father of mine

Busy, busy. The short personal meta stuff normally found here is at the end, cuz it’s a bit longer than usual, and I know some people prefer to skip it.

Upcoming weekend project: put pictures in photoarchive.

Database Mining in the Human Genome Project. Interesting looking white paper, being developed under an ‘open source’ method. I’ll have to print this one out and read it carefully, but at first blush, it might be worthwhile.

The American Society for Microbiology says genetically modified organisms are okay. The statement they released is (IMNSHO) balanced, fair, and above all, refreshingly sane. As such, it’s probably not going to make one whit of difference in shaping public opinion. My favorite section:

Those who resist the advance of biotechnology must address how otherwise to feed and care for the health of a rapidly growing global population forecast to increase at a rate of nearly 90 million people per year.

Perl 6 is going to be a ground-up re-write. This should be fun (and I’m not being sarcastic, for a change). Here’s the official info center, which has the initial announcement.

Miguel de Icaza says “Unix sucks”. One of the primary reasons he cites is the limited amount of code use that occurs in the Unix (and Linux) software world. I’m not going to disagree; I’m simply not qualified. One thing that does puzzle me: it’s generally agreed that computer monocultures lead to (among other problems) greater susceptibility to viruses and other types of exploits. Wouldn’t universal code release take this problem to it’s ultimate extreme? There’s a discussion going on at Advogato; I especially like the point about how use of higher level languages are a form of code re-use.

Speaking of Open Source hacker types, what happened to Mandrake?

Jay ‘Baylink’ Ashworth sent along a link to a story about genetic testing abuses, over on law.com. You’re getting the printer friendly version, because the formating of the regular version is unbelievably god-awful ugly in my browser.

Personal Meta: Those of you here for the genetics, turn back now!

It’s been an odd couple of days. I was feeling a bit down at work, like I wasn’t really pulling my weight, or making the most of the opportunity of being at the NCBI. After a bit of thinking about it, I realize that I’ve been suffering something akin to burn-out – there’s just so much that I need to learn, and do, and there’s no obvious place to start – I just have to jump in and start swimming, which is not exactly my prefered working style. I was also not as excited about the stuff I was working on as I should have been.

Over the last week or so, however, that’s all pretty much changed. I’ve started setting small achievable goals for each day, and I think I’m covering a decent amount of territory (which means it’ll take longer to get anywhere, but that’s the way it goes). I also adjusted the focus of what I’m working on; it’s much more ambitious now, and once we get it built, I think it will be well-received and popular in the community. Of course, the new project is a much larger undertaking; if I was in over my head before, I basically just reached down and strapped on some concrete ankle weights. By any reasonable measure, I should be even more depressed about my situation, but instead I feel pretty good. We’ll see how long I manage to stay on top of everything. 8^)

I also had some minor epiphanies about BOP over the past couple of days. I realized the overall design had some fairly large flaws, and I could accomplish many of the things I’m trying to do in a lot less code, by taking advantage of some implicit inheritance. The win here is not only that the whole system will be easier to use, but also that pages will ‘know’ what they contain – so updating a glossary item or an included bit of HTML will result in all the pages that contain the updated object getting automagically flagged for re-publication. I still need to think about this a bit, and finish writing the documentation – yes, I actually started writing documentation before code – but I think that once that’s done, I’ll be able to get to a usable system much more quickly than I anticipated.

My Dad called me tonight, which is unusual. There’s no big family horror story there – quite the opposite. We see each other about once or twice a year, and we talk then; we’re just not big phone people. When I call home, I just usually end up talking to my mom. Anyway, Dad called with some info we’d asked for earlier in the week, and I ended up having a nice conversation with him. My parents are coming out for a visit in the fall, and I’m quite excited about that – I think on some level I’m finally starting to feel ‘grown-up’ since I finished school, and I want them to see that.

I guess I’d like to think I’m over that kind of parental approval-seeking – but I’m not sure anybody gets over that. I admire my father (Mom too, but this isn’t about her right now), but more than that, I actually like him as a person. The older I get, the more of him I see in me, and the less upset I am about seeing that. Recognizing this and dealing with it isn’t easy for me – my family isn’t really overtly affectionate; instead, we tend to express affection and respect via jibes and digs – something I still tend to do, and something that’s off-putting to people who’ve just met me. Ultimately, I guess I’m trying to say I love my father – I just hope I’m able to tell him that, one of these days.

Whew. Hopefully that wasn’t too heavy for y’all, on a Friday and all. I realize it wasn’t 24 useless facts, but you’ve probably had your fill of that elsewhere. Hope everybody has a nice weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.