Something New and the Same Old Problems

So this post is going to be a pretty random collection of thoughts, but here goes.

Basically, I desperately need a new personal project on which to work over the summer.  Last time that I only had 8 hours of obligations per day, I binged far too many episodes of TV on Netflix, and the time before that I went to the gym a lot, still binged TV, and played Kerbal Space Program like no tomorrow.  Therefore, this time I want to have something to keep me occupied that actually accomplishes something.  There are definitely a few quality candidates:

  • Program a mobile app for reimbursements from MIT
  • Program something to control LED light strips
  • Make a library for systems engineering

Some of those involve adding more programming languages to my arsenal like Kotlin, Swift, or Rust which is good.  So that led me to thinking about my current development environment.  If I could draw a diagram of my workflow, pretty much everything goes through Github’s Atom at some point or another.  Latex, Python, and Julia are pretty much all I need currently, and they all are written up in Atom.  This has led me to installing way too many Atom extensions.  I don’t have a solution for this yet, but if anyone has ideas, let me know.  There will certainly be a post dedicated to the solution if I find one.

Then I considered my OS situation, whether Windows was worth another look or not yet.  It really just isn’t.  It’s a sign of the times when Windows starts hacking in an Ubuntu userspace (and now Fedora and Suse!) just to appease the rapidly growing number of developers trained on Unix and open source tools that just won’t put up with the stodginess of Windows.  Windows has a very nonfunctional command line which is incredibly annoying for people who work on the command line literally every single day.  Secondarily, Windows 10 has these really stupid pop-up notifications for every little service Microsoft could possibly sell to you which is just plain infuriating.  It’s like “I didn’t pay $100 for this OS just to get harassed about buying/using more of your software”.  This problem alone has been enough to keep me away from Windows for some time now.

I guess I’m now just more used to Ubuntu or Fedora than I am with Windows.  I’m comfortable using Google Docs or Latex to do my Office-type stuff.  I’m very content with the selection of games that support Linux right now (though the frame rates could be better on some).   I like that I know a lot about what’s really happening in the background.  I like the knowledge that my file system (aka how your computer keeps track of files) is bleeding edge state-of-the-art, faster, easier to back up, and not something that’s been strung along and had new features bolted on since the late 90’s.  However, it really comes back to the command line problem.  I use tools essentially every day that require me to compile something or remote access some server or download some file from MIT’s systems that are just infinitely easier to do on Linux or Mac than on Windows.  There are countless times where I used programming languages and nifty programs that are downright clunky/impossible to use on Windows to solve a problem that would have been much harder on Windows.  On the other hand, perhaps Windows would be good for my grades here because I hate using it so much, that way I would avoid procrastinating on my computer and just finish whatever I had to do then.  I guess that will have to stay a theory for know however, because currently there are more games/distractions available on Windows than Linux.

Lastly, I just really hope finals go well.  My midterms in all of my 12-unit classes went badly, and I just hope that doesn’t tank my grades overall.  I need to pull together a decent semester here, or else things will continue to be a little bit tense on the GPA front.  Unfortunately I’ve kinda set myself up horrendously, haven’t studied enough, and have a Unified final on Monday.  Why. Have. I. Done. This. Again.  Honestly, I’m feeling like an idiot here, but whatever, I guess things will just happen.  Who needs a GPA anyway?

Thoughts on the Last Day of Psets

Written over yesterday, scheduled to post in the morning

Well, it happened.  It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination (in fact it was one of my sadder days at MIT), but I got through it, mostly intact, I think.

Today, I was distinctly missing a certain friend that would usually be around when this sort of stuff was going down.  I’m not sure what’s up with that person, but I’m also not optimistic that it’ll work itself out.   I talked to my sister today (yay!), and in describing it I realized what I was worried about.  “I don’t doubt that things will get back to normal, but I’m just not sure that he/she will be a part of that normal anymore.”  And that’s unfortunate, but inevitably things *have* to go back to normal.  I can’t mourn that friendship for the rest of time, and at some point I will barely remember it happened, just like the previous times a friendship on mine went down in flames.  However, for the time being, I will be a little sad about it.

Some random happenings from this last week:

One of the creators of the Julia programming language answered my Stack Exchange question!  It was a random thing about making a wrapper type for something, and the answer wasn’t super exciting (essentially there’s not an easy way to do it), but it was really cool that one of the language creators got back to me within an hour of my question.

I got to code a little bit for Unified.  Right now, Julia is a bit like having Mjölnir but nothing to hit with it.  I really should find a project worth working on, but I haven’t because I don’t have awesome ideas for what to code right now.

I’m really looking forward to JPL this summer, and all that’s standing in my way now are four finals that will probably kick my butt.  Hopefully my GPA doesn’t suffer overly much, but I suppose we’ll find out.



This week’s recommended reading:

Uber feeling the hurt of the Waymo *cough* Alphabet *cough* Google lawsuit:

Nvidia’s V100 unveiled and stock price soaring:

NASA SLS struggles:



Hello World!

Hi everyone!

This is the first post of (hopefully many) on this new blog that I’ve decided to take upon myself.  This blog will be strictly focused on nothing in particular which is to say that whatever happens to be on my mind is what you will see here.

I don’t have a whole bunch of time now to write, but hopefully this will see some more of my time soon.

~ JM