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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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    I’m planning the hosting migration for Lobsters as the torch passes to me. Huge thanks to @alynpost for providing hosting and helping with the setup.

    I finished my first week at Recurse Center. It’s a wonderful community. I’ve worked on my solitaire solver, built a planck keyboard, and paired with folks on rails and git.

    This week I’m adding hspec and quickcheck (my nemesis - I can’t quite get how arbitrary, Gen, and property fit together) to the solitaire solver to drive out the four bugs I’ve found in the last few days. I’m also bringing Barnacles up-to-date with the Lobsters codebase as part of a deep dive into the Lobsters codebase to ensure I’m very comfortable with it.

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      First of all, thank you so much for keeping the community running! I think there is no way to be grateful enough to volunteer efforts like this one.

      Also, on a more mundane side note, how difficult is to build a Planck? How are you liking it up to now?

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        It was very easy. It is my third soldering project - the first was a little $10 RadioShack kit that didn’t work and I couldn’t fix. The second was an Ergodox that I think had one or two solders I had to reflow. This had zero soldering errors. There’s several unedited videos of builds on YouTube.

        I was down with the flu after I finished, so today will be my first day using it. I’m adopting a Norman layout, which I previously used on the Ergodox.

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          I’ve built one recently as well, they’re really not too hard to solder, bearing in mind I hadn’t soldered in years. Typing on it right now, use it in lectures because it’s quiet - much nicer than a laptop keyboard :D

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          First, thanks for stepping up for the community.

          Secondly, about your issue with QuickCheck, Have you seen The Design and Use of QuickCheck tutorial? I found it helpful when I was reading up on QuickCheck a while back.

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            Yes, though I failed to follow it in my admittedly sleep-addled state. I plan on giving it another try alongside HPFFP.

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          I’ve been playing with Alpine Linux and I like it. It’s a lot more coherent than Debian, and it’s faster and slimmer.

          As a torture test for Oil [1], I will try to rebuild Alpine packages with:

          1. abuild running under OSH
          2. /bin/sh as OSH
          3. /bin/bash as OSH (ambitious)

          The build script they use is called ‘abuild’, and it’s a 2500 line shell script:


          I’ve noticed that distros are the major place where shell is used as a “real programming language”. All Linux distros I’ve seen really stretch shell to its limits. That somewhat surprisingly includes Nix, which I thought would be less reliant on bash because it has its own custom language. But the Nix language is a config language that doesn’t take the place of shell at all.

          If anyone knows of any other distros like Alpine I should try (small, mostly server-based, in use in real scenarios), let me know.

          And I still welcome bug reports on your own shell scripts [2]! Anything I can run is a good test case.

          [1] http://www.oilshell.org/

          [2] http://www.oilshell.org/blog/2017/09/09.html

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            If you like old computers and needed software for them, you’ve probably heard of WinWorld - I’ve spent the better part of September rewriting the CMS after an admin left and we hit bus factor with overengineered PHP. We got it presentable, but it’s quite hacky IMHO - I need to figure out SQL UDFs, figure out solutions to things like discussions, and man, Google CSE is terrible.

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              Working towards the release of my first game on Steam (PC/Mac): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBwMHSlFagg

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                I made my own wiki.

                Inspired by Youshuaw’s knowledge repo. I still have yet to add many things but Gitbooks is pretty awesome so far for this kind of thing. ?

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                  Last week I wrapped up some work on our buildbot. We’re extending it to do system testing and the existing build pipeline wasn’t flexible enough to allow us to create/destroy machines or otherwise run destructive tests. We’ll kick the tires on those changes this week.

                  I’ll be focusing on ansible while that happens. I frequently find myself adding something to the build pipeline that lets me then work on the deployment and provisioning pipeline. I’ve got a role that is so painfully slow I wasn’t using it–the buildbot work allowed me to wrap that all up in a script and I’m looking forward to the shortened debug cycle I’ll get for it.

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                    I’m currently implementing a small blogging engine using the Micropub standard that has been recently recommended by the W3C using Go as a basis. I’m passing most of the testing suite by now, despite only implementing a strict subset of the Microformats2 standard (since it’s rather complicated to parse, in my opinion).

                    I do plan to also implement WebMentions as part of a comment/reply system.

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                      This week I’m at home for the longest duration I’ll have in October (?), which means fixing all the things in the new house so the family isn’t moaning about broken things whilst I’m away.

                      Internet should also move to the new address tomorrow, so I’ll also have to migrate the LAN from old house to new. (New house should also end up with two WAN connections, so I get to play with load-balancing WANs too. Fun.)

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                        Experimenting with wifi. I have a few playful goals:

                        1. Use a parabolic antenna to connect to my friend’s apartment wifi 200m away. There are several buildings in the way, but this is a powerful antenna. I’m excited to see which wins.

                        2. Use the atheros spectral scan feature to “see” the surrounding airwaves. Most of the blog posts I’ve seen on the net are scanning 2.4GHz airwaves; I hope I can get it to work with 5GHz.

                        3. Create a wifi image by combining spectral scan with the highly directional (6° x 10°) antenna. By slowly rotating the antenna across a rectangle I hope to generate a 2D wifi image.

                        As a side note, it was rather difficult to find a wifi adapter that supports all this. I was specifically looking for a chipset that supports 802.11n 5GHz and has open firmware, which narrows things down to exactly one chipset: the AR9002U-2NX (which is actually two chips: AR9280 and AR7010).

                        Annoyingly, I couldn’t find a single USB adapter with this chipset and detachable antennas. The closest I discovered was a forum post where someone detaches the built-in antennas and soldered in their own connectors.

                        Even more annoyingly, TP-Link has multiple revisions of this product with different chipsets. Only the first revision has the Atheros AR7010 that I need.

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                          Sane Workweek Test: a questionnaire for companies that want to demonstrate they have a sane workweek, ala Joel’s Test. Help me find a better name, before it’s too late!

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                            “Life Balance Test” “Got a Life Test” “4-40 Test” (Assuming a good metric for starting paid vacation is 4 weeks)

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                            I am still working on rendering performance in my Apple ][ emulator. I need to get things fast enough so that it will run at a decent speed on a Raspberry Pi Zero.

                            This is a side project. Mostly evening and weekend hacking.


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                              Finally done with strangeloop. I’ve been pouring all my writing time into it to make my talk as rock solid as possible, so I’ve been neglecting all the other ideas I had. But now that’s over and I can write again. Already mostly done with a post on J I just need to edit. Planning a TLA+ FAQ. Got a couple of comedy pieces I want to explore. Stuff like that.

                              Also need to catch up on the week of work I missed. Hoping nothing’s too on fire.

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                                What was the informal side of the conference like? And did you get to meet any people planning to apply formal methods or other exotic tech to major projects in FOSS or industry?

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                                Looking for new contracts or a part time job. I’ve managed to get a 20h/week worth of work on a haskell contract, but I’m going to need another source of revenue to stay afloat.

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                                  Work: onboarding a couple of new developers, preparing a presentation for the board, running a data strategy workshop, and making progress on the encryption/key management stuff I discussed last week: we’re probably using vaultproject.io so pinning down some details of how we’d deploy it and how our applications will communicate with it. War stories gratefully received!

                                  Not work: I have two goals this week: one is to learn about Mach message passing (I’ve had this one on the backlog for a very long time!) and the other is to write a four-part arrangement of John of Paris.

                                  I’m also reading Designing Software Architectures: A Practical Approach, The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume and Babylon 5: Invoking Darkness. When there’s time…

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                                    Got my LLC together, a pretty painless process (even for California). Working on trademark filing next.

                                    Looking into online Master’s degrees in Learning Design/Education as I continue to do “amateur” research in the area, but want a bit more rigor as well as feedback. My goal is to raise the level of online education from “lecture-ware” to courses that leverage our better understanding of learning.

                                    For now, however, diving back into my online course on Java testing, after finishing 4 months of focusing on my on-site Java training classes for “new college grads” at a large company.

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                                      Any advice for fellow devs interesting in creating a LLC?

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                                        I used Nolo.com’s online “wizard”: https://store.nolo.com/products/online-llc-tccllcus.html, was pretty straightforward. I’m sure I could’ve done it myself, but the basic service was only $99, so well worth it.

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                                      Working on Helmspoint, where you can deploy your ML models.

                                      • Right now, need to make make smaller Docker images. Otherwise, the deployment would take too long.
                                      • Need to refamiliarize myself with Kubernetes and find a way to deploy without an image on a Docker repository (if it exists).
                                      • Lastly, need to start working on the basic UI, so people can upload their files.
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                                        Busy week workwise. Last week switched to linting all our pull requests, and I’m going to try to get our linting errors down further. Also going to performance/integration test lxml 4.0 and headless chrome. Edit: test integrating them into our pipeline, that is.

                                        Also pretty excited about PyGotham, which is happening on Friday and Saturday.