Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy 5605!

Vienna Teng has a new album out -- Aims -- which I confess I haven't listened to in its entirety yet. But the video for the song "Level Up" is really lovely.

It's really a New Years sort of song, in a way. Letting go of fear, moving forward, leveling up. She has always been a great writer of optimistic, hopeful songs (the Atheist Christmas Carol is another favorite of mine). It feels like an appropriate way to start off a year where we will be returning to the United States, settling into a new life, new house, new city, new jobs, new schools, moving to the next stage, whatever it may be.

Somewhat apropos, lately I've been missing coding. Strange, I know. I did a lot of programming in grad school. And I mean, a lot. But that was years ago and my life has been flooded by mental challenges of a different nature in the years since -- writing, learning spanish, raising kids. For me, debugging code has always had a kind of meditative quality that only writing comes close to. With code you can keep iterating until you get it just right, just how it ought to be. Within the realm of the computer you can make something perfect, exactly matching the vision in your head. How many other parts of your life can you say that about? I've made a lot of mediocre dinners where I wished I could have debugged and re-compiled them them after the first draft. Alas.

So I thought I would learn a new language. In my grad school days everything I did was C or shell scripting on a linux platform, but I've been hearing people gush about python for years so I thought I would give it a whirl. (Also doing this with half an eye for entering the job market this coming year, so if anyone has any recommendations for the hot new language to learn, let me know.) And yep, python is very pretty, like shell scripting but more elegant without all the ugly awk/grep kludges you usually need.

Anyway, the first script I wrote in python was for calculating numbers in bases other than base 10. Which is a long way of saying, Happy 5605 (base 7)! It's going to be a totally crazy year, no avoiding it!

No comments: