Fall Forward

Today is a wet, rainy day, perfect for catching up. It’s a good thing too. It’s been warm and dry the whole fall, and the grass everywhere is turning brown like California. Believe it or not we only tok our air conditioners out yesterday.

Last weekend Lizzy came home from college for a quick visit. As it happened we had planned on visiting Martin that weekend, so Lizzy took a bus and met us in Albany. It was a beautiful ride up thru the turning fall colors. The visit with Martin was pretty brief, but we managed to get in a little hiking along the escarpment in a local park and then dinner at nice German restaurant. Weiner schnitzel and potato pancakes, yum!

I also had a little time for drawing and playing with Martin’s kids. They’re all into mythology and mythical monsters right now, and so is Michelle. I’ve also been thinking of alt-tic-tac-toe variations as ideas for video games, and shared some with Charlie.

Lizzy rode home with us Saturday night, and was gone pretty much the whole day Sunday catching up with her friends. Was home again in the evening. Good news she’s enjoying college, engaged and doing well in her studies, making friends and doing stuff. Took a 6:00 AM flight back to Buffalo Monday morning.

Meanwhile Martin and I had alot to catch up on. We just published a major release of The Global Jukebox (http://theglobaljukebox.org). This one includes a major upgrade to the menu system, and integration of Choreometrics in to the app, and a lot of new content. Anna and her academic team are presenting it this weekend at a conference along new research findings.

Now we’re moving right on to the next development cycle, and we’re taking a moment to hit some purely engineering-oriented tasks. One is that we’re converting it to a single-page application, so that you can switch between the two main views, map and wheel, and keep your current song, playlist, journey or whatever. Next is we’ll be converting the whole thing to Typescript.

I’ve been converting my main project in my day job to TypeScript the last few weeks, as part of a larger effort to improve code quality and get things better organized. Coming from strongly typed languages like Java and ActionScript, it feels like coming home. Which is funny because I’ve spent the last few years making my peace with the lack of types in Javascript, and thinking of it more and more in functional programming terms. Now it feels like the best of both worlds, and kind of code you can write looks alot like say Scala.

Another thing that happened last week was I finished the manuscript for my Origami Airplanes and Spaceships book. I had been basically done for quite some time, but then when I went to print out the book for final proofreading I thought the diagrams were a but hard to read. This book is in an 8” x 8” format, where the previous on was 9” x 12”. The typical drawing was about 85% size. So went thru and pumped up the size on all the fold lines and arrows.

It’s particularly critical to distinguish between the valley folds and mountain folds. One is a straight dashed line and the other is alternating dashes and dots. I also made some minor corrections and wrote an introductory blurb to each models and a very nice introduction to the whole book. For a long time I didn’t think I had much to say, but when I sat down to do it the whole thing just flowed out from the first sentence “Since ancient times people have looked up to the sky and dreamed of flying through the air and traveling among the stars.”