Hacker School, Monday, July 21st, 2014

The first overlapping batch started on Monday, and it was wonderful to meet yet another wave of new interesting people. I feel extremely privileged to be in such company every day. I also feel lucky, because I have sometimes fantasised about being a facilitator here so that I could experience the process of welcoming new people, and helping them settle in. I feel responsible in a positive way for sharing what I have learned and for being an effective community member here, even more acutely than I do with my fellow "seconds". If you are a new HaScher, please don't hesitate to ask me anything!

In the morning I focused on re-writing the Protagonist design Documentation-First. I felt good about that, and rather than moving straight on to the tests, I decided to switch focus.

Just before my crazy-busy weekend, I had written to Aaron Bull Schaefer. Aaron has written a couple of very helpful posts about beginning programming in Factor, and his website expresses that he is open to communication. So I wrote and asked him if he had any recommendations for someone in my position who understands the basic concepts, but doesn't know how to write idiomatic code. Basically, I need examples to study. He sent me a handful of great resources.

One of them was a link to Project Euler solutions written in Factor by the original developer of Factor, Slava Pestov. I looked at his solutions for problem 1, of which there are 5. This was enormously helpful, because it demonstrates what some of the cool-looking words in the language can really do. My excitement in Factor is renewed.

The other thing I did on Monday was to open up an org file just for Hacker School projects. The start of the overlap made a clear demarcation of the halfway point, and made me want to reassess. I wrote down the 3 things I would most like to work on for the rest of my time here, and worked out how long it might take to complete subtasks if I continue to focus on them. This made me happy, because I could see that my time wasn't up, and that some modest goals are still feasible. Those 3 projects were: developing Protagonist, writing my own Latent Dirichlet Allocation code, and learning more Factor. I have learned to be open to change, but that doesn't preclude having goals.

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