Summer in the City

Slab City Blues

Slab City Blues

It’s August again, and as per every year so far I’ll be spending it in the city. Last year I decided August would be a meeting free month, most people are off anyhow, and in the european tradition August is the time when we expect to be free of the minutia.

This year however, my 4-6 weeks of summer will be devoted to code; getting back to my roots. While many HCI people come from Psyc, I’m firmly from CS / SE stock and my natural tendency is to solve by building.

This year I’ve 4 things I’m trying to accomplish:

  • Learn the ‘go‘ language. I’ve been interested in these niche languages for quite a while, and I want to evaluate how go compares to c and c++ while also investigating if it has a enough libraries to be useful;
  • See how I feel myself about continuous integration and test driven development, especially in the light of some of the great and code in artisan programming deciding that it isn’t the silver bullet it was once though to be;
  • Build ‘search-gear’ (thanks to the excellent ‘Slab-City‘ novels for that term) which allows me to continually look for search terms and changes in found pages, while removing noise from sources I’m interested in. There are a number of reasons I’d like this, one being that back in the day (circa 1997) Symantec made a suite of utilities to register changes in web pages under investigation and provided a meta-search engine application. With the advent of ‘push’, RSS, and google these applications where deemed obsolete, but now with a move from push/RSS to twitter and with an expansion of search engines, I think the time has come for a fresh look. I’m certainly finding the need for these myself now, after-all when will I know the next Slab City Blue novella is out? Hum I ask you; and finally,
  • As an experiment in ‘Open Notebook Science‘. I intend to blog about all of this day-to-day and make the repository open so others can make use of it, do better than me (shouldn’t be hard) and comment / give me tips as I go (pun intended).

So why isn’t this a traditional HCI project? Well because if it was the HCI would divert me from learning the things I want to learn and move then to just be a conduit for and HCI experiment.

So lets be at it!


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