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Recurse Center Week 6

This week I internet-launched my most recent major work, and spent some time wandering and playing with other things.


I spent the morning recording a demo and writing the post about MacVimSpeak. I also poked around getting set up to do some work in Scala, only to discover that apparently I have no Scala setup on my Air, and when I tried to download IntelliJ and it wanted me to downgrade my Java I was meh about that, and reconsidered my whole plan for Scala partying the next few weeks. I made a Scala environment on Cloud9, but I’m not sure about how quick I’ll be without worksheets and an IDE to yell at me when I do things like write Swift syntax when writing Scala.

In terms of prepping for a possible Scala project, I mentioned distributed systems to one friend, which of course led to me asking Jon Moore for distributed systems reading, and he gave me a good set of things to start with. Also here’s a cool visualization/example of consensus in distributed computing, h/t Kelly Campbell.

So in the afternoon, when I paired on Cryptopals, we did it in Scala on my pair’s machine. We did only the first challenge, and did it “the hard way” (because we interpreted the instructions that way … *shrug*) and converted from hex to bytes and then converted to base64 using bit shifting and drawing binary a lot to figure out what we were attempting to do. Pretty cool, although I don’t think posting the solution is in the Cryptopals spirit, so I won’t.


In the morning posted about MacVimSpeak to a forum I’m on, updated the landing page, and paired on a Swift iOS project with another Hacker Schooler. In the afternoon I attended Crypto club to discuss Zero-Knowledge Proofs, then migrated to visit New Work City for a Jelly and did the Docker tutorial while I was brainstorming on things I want to learn (and started this post). Browsing a digital library I have access to lead me to go hunt down the Recurse Center’s copy of Land of Lisp, and I started reading it.


In the spirit of “wandering until I found something that strikes my fancy” I spend much of Wednesday outside the Recurse Center. I went to a diner and read Land of Lisp for at least an hour while enjoying a vegan reuben and buying a pile of their day-old pastries. After a visit to a vegan cheese monger, I went to a vegan creperie and camped there for some hours drinking tea and eating a crepe and reading about Lisp in addition to setting up a Common Lisp environment to play.

The big news on Weds was the name change; Recurse Center is the new name for the programming enclave previously known as Hacker School. Many discussions ensued, but all I’ll say about is that I dig it and I appreciate everyone catching on pretty quickly 🙂


Crypto club met again on Thursday, so I did some reading about RSA in addition to my Lisp excursions. This was the last day for the Winter 2 batch, and so I spent some time saying bye to those I’ve grown closer too, especially since no one is from Philadelphia :/ I’m so excited to meet the new batch on Monday!


At first this week I was stressed (being in no-project land, or just-finished-a-thing land) but then I decided to stop worrying and learn to love the wandering (reference). I’m enjoying the wandering into the Land of Lisp, and hey, maybe I’ll even finish that book. Or maybe I’ll latch onto the Cryptopals challenges (full disclosure: I TOTALLY refer to crypto reading group as “the cryptopals”). Or maybe I’ll write a chording keyboard app, because I’ve been diversion-ing into that world today. It’ll work out.

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