1999 October 17

More notes from bootcamp

This is just going to be a dump of a whole bunch of short notes I've been meaning to write down.

I think I was not the first to finish problem set two, but I'm up there, anyway. Actually, I'm not quite finished; there are still a couple minor bugs I have left to fix. But last night I sort of ran out of motivation to fiddle with them. I'll go into Cambridge to the ArsDigita house and finish them up today.

If anybody is amused by this kind of thing, you can now make reservations for fictitious rooms at student92.bootcamp.arsdigita.com/reserve/

. . .

An unexpected talent

LifeSimple (the bootcamp site) has an air hockey table. Kind of a funky one, actually, with bumpers at center ice and two goals at each end (in the corners). A number of us -- Paul, Ken, Davi, Justin and I in particular -- have taken to playing when we need a break.

I am surprised to discover that I am the reigning champion. I went 15-1 yesterday.

. . .


Took Jason along to meet Michael and Nomi and Elka on Sunday. Fun evening -- we had kosher Chinese (which is a lot like regular Chinese except there's no pineapple pork on the menu) and yakked about whatever it is we always talk about when I'm with the Bursteins. Well, except for Gilbert and Sullivan. That never came up.

Random story: turns out Michael happened to decide to finally go visit the Kennedy house (which is in his neighbourhood) the day JFK Jr went down in his plane, and got stuck rather unwillingly on TV as a spokesman for the mourners.

. . .

I went into Somerville Monday evening and played Seafarers with Matt and two of his friends, Caryn and Marek. Was a very good game -- Caryn and I were both very close to winning when I had to leave to catch the subway home.

Matt lives in a neat neighbourhood near Davis Square. You get to walk the Minuteman Trail (a converted rail line) from the T stop to his place, which is particularly cool with all the leaves in colour.

Observations from the train

I had good karma on the T on Monday -- I went through turnstiles three times, and every one of them waved me through without paying. Well, the first and the third did: the second just had a gate propped open with a sign "gone to the bathroom". The coincidence got to be enough that I started looking around for any sign that it was a fare holiday or something of the sort, but other people seemed to be paying.

I'm not exactly sure what to make of it. If this is supposed to be a cosmic reward, it must have been for something pretty small, because I saved a whole $2.55 on the day. Maybe I should have tried to travel farther to get proper benefit from the event.

. . .

When you take the commuter rail into Boston's South Station, you pass a gigantic warehouse with a neon sign a hundred yards long.


. . .

It turns out there are two versions of the southbound Red Line in Boston's subway system, one going to Braintree and another which forks off and goes to Ashmont. If you get on the Braintree train, everybody's white. If you get on the Ashmont train, everybody's black. I found that to be a somewhat depressing observation.


ArsDigita's main office is currently an old house in Cambridge. There's hardwood floors and sort of crooked walls and all the rooms are occupied by tables with huge monitors on them. I've spent the day working in their attic, which is really nifty -- everything's white and maple and there are huge skylights in the ceiling.

I finished my problem set an hour or so ago, at least as far as required functionality is concerned. (The minor bugs turned out to be hiding a rather ugly bit of logical swamp, and took a lot longer to fix than I anticipated. But I'm done now.) I could easily keep fiddling with it forever -- certainly there are lots of obvious things I could do with the code to make it more useful in real life -- but that's not what we were asked to do, and I'm going to save my energy for the next project. Two weeks down and still one to go is going to be a bit of a test of stamina. (I'm not worried about it -- this is cake compared to finishing my thesis, but then I worked myself literally sick doing that. No prizes for that here, I don't think.)

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