of the things Swift is doing, I mainly picked up the language so as to be effective on client code reviews, so YMMV).

                  2. 7

                    Working with the college’s tech camp program we host every summer. For this week, I’m re-writing a lesson for web dev and JavaScript because good grief the final result has two <body>s, a <head> somewhere in between, <script>s scattered all about, and nested functions! Even last week’s students were confused with how ambiguous the slideshow is.

                    1. 6

                      has two <body>s, a <head> somewhere in between, <script>s scattered all about, and nested functions

                      Did someone even look at that and say “yeah, that looks right, ship it?”

                      1. 1


                    2. 7

                      Inspired by the weekly threads here on lobste.rs and in the Rust community, I’ve actually started a “What are you working on” thread on the lowRISC mailing list. lowRISC is our project to produce a completely open source System on Chip implementing the RISC-V architecture.

                      Last week I was at DAC, talking to various vendors and delivering a section of the RISC-V tutorial. Our section made use of the untethered lowRISC release and associated documentation.

                      Thanks to hard work from my colleague Wei, lowRISC contributor Stefan, and others we are now approaching the point where we can make a new code release including trace debug support. The previous untethered release still had support for the host-target interface (HTIF) in the kernel but had a small program to map the HTIF calls to underlying hardware peripherals (e.g. UART, SD card). This week, I want to look at ensuring we have a kernel that properly supports communicating with the platform peripherals directly.

                      1. 7

                        I actually made some progress on Ruse (my embedded Scheme for Rust) this last weekend! I was flying to and from Sacramento for a family member’s graduation, and managed to use the time to get things going. I have the basic machinery for a lexer in place, and I’ll be working on the parser next. I’d originally thought of using a parser combinator library, but figured that since Ruse is really a learning project, I’d prefer to do everything by hand. It’s pretty fun!

                        I am also looking for where I can contribute to Rust next. There are a number of open issues for Rustdoc that I’d love to fix if I can. We’ll see how that goes.

                        1. 2

                          I would really love love love to be able to embed latex math in rust doc. :) otherwise, documenting libraries that do any significant math is harder!

                          1. 1

                            I agree, that would be a useful feature. It’s been suggested before, but that was a while ago. I’ve opened up an issue for it.

                        2. 6

                          Our all hands is this week, so I am traveling for that. When my hands are free, however, I intend to do some work on a little language I have been playing with. I won’t actually get anything done on the language, mind you, but I hope to lay some foundational stuff around embedding the language into other programs, and figuring out how everything works together. I have been taking a lot of liberties from Lua here, which I think does a pretty good job.

                          1. 6


                            • Trying to simplify our Icinga -> PagerDuty interactions. This is a bit of a hairy mess. We have four environments: dev, test, sandbox, live; also the orthogonal “sys” environment, which has Jenkins and other build infrastructure. We want email notifications for all environments, but we never want pagerduty notifications for dev, test & sys. Live should always go to pagerduty, but sandbox only during working hours.
                            • Trying to debug issue with PgBouncer and RDS. We are seeing periodically broken connections when going via pgbouncer (on localhost) to RDS. I thought it was related to running the RDS in Single-AZ mode, but upgrading to Multi-AZ RDS still has the issue. Not sure what to try next. Perhaps check whether we can work around this by using a Python connection pool. (We use Django.)


                            • House renovation has been on hold a bit due to wife having a persistent cold/flu which has kept her in bed, meaning I have had childcare duties instead.
                            • Archery has been on hold since I injured my elbow by overdoing DIY (I think) :-(
                            1. 6

                              Hello all!

                              I’m still learning and working with Rust. I’m still enjoying Rust and having a great time.

                              I’m currently working on my message-format library, which is getting to the point where it is usable almost. I mainly need to finish up parsing plural and select messages. I’m using nom which has been interesting.

                              I’ve also got a new library, disassemble.rs which provides useful functionality for people who are working with disassembled code and low level tools. There are other libraries like this in other languages, but most of them are set up for use in a particular situation while my library tries to generalize the instruction set support so that it can be used for native code, VMs, bytecode, etc.

                              I’m toying with some other things and hope to start pushing some other libraries this week, like the start of a computer algebra system in Rust, an annotation framework, and more.

                              If anyone’s learning Rust (or already knows it) and would like to help out with some of my projects, I have areas where it would be easy for someone to contribute and I’d be happy to help mentor.

                              This week is busy with a lot of other things as well. Have to head up to the US Embassy to get a new passport for my daughter and I. And now it is time to watch the WWDC keynote!

                              1. 5
                                • Starting a book club at work (probably reading The Phoenix Project)
                                • Beginning work on a UI architecture roadmap
                                • Figuring out how to use the space on my second 27" WQHD screen which I set up this morning
                                • Beginning serious revision of my YA horror novel
                                1. 1

                                  Horror novel?

                                  Let me guess…a bright young lad or lass is enrolled in a summer coding camp…only to discover…they have to learn Javascript! :P

                                  1. 1

                                    Ha! I actually like JavaScript reasonably well despite it’s oddities. The actual novel is more or less a traditional haunted house story, but also deals with contemporary race issues in the rural American South.

                                2. 5

                                  I’m spending the first few days of the week settling into Munich, then I’m back working at Google for the remainder of the week. ‘Settling in’ involves registering my presence in Germany, starting bouldering again, and acquainting myself with the local area; fun!

                                  1. 5

                                    I’m starting work on a talk about a neat little monitoring tool I’ve been building for Fitbit: http://conf.researchr.org/track/pmldc-2016/PMLDC-2016#Invited-Talks

                                    1. 5

                                      Did my first negotiation for a contract, which went really well today.

                                      I’m also being considered for a “Senior Software Engineer” position, even though I’m more of just a full stack web developer. A little uneasy on that front. If someone could pitch in some advice I’d be grateful. Really it appears they just need a full stack dev (like me) who knows how to integrate with other systems and know how to use Angular, which I do. The whole Junior/Intermediate/Senior titles really get to me and I wish they didn’t exist.

                                      I’m setting up a local “bunny cam” that can be accessed via some RTMP client from smartphones. Why not to twitch? Because that would waste a lot of bandwidth vs hosting locally and wanting to check in every once in awhile.

                                      Had an idea to improve the design of standard text inputs on desktop that are numeric input only. Will probably implement it quickly sometime this week.

                                      I’ve been waking up feeling really weak lately, not sure what that’s all about. It’s as if the muscles in my legs just don’t want to move. Also been grinding my teeth a lot (no pun intended).

                                      Finished “Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction” last week which was flippin' excellent. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get back into Math. I’ve bought “What is Mathematics?” which is supposed to be a more indepth variation of the former and have excellent quality. So far I like it. I’ve also bought “Universal Principles of Design” which has opened my eyes to what makes a design “good”. Really recommend for those frontend guys who are not designers (like myself). I bought all my books over Google Books, together at a total of around $30. It has been extremely worth it. I have been debating on buying that Gang of Four Design Patterns book but it’s around $40, and from what I’ve seen, it isn’t worth it.

                                      1. 7

                                        “Senior” at a small company is less of a job description and more of a form of compensation: It means you can put it on your resume for the job after this.

                                        Obviously, try to live up to it, but unless your manager sets some expectations about what it means, it’s really completely up to you how you do that.

                                      2. 4

                                        Well, for last week I finally made a lot of progress on some backend work for https://neuralobjects.com that I was working on. I had been briefly held up by some issues getting JPA working in an OSGI environment (we use ServiceMix as the container for our backend services), as my first stab at this was based on Spring Data JPA, and Pivotal no longer package the Spring jars as OSGI bundles… and I ran into dependency hell trying to get it all to work.

                                        Then, I realized that I really don’t need Spring Data for this, and since Hibernate ships with OSGI support, I switched it all out to use Hibernate directly and got that working. Now I have to finish defining some domain classes, and plug that code into my provisioning service so that it updates the database in response to provisioning operations.

                                        Next steps for this week: wire that up to a progress indicator in the web interface, and set up something to send an email, xmpp message, etc. when the provisioning of a new environment is complete.

                                        Also, taking a course on Statistical Inference on Coursera, so I’ll have homework to do for that.

                                        1. 3

                                          Holy shit! An “under construction” gif! Blast from the past! Cool!

                                          1. 1

                                            LOL, yeah, I couldn’t resist. And other than posts here and barnacl.es, we haven’t really publicized this much yet and the robots.txt is set to disallow all crawlers, so we don’t expect many eyeballs on the site just yet. So I figured a cheesy 90’s “under construction” gif would be a nice touch until we’re ready to release to a broader audience.

                                        2. 4

                                          I tend to be easily distracted at the computer, so last week I spent some time away from the computer writing game logic, on paper. With a pen. Forced me to think and discard many terrible ideas before they made it to paper, and hopefully by letting it sit a bit, even more bad ideas will be filtered out before they can get into the machine. This week I will tell the computer what I told my notebook, and find out how much less forgiving the computer is. Also re-starting hosting a weekly Ruby meetup for new/intermediate devs after a winter pause.

                                          Meanwhile at $work, we have newcomer to development. However, she has the right attitude, and is motivated to learn, and asks loads of good questions, so it’s exciting watching her develop into a developer. Teaching someone new about tech is my second favorite thing I could possibly to and get paid to do (the first being: do nothing and get paid for it).

                                          1. 4

                                            I hadn’t intended to, but I seem to have accidentally started working on structureshrink (my test case minimizer) again. I’ve been experimenting with some new heuristics and a better algorithm for combining them.

                                            I’m supposed to be working with a graphic designer for a logo for Hypothesis and writing some talks. I’m sure I’ll get around to that soon.

                                            1. 4

                                              Found a nasty little bug in Mailfeed last week that caused one of my beta users to get ~100 emails in the span of an hour. Thankfully I’ve only been soliciting friends to use the app so far - these are the kinds of things I was really worried about and need to address before any kind of official public release.

                                              1. 4

                                                Modifying my closed ear headphones to use the same mini-xlr cable port as my open ear AKGs. Also just recently got a new bike frame so I’ve been moving parts over to it and I’m going to hunt down a mtb brake lever to replace the drop bar brake levers, strip the rear brake (it’s fixed), and toss on some risers/cut the fork.

                                                1. 4

                                                  Just finished another edition of the Montreal Mondial de la biere, it was loads of fun, with a superb presence from both brasil and norwegia (nogne mostly). Today I’m taking my bearings getting my energy back up after a whole week of tastings, music and just generally standing.

                                                  I’m also keeping on the job search, hoping the interviews I had at the begining of last week will start to pan out. Though I did decide to take on a small web contract just to keep me afloat. I’ve gotten a pretty efficient workflow going with hakyll and a few other tools so it shouldnt impede too much on my job search.

                                                  On the personal side, I’m trying out freebsd on one of my machines, if anybody has recommendations to make about running freebsd on a laptop, I would love to hear them. I’m also planning on doing a little bit of math and practicing haskell a little more.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    Hm, fellow Montrealer here. I wonder how many of us there are on Lobsters.

                                                  2. 4

                                                    chugging on with my crossword editor. it’s rife with mutable state right now, since that’s the path of least resistance when working with gtk and .net, but i do ultimately want to have it be more frpish - i just want to iterate on features for a while before reworking the architecture. once i get qxw file roundtripping working i’ll release v1.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      I’m primarily an application engineer, and don’t touch much ops/networking/infrastructure, so the Current Project is “simple” but causing me to learn: I’m hosting my blog on a proper Cloud Engine (Google, in this case) using Docker, and trying to get SSL via certbot. I’ve more or less got containers and Kubernetes down enough to host the thing, I’m just bumping my head on Let’s Encrypt in a Dockerized setting, ideally automatically.

                                                      Other thinking is to ssh into the instance, get the certs from there manually, and copy out the files to use in future deploys. Basically http://www.evolveyourweddingbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/0842421504b474e9ba1adb650f17996a145ff1290de6596821915c3ea53218af.jpg

                                                      1. 3

                                                        Building mods for Fallout 4. Its a nice distraction from Tech, which I still feel burnt out with.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          How do you like fallout 4?

                                                          1. 2

                                                            I think its pretty good, lacking in some ways, and thankful the modding community exists. I also feel like Bethesda released a subpar product with the hopes that the modding community would fill in the gaps. I’ve loved all the DLC for it so far, the stories and quests were great. But I do feel like it lost a lot of the ‘grit’ that made Fallout in past games.

                                                            I’ve also found scraps of a bunch of cut content while exploring through the creation kit; and I’m working on restoring some of it.

                                                        2. 3

                                                          Project BMW is back on the road, after fitting a new radiator, expansion tank & coolant level sensor. Also threw a new tensioner pulley in whilst I had it all in bits, which solved an irritating squeak on acceleration. Now to get used to having two cars again. Only outstanding thing before MOT next month is a couple of new rear tyres, so hopefully I can drive it more than I have to work on it for a few weeks now.

                                                          Project Boat is kinda stalled, been away or busy with other things. The british weather has now turned to autumn so we’ll see whether I get it back together this week or not.

                                                          Given the weather has taken a turn for the worse here, probably switch up cycling for swimming this week and also make time to get my hetzner box actually doing something other than wasting electricity.

                                                          1. 3

                                                            Still working on SVN"s new conflict resolver. Got simple file rename merges working today: http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/subversion-dev/201606.mbox/%3C20160613141056.GE5717%40ted.stsp.name%3E

                                                            1. 3

                                                              Had to buy a new camera last week (I think it was, or was it earlier). Had a lot of fun figuring out what to get, using it and then writing up my notes about it. [1, 2, 3]

                                                              Currently, I’m wrestling with how to succinctly display datasets that consist of a large number of categories and some numerical values. I have colleagues who use the output of a tool I wrote to improve their own tools and I’m trying to figure out how I can get them the most effective summary results. The challenges are the high number of categories and the large number of tools which, ideally, all need to be cross-compared with each other.

                                                              1. 3

                                                                Working on trying to get to fluency and idiomatic code with pony, currently via implementation of a toy quickcheck. Even though it’s still under construction, it’s shaping up to being the language I wished Rust had been.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  @work: using pdfium which is pretty nice for rendering PDF’s as images, text is a bit tricky but i think i have found a way to make it work, trying to finish that.

                                                                  @home: learning rust, evaluating using gn for my c++ projects which is pretty nice and i love that fact that i can generate Xcode and qtcreator projects from it to use with my ide, even though cmake provides similar functionality but i am trying to experiment with monorepos.

                                                                  1. 3
                                                                    • Last week I was not entirely present when setting up bind on my Ubiquiti router therefore my home network no longer resolves DNS - going to fix that :)
                                                                    • Building a dashboard to visualize current and past listeners tuned in to an icecast server.
                                                                    • Building an Ikea kitchen table thing I will mod into a desk. It was the only desk-like thing at Ikea which fit into the last remaining space in my studio.
                                                                    • Populating the desk with a bench power supply (need to research and buy), my soldering + EE tools, and a ChipWhisperer (need to buy).
                                                                    • Research the panel antennas mounted above stoplights on large streets. I feel they’re used for communicating with busses and updating the digital displays at stations, but I’m not sure.
                                                                    • Assuming I get paid, buy an SDR to further dive into the panel antennas above.