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June 2022 In Review

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June 2022 is no more—this marks yet another midpoint of yet another year. June is traditionally a month filled with exam/master thesis/course project preparation and grading work. It’s the first time I’ve seen students' Android/Kotlin projects as this was the first year we’ve taught the heavily revised course ourselves, and I must say I’m quite impressed with most works. It’s only a small course (3 ECTS) and very practical, but the Android development lifecycle system combined with Kotlin’s new syntax ensures the challenge level stays high. A few classic cases of whoops-I-started-too-late-and-got-swamped-with-other-assignments aside, the results were encouraging enough to continue the trend for the next academic year.

The quick overseas excursion to ElixirConfEU was also the first hybrid conference which I attended physically and the first programming-oriented conference that wasn’t rooted in academia where I’d need to prepare a presentation for my own research. It was refreshingly laid-back, and we’ve had great fun exploring London the day(s) after. This month, July, brings the ITiCSE conference (Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education), where I won’t be able to go to in person, and I will have to present something. Oh well. Back to work.

Previous month in review: May 2022.

Books I’ve read

A heavyweight and a quickie this time:

  • Imajica by Clive Barker. A seven hundred pages thick classic fantasy novel that manages to cover and somehow successfully combine topics such as religion and sex. A lot more of the latter that I didn’t expect coming from such a genre. Imajica has another semi-sequel, but I think I’m good for now. The last three hundred pages were a drag and I just wished it to be over but had to read on to find out how Barker concludes this epic adventure.
  • The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp. An insightful and practical book on Tharp’s life as a dancing choreographer that was less about creativity than I thought it would be. It comes across as very demanding: give it your passion, your all, or otherwise, no creativity for you. I’m not sure whether that’s true. I’m trying to link back my notes to creativity in software development but struggle with identifying interesting sections.

Games I’ve played

The Game Boy cart craze has cooled down a bit but I’m still far from done. Speaking of handheld gaming: The Evercade EXP device was announced recently, a much more polished version compared to the cheap plasticy look and awful screen the first machine shipped with. Too bad they didn’t come up with this as the first iteration.

Selected (blog) posts

  • Programming as teaching by Mikel Evins (Thanks Brit). Programming approached as carpentry versus as teaching, very insightful.
  • Is Every Game of Slay the Spire Winnable? by Forgotten Arbiter (thanks Roy). The blog contains more great Slay the Spire deep dives, such as a dissection of achievements and how to efficiently harvest them.
  • Cycling through All The Streets in Central London by Davis Vilum (thanks Linus). I love this and aim to replicate it in my hometown; but I first have to settle with a technology—or write something myself. Of course.
  • Reinforcement Learning with PyBoy by Pedro Alves and Andreas Høiberg Eike (Thanks Simon). Use the Python-powered PyBoy emulator in conjunction with machine learning to train the AI to finish the first level of Super Mario Land and Kirby’s Dreamland.
  • My friend Daniel Graziotin migrated his blog I need coffee to use Obsidian’s export functionality!
  • Misconceptions of the 10x engineer by Ben S. Kuhn. There’s always much more that meets the eye, and Ben offers some insights and examples.
  • Charlotte Reed’s backstory on her work “May the Thoughts Be With You”. I encountered her at her stall on the Notting Hill market, and her journey is pretty amazing. Of course I bought a book.
  • How to Stop LinkedIn’s Toxig Algorithmic Manipulation by Luis Suarez. Conclusion? Quit LinkedIn and kill it with fire.
  • Data Race Patterns in Go by Milind Chabbi and Murali Krishna Ramanathan. Exceptionally detailed (they even published a paper based on this) and exceptionally scary: yet more proof that parallelism with Go isn’t that simple.
  • Stop Using forEach! by Dan Prince. The more you look into it, the more you’ll agree: JavaScript and its standard are a cesspool.
  • A decade of dotfiles by Evan Hahn.

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I'm Wouter Groeneveld, a Brain Baker, and I love the smell of freshly baked thoughts (and bread) in the morning. I sometimes convince others to bake their brain (and bread) too.

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