Programming Note

In the next week or two I am likely to step away from Whatever for several days for a personal project that will take place largely offline, i.e., you won’t see me here much if at all. When that happens you won’t notice any substantial change to the site, except a) very few posts, b) I am likely to disable commenting on new posts and put old posts on moderation, i.e., new comments will be sent into moderation and won’t appear until I have time to address them, which probably won’t be until the aforementioned project is completed. Don’t worry, I will remind people about this commenting change when it happens.

For the inevitable “what personal project?” questions, be aware it is not a euphemism for surgery or anything medical and/or sad like that, and that it is likely to involve at a guitar (at least). Beyond that, you’ll just have to wait until it is done for more details.

So there you have it. In the meantime, comment away as you usually do.

33 Comments on “Programming Note”

  1. Darn, I thought you meant “actual” programming. I thought we could compare notes as I’m doing the programming part of my lit review of “Using Bayesian Learning Algorithms to discover causal relations in multivariate Time Series”.

    Seriously, this is my life for the next 6 months.

  2. Scorpius:

    I am SO not competent to code. It’s something I think about learning every now and again, but if I do it I don’t want to half-ass it.

  3. I was wondering ‘which programming language,’ then oh, right, the guy has more to his life than this blog.

  4. I was going to make a ridiculous, yet harmless guess about what you’ll be up to, but then I reminded myself about the failure mode of clever. I’ll just say, “Have fun.”

  5. Hmmm. Personal project, involving guitar…the day after the churrocorn…can this end well? (I bet you could put harpstrings across the back loop of the churrocorn — maybe modeling after a dulcimer would be a better choice?)

  6. Would this be the place where I could ask a question about your process in respect to a very particular instance? In The Human Division, a diplomat who used to be a doctor tells someone “Jim, I’m a doctor, not a …” and my wife and I wanted to know how much of the story you had to change to put that line in there. I’m thinking that you changed “Jim”s name to Jim, but it’s possible that you set up the whole story around the line.. Thanks for your blog — even if you never answer the question.

  7. So: secret project, seclusion, and a guitar. We must speculate wildly! I propose it’s Scalzi’s answer to Chris Hadfield’s “Major Tom” video. Obviously, Scalzi won’t be in orbit (obviously!) – but I will note that it’s summertime in Antarctica. Diving equipment may be involved.

  8. There’s nothing wrong with half-assed coding, as long as you’re not planning to share it widely. My guitar playing is impressively half-assed for something I’ve been doing for four decades.

  9. Best of luck on your project, John.

    As for code, if you have the focus and sense for logical progression to write a novel, you shouldn’t have much problem writing code. Seriously. It’s more about logic and staying focused on details. Also, it helps to think like a detective when the bugs start popping up. You’d be great at it, I bet.

  10. I know! John Scalzi is going to meet up with other people, who also play the tenor guitar, and together they will preform Pointed Sister’s “I’m So Exited”, while dressed as Princess Leia! This is what I’ll believe until proven wrong – and even then, I might continue to believe it!

  11. Lets brainstorm and figure out what John is working on…

    1. Hired by the Church of Scientology to write them new Theology
    2. Hired by the NSA to infiltrate the World of Warcraft to hunt down terrorists (they actually do this)
    3. Going to North Korea with Dennis Rodman to hold a writers workshop for the communist party elite.
    4. Rehab
    5. Working on his doomsday bunker in preparation for the global icecaps melting.
    6. Training to climb Mt. Kilmanjaro
    7. Going on an African Safari to hunt lions with a spear
    8. Writing Twilight Fan fiction
    9. Botox Treatment
    10. Creating his own high intensity work out video for Beach Body starring SFWA members.
    11. Hair replacement surgery
    12. Brazilian
    13. Going on a silent retreat where he can’t speak or write or communicate with people for 3 weeks.
    14. Yankees are so desperate to replace A-Rod at 3rd Base, they invited John to spring training.
    15. Coaching the US Olympic Hockey team
    16. Recruiting Lebron James to come back to Cleveland by promising to name a character after him in his next book

  12. btw, I tried posting using my ipad last night. I hit post the page refreshed and nothing happened. I used to post with it in the past. For a little while I thought I was banned and was thinking what did I do?

  13. @scorpius and greg: John knows some HTML. If you can start with that you can learn to code if you want to. I got a degree in political science, never made it passed algebra 2 in math and then needed a job so I taught myself to code. It was a bitch. I was not smart enough to get a scholarship (or even get into ) the University of Chicago. I went to a 3rd tier college in Chicago (DePaul). So If I can do it anyone can.

    it was a bitch and took forever and there were times when I threw stuff because I got so confused.

    I actually now think coding is somewhat similiar to writing. When you first start to code just like when you first start to learn grammar you are concentrating on the structure and the syntax and the mechanics. After you do something for a while and work it, that fades to the background and you just know it. Then you work on the more creative parts.

    As I get older I am turning it a serious fuddy duddy about school. I think kids should be forced to take alot more math and science and most kids should be pushed to learn calculus in order to graduate. Before you get all up in arms, I used to work with a guy from Pakistan who took Linear Algebra in 10 th grade (this is typically taught after a year of calculus). He said he was not in an advanced class.

    These types of things have value added skills. You will probably not use the linear algebra, what you will use are the skills that you learned while learning to do this math. It will also make learning alot of other things easier. Its alot harder, but I think its important. I also think the worse you are at something the more you should get. If your good at grammar and bad at math you get more math. If you are good at math and bad at grammar you get more grammar. I think we do it backwards. School should be about teaching kids things they can’t do on their own.

    sorry john for taking this way off topic…

  14. My money’s on John attempting to break the Longest Free Bird Cover on a Tenor Guitar world record.

  15. I just hope no guitars will be harmed in the making of this personal project. Feel free to hurt as many trombones as you like though…

  16. Based on the guitar clue I’m going to guess he’s recording his part of the Extra Balls CD, one of the stretch goals for the Kickstarter campaign Paul and Storm ran last November and December. If so, this makes me happy since I get a copy of that CD.

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