Friday December 14th
What I’m Looking for
I hung out with my mentor last night
- Went to the San Gabriel Valley Linux User Group and saw a presentation by the inventor of the Microduino. This group (SGVLUG) is typically about anything open-source. The lady who organizes the group, Lan, also works for JPL, but I knew her before she worked there, and she’s been so incredibly kind to me. I don’t imagine in my mind that I’ve been a part of the open source community before Google Summer of Code, but I have actually been a part of this very Meetup for about two years, and I have volunteered for SCALE for the past two years (SCALE is the Southern California Linux Expo). I guess I’ve always considered it just helping my friends and being a part of the community. They’re like family to me.
They were the first place I found out about PGP KeySigning parties and learned about Hackaday. The Open Source community and the hackerspace community were some of the first places I looked when I was curious about tech in LA, combined with other computer science Meetups like PWL. The people in the hacker community are very much my friends and supporters.
The story of Microduino is an incredible story. It’s an incredible story because he took the path of entrepreneurship when all of his peers were going to companies after pursuing their Master’s. But he had this dream of making this board, which was started as a Kickstarter project, and received over 600% of the expected support.
On the way back, my friend/ mentor from JPL started talking and he said something that really resonated with me. He said when he used to teach Computer Science and Mathematics, he would tell them that if they’re not too busy changing jobs every two years, they might want to write code that they could read ten years from now (in terms of documentation, readability, maintainability), so that they wouldn’t have to spend hours reverse engineering it. He also said that the most important thing is not writing code quickly, or writing many lines of code, but about a code base’s life-cycle. Is it usable? Is it efficient? What is its lifetime? That resonated so much with me.
- It came up because I was telling him that I want to have a career in places (or a place) where people care about the quality of their code, and where they think before writing code. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. Rather than just picking a company because of its name, it’s really about a culture fit and a value fit.
I’m going sailing tomorrow!
- Yipee! I had a sailing Christmas party this past week. It was splendid! The sailing community cares so much about craftsmanship. I ended up going to sleep at 1:30 that day (yes, in the morning), and then getting up at 4 am to go to work. I was so tired I took a rest during the day for 5 minutes during my lunch break, and ended up turning off my computer by accident. Whoops. My friend and I were chatting, and he said “I wondered where you had gone for five minutes”. Too funny.
I also won a raffle ticket!
My hackerspace raffled off two free tickets to AppSecCali! I was bulk-deleting my email (I subscribe to the trac tickets from GHC, various github repos of interest and Haskell-Cafe, etc), and a second after the messages left my Inbox, I could have sworn I saw one that said “congratulations”. I fished it out of my bin and sure enough, it said “Congratulations. Here is the code for your free ticket”. I am super stoked!
There are some really interesting talks on container/VM security and browsers. Plus, lock-picking and all of that great stuff, too! Hackers are just really fun, great people, and intellectually curious, so I always have a good time! They also tend to have a low tolerance for BS, in general, so when I’ve needed solid advice, I really can’t go wrong asking someone from the hacker community, or someone who came from that world. They tend to be very direct and won’t sugar-coat.
One last thing
I saw that I am eligible to submit an abstract for a poster for the MSRI workshop. I don’t know if I will, but I’d at least like to try. It’s also a great exercise for something like ICFP (even though for Undergrad, ICFP doesn’t allow only one undergrad to submit; it has to be at least two persons, I believe).
I have a sailing party to go to on Sunday afternoon, too! Oh, and one last thing; I was able to submit all 9 of my applications for graduate school by December 13th. So now, I’m pretty much just waiting until mid-February. My professors really pulled through, and I’m really happy. So…I guess we’ll see!
And that’s about it!
- I have this dream within the next year, that I’ve been thinking about, of getting into chess. My dad and I used to play when I was younger, and I’d like to pick it back up again. I seem to like the solitary (but team-related) activities like sailing and chess haha. So I’d say if I had a “goal” for next year for self-improvement (other than Haskell, grad school, getting better in general, yadda yadda), that would be it. To get back into playing chess. It’s actually not too difficult, either, because a lot of that is online (that didn’t really exist when I was growing up). So maybe I’ll integrate it into my schedule somehow for the year, even if it’s once a week or something.