Recurse Center, 2014-07-22

Mel's talks

  • Mel's talk in the morning was brilliant! I wonder why it's not a part of recommended reading for Hacker Schoolers, or referred to, in the manual.
  • Logically, it makes sense that Mel came now, so that she didn't have to come twice to talk to the firsts and seconds, but it would have been great to have had this talk in the first week of Hacker School!
  • Mel gave us a lot of new information and insights into education and learning styles. I also like the fact that she gave us all a good vocabulary to think about and discuss stuff related to learning. I will try to think, and apply as much of this as I can, for the rest of my time here.
  • She talked about test driven learning which seemed very interesting. Instead of just saying, "wow that would be an interesting thing to do", stop for a moment, think about what you are trying to learn, and how you will assess if you have learnt what you wanted to, and then dive into the project.
  • The learning styles workshop was pretty good too, though I feel like I don't know myself well enough, and I unable to properly "bucket" myself. Later, I took a quiz, and ended up fairly close to the middle, in all the dimensions.
  • Mel introduced us to the idea of cognitive apprenticeship, and encouraged us to try out the different modes when pairing. I really liked the idea of Zone of proximal development and I will try to take the advice of spending most of the rest of my time here in this zone.
  • Do I (really) care? Motivation and mindset, …
  • Be courageous!

Airplay and Raspberry Pi

  • I was trying to wrap libshairport and use it on the RPi to be able to listen to songs being streamed on Airplay, and use that data to drive the LEDs.
  • Shairport, a tool written in C seemed to work. My attempts to wrap libshairport, which is a fork of shairport converting it into a library, failed miserably.
  • The trouble was essentially getting Airplay to discover my service. I tried a bunch of things with pybonjour and avahi, but wasn't able to get it right.
  • Finally, I tried just announcing the service with shairport, and actually running a python script that wraps libshairport to listen to the data. But, this didn't work and iTunes complained that this Airplay device is not compatible. Before going much further with this, I found shairplay which is a tool similar to shairport, but came with a library, and also Python bindings! I happily used this to get stuff working!
  • I'm interested to see today, what exactly I was missing yesterday!

Emacs club

  • I demoed org-mode to a bunch of people for about half an hour, and it was good to see people being blown away by what it can do, exactly the way I was, when I first came across it.


  • Work on RPi to clean up a few things for the party.
  • Compare libshairplay and libshairport to see what I was doing wrong, yesterday.
  • May be write up the whole thing, and make the code available.
  • Learn a little bit about Parsers from rntz.
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