Journal #2 - The word "I"; working on Milton; reading Seveneves.

August 18, 2016

The word “I”

A little over two weeks ago I finally went to pick up my undergrad diploma. I graduated in May, but I was stuck in “bureaucratic limbo” for more than two months. I should get a job! Which is exactly what I’m trying to do, but that’s as much about the topic as I’m willing to write here.

The previous paragraph has 6 occurrences of the word “I”. I have problem with the word “I”. It is like blood in the urine – it’s not inherently bad, but it is a sign that there is something wrong. Using the word “I” indicates that the sentence is about me, and thus it is probably not very interesting.

Maybe I (shit) should come up with some programmatically enforceable rule, like an “I” budget – and try to stay below the budget in each blog post. The number of “I”’s may tell us something about blog-type text. I’m (shit!) willing to bet that the number of “I”’s in a blog post is inversely proportional to how interesting or worthwhile it is.

If you’re a Vim user, you can count the number of “I’s” without resorting to writing a script. The command is %s/\<I\>//gn.

Working on Milton

Milton is getting close to being ready for a new release. I have spent much of the past month working on a GPU renderer, and Milton hit an important milestone this week. It is now feature-complete. The last chunk of code that was hard to implement was exporting to bitmaps. It is some finicky code which is hard to test, but it is working now.

My video card, an Nvidia 770, is too powerful for my own good. The renderer feel super fast and smooth, but it should be fast and smooth – this is a super-computer. One thing that I should do before release is to test Milton on computers with less horsepower. Maybe I could also do something like uninstalling the graphics driver on this machine.

There are a couple bugs that need fixing and some polish-level items in the To-Do list. After that, it’s time for a new release.

Reading Seveneves

I went into this book without knowing anything and I am grateful for it, so I will try and keep this as spoiler-free as possible while also giving my opinion.

It’s getting hard to finish Seveneves. I read the first two-thirds of the book in about two days but the third act is taking me a lot longer. I don’t particularly like the writing style. It feels like it was written for efficiency. “This happened, then that happened, then that happened.”

It is a long book, so I was thinking that that this style was a conscious choice to keep the story in a single novel. The story was so enthralling that I welcomed the efficient prose for the first two thirds of the book. The third act does not benefit from the writing style, it becomes a bit tedious.

That said, I like Seveneves. It reminds me of another book which I read without knowing anything – The Martian. The trailer for the movie filled me with bile. It managed to spoil most of the story in under two minutes. I loved that book and thought the movie was good. I wish the trailer had some respect for the story. Seveneves is not as good as The Martian, but it has a similar feel – Hard Sci-fi mixed with survival.