Keep Working, Worker Bee!


It appears as though people are paying attention to the speed dating study, much more than they did to the freshman dating study of a couple years ago. That article is actually the second that ran in the Daily Northwestern about our little project; the first was some guy's column. It was funnier, though this one was more informative about what the project is actually about. Reading these articles it becomes clear exactly how weird my own perspective on the project is: as far as I'm concerned, the actual speedily-dating-people part of the project is pretty much incidental, just a way of knowing when to roll events over into new phases.

Actually, as of last night all the speed dating is over, and as of tonight every match has been announced. Tomorrow at 5 the last group of daters will get rolled into the followup, and then the project will be all over but the data collectin'. The problem with real data collection is mostly that people want to do weird things that totally screw up your nice models; no you can't fill out the intake survey after you do your matches because I didn't think of that and it doesn't make any sense anyway. Computers don't allow you to bend the rules and neither do I. Hrmph. (We've had to deal with a couple rule-benders. It's been annoying.)

On an unrelated note: how cool is this? In SLIME, as in DrScheme, esc-p in the REPL pulls up the previous expression you evaluated. BUT: in SLIME, if you've already typed something at the REPL (without evaluating it), you get taken to the previous expression THAT STARTED THAT WAY. Awesome! It wins one point. I looked into adding that to DrScheme, but couldn't figure out how to do it in 30 minutes or less so I gave up. But it'd still be cool.

I then spent the next many hours trying to convert our programming contest documentation from HTML, which for some reason I thought would be a good first draft format, to LaTeX. Didn't finish. Without being too specific, there are lots of diagrams, and it turns out to be a big pain to get everything from a PRE tag looking okay when typeset. I developed some perl and Scheme helper programs and found somebody's precooked binary to do the conversion, but it was still lots of work. Moral of the story: for all its faults, LaTeX has enough meta-information in it to make it a good document format for converting to others. HTML has no such property. So make your documents be LaTeX by default.

That's pretty much the size of what I did today, other than talking for a while about the status of the multilanguage semantics work (we've solidified a direction) and managing to totally embarassingly screw up deployment of the feature I wrote for the speedy daters yesterday (forgot to copy a file, server yelled when people tried to fill out their survey).

After I got home, I installed OS X Tiger and started playing with Dashboard widgets. I'm totally going to make a MzScheme or MrEd REPL widget. Totally.


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