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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ramping up and getting started

I haven't blogged in 4 days, which is weird because sometimes I feel like I want to blog multiple times each day. Of course, I know that such frequent updates can be really annoying (that is, it would be annoying if anybody actually read this blog), so I try to throttle it a little. Of course, now I've had a little bit of a dry spell, and I need to atone for that.

Google mailed out, to all of it's Summer of Code students, a book. That book, "Beautiful Code", contains a series of essays from famous programmers about what constitutes beautiful software. While this book was lambasted in one of the blogs I read regularly, I'm appreciative of the gift and will try to learn as much from it as I can.

Starting back in March, I was trying to get all my graduation-related paperwork in order for graduation this semester. As an aside, Temple's graduation ceremony was today, which means that I'm officially a graduate. There is a form on the graduate school's website called the "Graduation Plan". It was a checklist with degree requirements, blank lines where you write in the courses you took and the grades you got, and some lines for signatures. This form was provided as a download without any explanation, so I printed out a copy and went to inquire. I asked one professor, the department's graduate coordinator (and one of my thesis committee members) what the form was for. Do I need to fill this out, I asked. Who do I need to give this to?. He replied that I didn't need the form, it was book-keeping for my own records, and that I didn't need to have it signed or submitted. In April, I asked that same question again: Was he certain that I didn't need the form? Yes.

Yesterday I get a phone call at home from the professor: I do need the form signed and submitted, and it needs to be done ASAP. So, today I drive into the city with Geoff to sign it. Figures, doesn't it? One good side effect of this was that the form required me to manually calculate out my GPA, and I know now the exact number. I graduated magna cum laude, a GPA of 3.7. Part of me wants to take that number back to my old high school and rub it in a few faces. I need to go back to campus at least one more time, to pick up the bound copies of my thesis and distribute them to the necessary destinations. I dont know when they will be ready, I have to wait for a phonecall first.

I'm ramping up to get started on my GSoC project. I need to create an SVN branch where I can make my mistakes write my code without disturbing the rest of the project. I'm set up to write regular updates on various blogs:
  1. I'm going to post regular updates, probably daily, on use.perl. I may post some of the minutia here on blogger too, I'm not sure how i'm going to run things. I haven't posted any to this blog yet, so maybe tonight I'll post a short introduction.
  2. This is the "official" blog for the parrot project, although it's not a very active forum. I plan to post regular updates, probably weekly to coincide with weekly checkins and status reports. I don't want to flood this blog though, so I might need to throttle that down if more people aren't posting to it more regularly.
  3. This blog: I dont want to get into all the technical minutia here, but you can bet i'm going to post parrot-related updates to this blog as well. Since I try to limit my posting to one per day here, however, I won't post much Parrot stuff here if I have other stuff to talk about.
With all the blogging I'm going to be doing (and this doesnt even count the wikibooks- and wikimedia-related blogs that I run), it will be a miracle if I get any work done this summer at all! No, it won't be a big deal because I can usually write up a blog entry pretty quick, and the magic of copy+paste should solve many problems.

I've also been in regular contact with the recruiter, and I'm hoping that it bears some fruit for me eventually. Sooner is better then later, I think.


  1. I just looked up Parrot VM... how do you compile Javascript? I thought it's usually part of HTML documents and that it gets interpreted by the client's browser.

  2. Javascript, which is perhaps more appropriately called "ECMAScript" is an ordinary scripting language which has a number of uses. The fact that it's found it's most comfortable home inside the webbrowser is just a coincidence. Javascript can be used in a variety of other places, although off the top of my head I can only think of Microsoft's Windows Script Host.

    Much of the DOM API disappears when you take javascript out of the web browser, obviously. However, as a scripting language it's a full-featured turing-complete tool that people can use for ordinary scripting and programming tasks. If you combine it with the myriad libraries which are being developed for Parrot, it becomes a very useful tool indeed.


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