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No Excuses

Wow, this has been the longest silence on this blog in a long time.

I can’t justify it with lack of time either. Interning at Dropbox takes up all of my weekdays, but my weekends are much freer than I’m used to. I carelessly let two weeks at home in Taiwan pass by without doing much about blogging, and once again a lot of my few blog drafts have drifted into the temporally awkward zone, being too far away from the events they are about.

Neither is it for lack of things happening. At MIT, there was the Senior House turnaround and freshman moratorium. I can’t even begin to sum up the discussion around this issue, but I think the best response I’ve read is this open letter. Then there’s the official Senior House response. But that’s enough links, since I imagine the chances that this issue is relevant to you and you’d need this blog to link you to them if you’re reading this are pretty low. (Then again, the chances that you’re reading this are already pretty low. Although the chances you‘re reading this right now is 100%.)

Then there was the Orlando shooting of Christina Grimmie and nightclub shooting, which I even more probably don’t need to link to. I will just say that Vi Hart made this video and I watched it a couple times.

And finally, Brexit happened, which affects the most people but which I understand the least. Well, I do want to note that it seems lots of people are reading unreasonably much into the Google Trend about UK searches for “What is the EU?”

People seized on this as evidence that British voters didn’t know what they were voting for, but I don’t think it shows that at all, for a lot of reasons…

  1. The query is a very simple question; its search count will be exaggerated relative to more complicated queries, which might be phrased in slightly different ways that won’t get aggregated.
  2. Googling that question doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t know what the EU is; it might just be how you interact with Google and get a list of information or different opinions about the EU.
  3. The searches could come from children or tourists or others who couldn’t vote and only decided to learn about the referendum after it passed and started mattering. Even a few of these people could make the question rank highly; the ranking doesn’t have any absolute numbers.
  4. Why am I making this list. This takedown, Stop Using Google Trends, has far more details and is more entertaining anyway.

This is your every-so-often dose of unnecessary current events recapping. You are now all caught up. If you are reading this blog as your primary news source… stop doing that.

(And finally finally on a personal note, I didn’t make Google Code Jam World Finals, so I can put that aside, and maybe at some point put out the blog draft about last year online rounds…)

The question remains in the air, though; why haven’t I blogged?

I spent a long time listing a bunch of excuses and then deleting them. (I kept the above non-excuses because this post needs to have something in it.) I don’t have a good reason; the closest I can come is to say, it’s like I’m living a new life in a new place to a new schedule, a life that I haven’t integrated blogging into the flow of yet, and this post is actually part of that integration process.

So the commitment device returneth! Expect one post every weekend until my internship ends.

Signal Boost

(Short blog content, posted as part of a daily posting streak I have openly committed to; standard disclaimers apply)

For the interested, I wrote a post summarizing issues in copyright and patent law on a new blog for a school club. Actually, if you’re reading this post, you’re probably already interested enough / bored enough to read that post, so go read it. I think the videos are worth watching despite their length, but I tried to summarize the key points in text, so decide how much to read or watch depending on how much spare time you have.

I don’t know if that blog will work out, but anyway WordPress tells me I have 8500% more followers on this blog than the other one, even though I have doubts about how many of those followers actually read anything I post at all, so I thought I should link to that post here. Also, by publicizing the blog, I get to shame my friends and fellow club members into posting so that it doesn’t look so empty. Social media expertise, you know?

If I had any sense of foresight, I’d have ordered a bunch of EFF or Creative Commons pins or stickers or something to sell, to actually leave people with an impression, and also leave myself with something cool to stick on my next laptop. But I don’t and I didn’t. Oh well.

Darn.

Maybe I should try to prepare for things it is actually early enough to prepare for now. Like the Calculus II and Linear Algebra exams I will probably be taking in one and a half months. Or the next five weeks of daily blog posts.

(Wow I just realized that is a lot of blog posts.)

Gridderface 0.5

Okay, I give up. Here it is: Gridderface is a (quoting the project description, which I wrote anyway so whatever) “keyboard inferface for marking grid-based puzzles in Java” that I’ve been working on for too long. It is open-source under the GPL v3.

Basically, it’s a thing you can paste logic puzzle images into to solve them in, like people do in Paint, when you can’t or don’t want to print them. As the description explained, it’s meant to be used in a very keyboard-intense way, because I’m that kind of guy. Also, I get a lot of time the computer without either a printer or a mouse, and drawing things (particularly e.g. numbers in Fillominos) on trackpads sucks. Still, the mouse is perhaps usable.

I should be very clear that I have no idea how this writing-and-releasing-software thing works. At a somewhat arbitrary version of 0.5, Gridderface is (currently) far from stable and very crudely designed; I reserve the right to drastically redesign or change the interface. I guess I wanted to get the program to a more polished state before telling anybody it existed, but I decided that given my procrastination tendencies, that would be a moving goalpost I’d never reach.

I am working on a long, rambling post that contains some thoughts on programming and this project, but I want to keep this post snappy, and get it out before I start procrastinating again.