Weekly Blog

I like writing stuff and it's not so much for the others to read but more a way of collating, structuring and analysing my own feelings. Forcing them through the filter of my piss poor spelling, grammar and typing means means a bit more reflection and less reaction which is no bad thing. So I enjoy it, get quite a bit of value out of it but still struggling a bit with the best way to consistently do that. So I'm trying different things and this time it's a weekly round up :)

Exercise

Pretty good week all in all. Working to an eight week plan that will see me gently increase my running while maintaining the cycle commute to work. In the past enthusiasm has been my downfall and too much too soon has lead to burn out and more recently a bit of injury. So keeping it sensible is the order of the day. Week one complete and I've clocked in just over 20km in the first week; 2 short runs and a longer 10km yesterday. And yeah, lovely running. This time of year is great, I love the cold, crisp thing going on and the Tay is as beautiful as ever.

I'm kind of keen to get some professional perspective on what I'm up to, maybe from a running trainer, so I've asked at the local running equipment shop if they know of anyone. Got a couple of leads so I need to follow them up. Tomorrow it gets less leisurely with half an hour of intervals.

Home Dev

Learnt some Vim from Practical Vim. It's a great book and helping me nudge even deeper into the Vim hole. Moving to this editor has been a great experience all in all. I feel very much at home and have a great feeling of control over the text I'm editing. And yet starting to work through Practical Vim also shows I've a long way to go but on top of that a while bunch of great new skills to learn.

I've also managed to spend some time dabbling with ClojureScript. The last 3 or 4 months I've spent a bit of time messing with functional programming and the path keeps returning to some form of lisp. A while back I also had some fun messing around with web technologies so I've merged those two interests.

Clojurescript derives from Clojure and Clojure is great; a modern day lisp that works on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It's nice and nippy and you get access to a shed load of great Java libraries to boot. A key thing about Clojure is its core data structures are immutable by default and as such pushes you quite strongly towards a functional style where you are very precise about state and state management. Something I like

ClojureScript is a subset of Clojure that there are tools to cross compile to JavaScript. You don't get the rich wealth of JVM libraries to use but you can easily interoperate with the plethora of excellent JavaScript libs. You can tell that this is still a relatively you technology as setting up a productive work environment isn't a lot of fun and more than a bit fiddly. And then on top of the hassle of debugging a dynamic language you also have the problem of trying to debug highly obfuscated JavaScript that's been machine compiled from a very different language.

That all said it's still a very fun language to program in. Nicely terse and a great way of expressing ideas. And the core of the code I've written works just as well in Clojure as ClojureScript. That means I can use the JVM REPL to develop and test. Which again is fun.

I've not done much, just got a THREE.js with JavaScript shell up and running and an environment where I can use Vim fireplace to evaluate code in the editor. Going to try and push on beyond setting up a development environment as that's often ended up being the point where I lose interest :D

Must admit though, if I ever ended up doing programming as a living again it'd be great to work in functional languages and in particular something with a lisp orientation.

Footclub

After successfully passing her exams (with a distinction!) My wife has started a reflexology practise. I've said I'd have a crack at here web site and need to do something for the logo. Luckily it's just thieving someone else's imagery as it her practise if called Foot Club. I just need to nick the Fight Club font and see what I can make with that.

Been messing around with Blender and might have a go rendering something out using that. Not really used a 3D package before and Blender has a kind of notoriety of being a bit of a difficult child. I had a quick try about and it doesn't seem all that terrible, feels like it'd actually be up to doing real work and seems to have a lot less of the awkward sharp corners of something like GIMP. Still it's hard because doing 3DFX is intrinsically tricky.

Games

An exciting week! Well it should be because of the first of the next gen consoles hitting the market here in the UK. What's actually got me excited is Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the 3DS. Got mine on Friday and need to have a go today. Kind of weird that the most exciting thing game-wise isn't the sparkly technology of brand new super consoles but a revisit of an old game on a hand-held system. Sign of the times :) Otherwise game time has been dominated by Charlie's new obsession with Minecraft on the X360.

It's a bit weird, we'd played it before but it never really clicked with him. He wouldn't touch the controller and at best would just bark out some back seat minecrafting orders. A week and a bit ago he asked out of the blue if he could play it again. Again a bit of back seat driving going during a morning session but I went to work, come back home and all of sudden he's flying around building all manner of stuff. It's great and a joy to see. I know it's sitting on his arse playing games but I'd also say it's an brilliant playground for the imagination in much the same way as Lego is.

Things I've Liked

  • Excellent Douglas Crockford interview on Hanselminutes I love this guy, curmudgeonly, bright and lots of great insights. Some brilliant stuff in here about the shadow now irrelevant technology can cast. You can get it here
  • Return of The Infinite Monkey Cage I cycle and run quite a bit so podcasts are pretty important to me and this one is always great. Brilliant that there's a new series on and that the BBC make it easily available. Ready for download here
  • Reading 59 seconds again I really like this book, a bunch of strategies you can employ that'll change your life! Sounds awful doesn't it? It is in a way but there's a lot of interesting stuff about behavioural changes having a deep impact on your emotional state. The interesting part is most of the claims derive from pretty well respected scientific psychological studies and those make a great read.

Next Week?

  • Keep up the exercise
    • Intervals / 40 minutes steady / 2 x 10m fast / 40 minutes steady
  • Keep at the ClojureScript, can I get something nicely interactive on screen?
  • Push on with Blender, holding page up for Suzie's footclub
  • A load of important work stuff. I mean this takes the priority but something I can't publicly blog about BUT includes signing two contracts. Woo!
comments powered by Disqus