By choice, the 12 hour days at RC haven’t really stopped. I did attend some Meetups so there were some days where I spent less time in the physical space, but for the most part it was still spent on tech related events. I did some processing on why I want to spend so much time here. The time I spend here is not only writing code. I stop & talk with people & learn about all sorts of other things. It just feels emotionally really good being here.
The momentum I’ve had learning things here has been amazing though & I want to keep it up! I did a better job this week at walking around & making sure I slept enough & ate enough. For the most part, I think all of those particular issues on self care were an issue of adjusting to NYC. & I am adjusting slowly, but surely.
Getting Back to Haskell
I won’t get burned out by writing code for too long; it will be because I check my email too often.
The week started off with an RC breakfast club in Brooklyn run by Vaibhav & a few conversations about Haskell. Talking about Haskell has been hard because I felt a lot of shame over not knowing things & having to ask questions when I was first learning the language. I’m at the Recurse Center in part because I want to regain the ability to ask questions, admit when I don’t know something, & instead feel excited about the opportunity to learn something new! People at RC have expressed a lot of enthusiasm about learning Haskell & that makes me excited. I’ve met a bunch of friendly people that are writing Haskell professionally that are happy to answer questions.
There are so many folks in Haskell that I haven’t met & there are plenty of nice Haskell folks that I already know! I’m at the Recurse Center in part because I want to regain the ability to ask questions & admit when I don’t know something. I picked up the bad behavior of just pretending I know through the shame I felt when people were surprised I didn’t know something when I was learning Haskell over the last year. It stunted a lot of the progress I could’ve made with Haskell. Learning Rust has been a much more pleasant experience even though I’ve been taking a similar kind of approach with learning Rust as I did with Haskell.
I’m trying to restore my feelings of competency in writing Haskell code. I know enough to write practical applications in Haskell, but of course I would love to continue improving. My desire to write Haskell waned a bit due to a slow erosion of my perception of my skills, through unemployment for a bit & frequent unhelpful criticism. I mention this because I believe that this sort of negative feedback, whether intention or not, is a big reason why women & other gender minorities, like myself as a nonbinary person, end up leaving the tech industry. I have to work through these feelings & learn how to navigate this industry while trying to minimize harm to myself & others. There’s hope & I see a lot of people with the same priorities with a commitment to stay around. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this has been really kind about it, suggesting that I come back to it when I’m feeling excited about Haskell again.
Vaibhav helped me get iHaskell installed on my machine! I’m pretty excited to use it. He suggested it awhile ago when I asked if there was a way to save sessions in GHCi. He introduced me to a few Haskellers at the Localhost Meetup & I attended Kadena’s Meetup to celebrate 2nd anniversary for the public release of their language for writing small contracts, Pact. They even have an online REPL for you to try it out, which I thought was pretty cool. All of this has made me really excited to get back to writing Haskell. There are some plans in the works to start a book club & read through Parallel and Concurrent Programming in Haskell & I know that will be a lot of fun!
Progress on Rust Open Source
I need to learn how to be comfortable asking other people I don’t know for help.
I made a lot of progress this week on the projects I’m working on. I got a PR merged into curve25519-dalek that implements the
Default trait for
MontgomeryPoint after some discussion about it. I changed my other open PR to stop using
transmute to zero the bytes for
SharedSecret is a type wrapper for
MontgomeryPoint. I couldn’t use
clear previously since there wasn’t a
default value for
But the other PR was merged into the develop branch & the Travis CI validates PRs on the master branch of the other crates that are dependencies, which makes sense in retrospect. I’ve just left the PR broken for now because I know that curve25519 will have its new changes merged into master soon. I should’ve asked earlier about how the workflow works & waited for the answer. Knowing this now means that maybe it would be helpful to submit a change to the docs to let people know.
I also made a good amount of progress on a PR for the rust wasm project to add a testing section to the game of life tutorial. I can’t help but think about all the extra progress I would’ve made if I would’ve taken fitzgen’s offer for help up earlier. I ended up writing a bunch about the things I was stuck on, but trying to find a balance between providing too little information & too much information is hard when your communication is asynchronous. I ended up sending clarifying questions about the issue first to make sure I was solving the right problem & then after receiving a response, had a list of things I tried & what issues I encountered, along with a gist of my code, the commands I ran, & the compiler errors I received.
I’ve been anxious about driving into these projects. It’s definitely a bit outside my comfort zone, but it brings me closer to my goals of becoming a better programmer. It’s exciting that I am jumping into these projects & just trying to make small steps forward on them! I’ve been worrying about bothering people, even though everyone has been nice &, while I don’t expect it, people have been very fast in responding to my questions. I worried about my public responses to people on GitHub issues & working group meetings. It’s a combination of coming across professionally, understanding the person that I’m talking to, & hoping my response will be read clearly & as respectful. I want to try to be brief, as to not waste people’s time, but not seem terse due to irritation. It’s a tricky balance & I wish it wasn’t something I worried about as much as I do. I think that the hardest part of contributing to open source for me is making sure that I let people know that I respect them & their work & time.
Contributing to projects written in Rust has appealed because of my positive interactions with the community. Most projects I’ve seen have a code of conduct. Most projects I’ve seen have a guide for contributing & sometimes good first issues. It’s been easier to contribute because the deliberate effort put into making those projects approachable gives me a sense that people would value my help & be kind to me if I put in time & effort into a project.