Still here

My focus this year has drifted from Python programming to learning how to ride a motorcycle and then back to programming.

This has been my year so far:

Jan-March

I worked on Python programming in the form of Synclosure and a book review (that I still haven’t finished) for Head First Python by Paul Barry. At work I’ve used it a little, but mostly simple batch scripts when deploying software. I’ve felt fortunate when I’ve had to write some code to assist with removing MSI software items when the auto-upgrade feature of updated MSI files didn’t work properly (Java being the prime example). Since I wrote the majority of it on my own time, I should be able to post it on my projects page in the future. I’ll work out the specifics on that later.

March-May

I took a motorcycle class and also spent time learning how to ride it on my own. I spent quite a bit of time in an industrial park nearby learning the basics and with my not riding it everyday like I did in the summer, I’ll probably need to head back there and brush up on some of the basics. Particularly when taking off from a stop on a hill. I’ve been having a lot of issues with the bike stalling, and I’m not sure whether it’s me or the fuel pump. Yay!

April-July

I went back and finished my play-through of The Witcher 1 and started playing The Witcher 2. At first I was kind of dismayed by the interface (UI) and how alchemy played into that, but I eventually got used to it. I still prefer the first game’s approach, but TW2’s alchemy system is usable like it is. Long story short on that topic: buy it from GOG.com and enjoy. Even with the two warts that I mentioned, it is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played, and I only did one play-through thus far. With 16 different endings, there is a ton of enjoyment to be had. I don’t regret pre-ordering it from GOG.com.

August-September

This seemed to be the period of dryer failure (turned out to be a cheap repair) and sinus infection (out several days of work). This also marked the beginning of another attempt to learn C++. That and binging on Warehouse 13. Definitely a popcorn sort of TV show.

September-November

This marks a continued focus on learning C++ by way of many different books and online resources, but the one I’m focusing on is Ivor Horton’s Beginning Visual C++ 2008.

Other books I’m consulting include:

I have others on my shelf, but those are my primary resources. I thought I was breezing through and had everything down until (after some encouraging), I started trying to go through the exercises at the end of the chapters. I was on chapter 6, but was struggling with an exercise from chapter 4, so I had to slow down and go back over some stuff.

I’ve also started giving up my naps during lunch to make more time to study. Having taken naps during my lunch for several years now, I’m finding this pretty tough. I have (what feels like to me) bad allergies, and I rarely feel energized after sleeping, so getting that extra rest on my lunch breaks allowed me to feel mentally refreshed and deal with people in a competent and coherent manner. Since the core of my job is providing tech support, it’s crucial that my mind function properly. The reality is it’s hit & miss a lot of times.

I also watch quite a bit of TV on occasion to help mix things up. Since Dungeon Defenders released, me, my wife and my brother have been spending a lot of time with it. It’s a blast and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good RPG/Tower Defense game. It’s too bad the developers are shunning their DRM-Free version in favor of Steam. The DRM-Free version is still at version 7.0, while the Steam version is 7.08 and 7.09 is around the corner. To be fair, everyone who purchased a copy from any of the digital retailers received a Steam key, but for those who don’t like Steam they’re forced to look for cracked patches in order to play with recent changes/content. The irony there is 7.04 is the last unofficial patch available at this time.

Aside from when we’re all playing Dungeon Defenders (last time was about two weeks ago), I’ve shelved most of my game playing in order to focus on programming. While it’s mostly C++, I spent most of yesterday itself and evening updating a Python script that scrapes various urls and emails a list of deals found to me on a daily basis. Today I exported that script to a new repo and created a project for it for public access. I hope it’s useful to someone, but for now I imagine I’ll be the only user. It’s pretty crude, and was a wake up call on just how much I’ve forgotten about Python. Sure, I can still read older Python scripts easily due to how the language is designed, but stumbling through trying to write a new script was a little embarrassing. :O

Oh yeah, our fridge/freezer unit is going out. Thankfully we purchased a chest freezer at the end of last week and it’s providing us a daily supply of ice to keep the fridge full and cold until the new (to us anyway) fridge/freezer unit can be delivered tomorrow. Fun, fun!

November-December

The year’s not quite over, but it’s looking like the last of the year will be spent much like the last few months. I’ll focus heavily on learning C++, playing Dungeon Defenders with wife/bro and tinkering with Python code here/there.

What I’d like to do is spend time learning C++, refreshing my knowledge of Python and start learning C#, but I really don’t see how I’ll have the time to manage it all. So I’ll probably stick with C++, tinker a little with Python and ignore C# for now.

That and enjoy the cooler weather. I really get to feel it up close now riding the bike, but it’s an interesting experience and I’m glad for it. I’m looking forward to the days ahead.