[personal profile] flowerhack
I decided I'd like to try and blog every day while I'm at Hacker School. This will make my blog updates a bit spammier than I normally like, but it also seems like a fun way for me to track my own progress and share what I'm up to with various interested parties, so!

Mostly the morning was getting oriented, meeting people, checking out the space, snooping the bookshelf, and so on... I also needed to get myself sorted out, since I still hadn't 100% decided what I wanted to tackle, haha.

I sat down, made a list that was way too long, shuffled it around and narrowed it down and so on, and decided that the two big things I want to focus on while I'm here are:
  • Write a kernel! (Or maybe try and submit a patch / do some hacking on an existing kernel; I'm not sure yet!)

  • Do cool visualizations of Cornell's eBird dataset using D3 or Ember or one of those fancy JS framework things! (Maybe even pick up some actual front-end engineering skills in the process!)
But besides that, there's a bunch of smaller stuff I'd like to poke at in-between when I've got spare cycles:
  • Set up Arch Linux!

  • Work through SICP!

  • Finish that Python implementation of Raft that I started like eight hundred years ago

  • Also finish Name That Bird and Dumphonia, which are my "lol let's hook APIs together in the laziest way possible" projects

  • Matasano's Cryptochallenges

  • Matasano's Embedded Security CTF

  • Try beating Stripe's CTF1 and/or CTF2

  • PixelStitch, i.e. "I want to generate cross-stitch patterns from the command line, because none of the other cross stitch patterns do quiiite what I want and they're all closed source sigh," and I think getting a basic version of this running would be semi-trivial using ImageMagick and all that

  • submit patches to a couple more webdev-y OSS projects I've had my eye on for a while
I'm pretty bad at sticking to plans, though, so we'll see how long these last, haha.

Anyway. I'd meant to download the eBird data in advance of Hacker School so I could play with it right away, but since the place I'm staying in New York unexpectedly has catastrophically bad internet, I wound up downloading it this morning. When I untarred that ~6gig file, though, it wound up, uh, somehow exploding to fill literally all the remaining space on my hard drive and failed due to being out of memory, because apparently 60 free gigs weren't enough. Eep. Either the eBird dataset is really large when uncompressed, or there's something funky going on here. I suspect maybe something funky's going on, since the various README-ish files included with the download failed to untar due to an "unknown error", and since the smaller dataset available for download (which contains only event sampling data) untarred with no problems and no significant size explosions.

I did some preliminary investigative work to figure out what was up with my weird tar file, but by then, it was getting close to the end of the day and I really wanted to get some code written, so I started tackling some Matasano Crypto Challenges, which I've started before but never gotten very far with. But now I totally have time to get farther :D

I got some great ideas from other Hacker Schoolers about how to deal with the weird tar file, while we were on our way to Crista Lopes's (really cool!) talk, so tomorrow I think I'll try out some of those ideas, and if those don't work out, I'll just go on and get started with the smaller dataset that doesn't seem determined to suck up every last bit of storage on my hard drive :)