Coding Challenges

June 18, 2013

For the last year, I haven’t done much coding aside from work. Part of that is because of the kids eating up so much time. Part of that is because I was choosing to spend my freetime on things like MUSHing. But, part of it was because I just didn’t have a project to work on.

Inspiration hasn’t struck. I have a lot of old projects, but none of them are very compelling to me right now. I spent a week happily hacking away on the code I use to generate my blog, and that was fun, but now that it’s working, I don’t really have much to do there. I spent a couple of weeks toying around with writing a feed aggregator but ultimately decided to use something else.

So, I’ve decided to take on a couple of challenges. First, I started resumed working on Project Euler last night, and that’s fun. I also dashed an email off to get started on the Matasano Crypto Challenge. I’m doing both of these in Haskell, and I’m enjoying myself thoroughly. It’s a great way to exercise my brain.

I Found a Cure

June 17, 2013

Nearly two weeks ago I posted about my illness. Well, I’ve found a cure. I tried it out on my iPhone last night, and today I installed the chrome app on both of my machines. It’s pretty great, and completely destroyed any desire I had to finish writing my own feed reader.

So, if you’re still looking for a replacement for Google Reader, I recommend feedly.

It's an Illness

June 5, 2013

It’s less than a month before Google Reader is shutting down, and I still haven’t decided how I want to continue feeding my RSS-consumption habit. So, tonight I gave it some serious thoughts. I searched around a bit, and saw there are some genuinely good products out there. But, I don’t think I’m going to use them, because I have an illness.

See, it can’t be that hard to write a simple feed aggregator, right? If it’s just for me, then I can make lots of tradeoffs to keep it simple, right? Most importantly, it would be fun, right?

It’s an illness, I tell you.

Twenty-five days should be more than enough, right?

It's Alive!

May 30, 2013

It’s been a long time since I last posted. A lot has happened since then, and I haven’t given much thought at all to blogging. I missed 2012 entirely. I even considered shutting the site down. But, I have found a renewed interest.

The biggest thing that’s happened in the last 18 months is that we had another son. On Liam’s first birthday, we found out Erica was pregnant, and on November 4th, 2012, Elijah Rowan Tesla came into this world. He is just like his brother in most of the ways we expected (e.g. he’s huge), and not like his brother at all in ways we didn’t expect. He’s wonderful, and I love him. Needless to say, I haven’t had a lot of brain for blogging.

I spent most of my free time over the last year roleplaying. I enjoy playing table-top roleplaying games online on MUSHes. I know, it’s very 1980s of me. One of the nice things about this hobby is I can do it from both my laptop and my phone, so I can do it when I’m stuck in a bedroom with a boy. Of course, this hobby expanded to fill all of my available time and brainspace. That’s another reason I haven’t been blogging much.

So why the sudden inspiration to start blogging again? Well, for one, I’d like to work on developing a writing habit that’s a bit longer than 140 characters. I was also reminded that sometimes I have good things to say. Back in February, I was reading my news when I came across an article that had a quote attributed to me right across the top.

“Go is not meant to innovate programming theory. It’s meant to innovate programming practice.” — Samuel Tesla

It was a bit surreal to see my own words quoted on somebody else’s blog. Especially when I didn’t remember when exactly I’d said them. I dug around and finally unearthed the rant here on my blog where I’d said that. Kudos to Carl for extracting the best two sentences of that entire post. Since then, I’ve seen it crop up in a few places. I even had a coworker ask me if I was the same Samuel Tesla that has the quote about Go.

Aside from stroking my ego, seeing that quote out there made me want to keep the site up and start posting again. But, the final barrier to my blogging was that I was unhappy with my tools. I have fallen out of love with Ruby over the last few years, and besides, Jekyll is just slow on my site. Cue the inevitable migration, because setting up my blog is way more fun than actually blogging, and here I am. My site is now powered by Hakyll, which is very similar, and yet much more suited to my needs.

Let’s see if I can at least put as much work into writing new content for the site as I did porting it over to a new tool.

Eight Months Later

November 22, 2011

It’s been forever since I last blogged.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, that you probably already know most of what has transpired in my life since March. I tweet a lot (sometimes). But, writing it out seems like a good way to ease back into blogging.

A week after my last post, Liam Apollo Tesla was born. We had him at home, but ended up at the hospital to tend to Erica’s health. It turned out that Liam had some respiratory distress, which developed into pneumonia. We lived at the hospital for nearly ten days. It was not the first ten days as a new family that we had hoped for, but it was what we got, and we made the most of it. It was stressful, and when it was all over, we were elated to finally be at home with our baby where he was born.

We weren’t there for very long, though. We were already planning a move to Chicago that was just waiting for Liam to be born. The next month was devoted to Liam and cleaning and organizing and packing. I said my goodbyes at work, then the movers came and we hopped on a plane. I cannot recommend enough having other people pack and move your stuff. I am so thankful that I can afford that.

Apartment hunting in a new city is stressful. Doing it with a seven week old baby is doubly so. But, through Erica’s sheer genius at finding things, we found a great apartment. It is in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, and we love it. We feel like we found a little sliver of San Francisco here by the Lake.

Fast-forward six months. I’ve been killing it at my new job with DRW. Liam has tripled in size to a whopping 33 pounds and change, and he is wearing 24m/2T clothes. My 8-month-old wears toddler clothes. Yeah. We (yes, Erica again) found a great deal on Craigslist. We’re good on clothes. He just cut his seventh tooth, and will likely cut another before his age-in-months gets ahead of his tooth count. Being new parents is awesome, and I mean that in the fear-and-wonder sense, not the Wayne’s World sense.

Only recently have I even remembered I have a blog, let alone thought of things to write for it. But, now I have a lot of things I want to say. I’ve been putting this off for a couple of weeks. What’s one more week on top of eight months, right?

There’s a lot going on in my life, and a lot going on in the world. I’ve got things I want to share and things I want to say. Surprisingly, little of it has to do with programming any more. I had a realization not too long ago that I am happier with hobbies that aren’t programming. I still may do some, but I’m finding that I actually enjoy the programming I do at work much more if I’m not spending all hours of the night programming at home too.

I knit. I’ve been knitting a lot. Since Liam was born, I’ve finished one scarf, a pair of gloves, three hats, two pairs of socks, and the sleeves for my first sweater (I had done the rest of the sweater before that). I am presently designing an Aran sweater for a class I will be teaching in a few months at my local yarn store. I am also knitting a sweater for Erica.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about political stuff and activist things. The Occupy movement has really connected with me in many ways. It’s really only by sheer, dumb luck that I’m not in the same boat as so many people that are out there protesting. Part of me wants to be out there protesting, too. But, there are so many things that need our attention. Not just the screwed up (non-)regulatory systems for banks.

Since Erica got pregnant, we have both immersed ourselves in feminism. In the last twelve months, or so, I’ve come to realize a lot of things about our culture that I really don’t like. I’m not sure what to do about them yet, but I’ll probably step up on my soap box and blog at whomever whishes to come along and read it.

So, I’ve got lots of posts rattling around in my brain, and now that I’ve hunkered down and actually written my I’m Back Post™, I’ll start writing them.

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