Day 2 of Recurse Center has ended. Phew…. Hmm…. Where do I start? We’ll take it from the morning.

I came in around 8:40 AM today. I wanted to accomplish a lot and I knew I had to come in before the crowd to do real work without having fight off the temptation to socialize.

By the time I got a desk spot, got situated, made my tea and said hello to those that were around, it was 9AM-ish. I started by continuing my studying of ML and Functional Programming and went until check ins. I then tuned into the Zulip community and tried my best squash all the popups and skim the various conversations. I came across Zulip convo with Mudit & Lyn wanting to pair on React and told them I was interested.

Pair Programming with Lyn & Mudit

Mudit, Lynn, and I ended up spending nearly 2 hours going over an instant messaging program Lyn created. The program was written in ES6, the latest version Javascript, which no browser supports yet. I asked Lyn how she’s running ES6 code if no browser supports it and I learned that Lyn is using the Babel transpiler with the Gulp build system. Lyn then explained that she’s organizing the React frontend code using the Flux architecture. React doesn’t force you to organize your code in anyway so the user has the flexibility to do what they want. Flux is Facebook’s client side code organization suggestion and it seems like a good place to start. So far React + Flux is amounting to a Angular/EmberJS/Backbone/etc style MV* front-end framework to me.

I’ve discovered that Mudit is really knowledgeable about JS and React. As we were going through the code, we were refactoring things and asking some serious about the way ES6. It was also really neat to explore ES6. I have a side project now that I want to refactor to use React, but not ES6. Mudit he wouldn’t feel comfortable using ES6 transpiled to ES5 for a production project…

Lunch with RC Residents Neha & Grzegorz

Lyn, Mudit, and I were pretty exhausted from our pairing sessions and wanted to get lunch now. Most people had already left for lunch at this point of the day. But we then spent more time draining ourselves by trying to choose a place to go to. We were trying to maximize Yelp stars and minimize Yelp dollar signs. This took about 30 minutes.. Ok probably not 30 minutes but it felt like forever…

We eventually decided to go to Zest. Jesse saw getting ready to go somewhere and joined us. Then Neha and Grzegorz joined us as well and we decided to take off. It was an approx 15 minute walk Zest but it felt even shorter because we had great conversations along the way. I noticed that we formed 2 groups of 3 people each and then 3 groups of 2 people each and even a 2 people and 4 people group. The mixing that was taking place was pretty interesting.

When we got to the restaurant we wanted to pick something up and get back. But then we persuaded by the sit-down nature of Zest and decided to stay. I think we all felt a little guilty inside because we thought were losing productivity. But I’m glad we sat down. In retrospect it was probably lunch yet at RC.. granted it’s only my 2nd lunch at RC… :/

Somehow during our conversation I came to say that I use to live in Atlanta and then Grzegorz added that he also use to live in Atlanta. Grzegorz used to intern at Google over there. I told him I’ve been to the Google office in Atlanta a year or two ago. Apparently the Google office in Atlanta is now shutdown. Grzegorz said they were consolidating them.

When Grzegorz came to intern at Google-Atlanta one of the managers, who didn’t even want a summer intern, saw a european intern and said they have to work with me on Scala related things. It then turned out that Grzegorz’s manager at Google, Lex Spoon and Scala’s creator, Martin Odersky, worked together in the past. Spoon recommended that Odersky recruit Grzegorz to his lab. Grzegorz was already in a masters program and so Grzegorz & Odersky worked out a way for Grzegorz to work on his thesis with Odersky’s supervision.

It’s interesting how things connect with Grzegorz, Spoon, the creator of Scala, Atlanta, and me.

Neha explained to us how networking in Academia is sort of composed of pods. You essentially have people at this university and that university, this company and that company. Academics have a ‘distributed’ click of people doing work on the frontiers of interesting subjects.

There was a lot discussed in our group of 6. Our round trip time for the lunch was approx 2 hours. This just may have been the longest lunch I’ve had in a long time. When I came back I realized that I missed out on the Go session by Aditya and the Cryptography presentation. Ergg, I’ll make it next time.

After Lunch

After lunch I tried to squash Zulip messages. Long story short here are the results,

Zulip: +1 Me: -1

Instead I tried to focus on private messages and then see what is of interest.

At this point I started working through the Go tutorial. I watched everyone in Hopper soaking up knowledge and loathed myself because I couldn’t be at 2 places at once… Sigh… such is life…

I didn’t get to finish the Go tutorial and I jumped into Neha’s talk on Paxos. The talk was very intense. I should confess that I went into it without having read the papers on Paxos nor completed the Go tutorial. Luckily Neha said she’ll be doing a repeat of the session on Thursday for those couldn’t make it due to a full room for the first session. I’m going to have to attend the second round because I want to make sure I understand this algorithm thoroughly.

I started reading the Zulip chatbot source code. It’s in Python and it was rather interesting. Beni had an issue that I was going to help him with but he figured it out and closed it. We talked about refactoring this code. Maybe we/I can do this sometime later on. I’ve yet to hack on something or write a significant amount of code.. but then again it’s only 2nd day here at RC…

Move Night and Beyond

We had movie night at 7:30 PM and we watched Citizen Four. Personally I voted for Big Hero 6. My reasoning for voting for Big Hero 6 is after a long day of programming/hard-work, I want to unwind and relax. Citizen Four doesn’t help you chillax… But it was a great, creepy kind of movie. I thought it was well done.

I think we could have benefited a lot from watching a serious movie if we would have followed it up with meaningful conversation. Tonight we were exhausted and most people wanted to leave.

Nonetheless some of us did manage to have a small convo about the movie which then evolved into a more interesting, transparent conversation on careers, consulting, jobs, the past and the future….

I think I’ve rambled on a lot here… Night… Till next time…