3 minute read

Daily dispatches from my 12 weeks at the Recurse Center in Summer 2023

I’ve reached the halfway point of my RC batch, which means . . . it’s time to have another look at the data!

Q2 at a glance

Here’s what weeks 4-6 at RC looked like, with my three main commitments plus writing broken out.

Pie chart overall

Happy to see that my intended goals – K&R, SICP, and nand2tetris – do in fact appear to be where my energy is concentrating. As was the case in Q1, writing is taking up a substantial portion of my time, but after accepting that writing is among my projects, I’m happy to see this.


Curious to have a look at pairing time, since that’s another priority and something I’ve made a conscious effort to do even more of the past three weeks.

Pie chart pairing

Definitely seems like I’m succeeding in prioritizing pairing if I’m doing it nearly 18% of the time!

What am I pairing on?

Pie chart pairing by task

Not exactly what pairing on a coffee chat looks like. Perhaps the coffee chat turned toward a project at a certain point? Well, regardless, glad to see that I’ve been pairing a lot in my main project areas. Also cool to see the mini-project of implementing DNS make an appearance here.

Line chart pairing by week

Ah, but here is what I’m looking for. Pleased to see this chart going up and to the right.

Priorities Week-by-Week

I’d also like to check in with how much time I’ve been devoting to the main things over time.

Line chart pairing by week

Well, I’m not exactly surprised by that nand2tetris spike, considering that I’ve decided to turn the current exercise of writing an assembler into a full-blown project. Generally, I’m glad to see that writing is taking up somewhat less time since that was a concious choice after last reckoning with this data three weeks ago. Also pleased to see that, since my Q1 checkin, I’ve been devoting more time to coffee chats.

Takeaways and Goals

Generally it’s looking like the data supports the fact that I’m spending my time in alignment with my priority projects, which is great confirmation. I’m expecting this to change by the next check-in, however, since I want to start pivoting toward bigger and more project-y projects. Such as:


Obviously nand2tetris has already been a major part of my RC life. Particularly as it moves into more ambitions territory like building assemblers and parsers and operating systems, however, I expect it to take an even larger share of my focus. I’m hoping to spin some of these off into stand-alone projects, as well, so those should make appearances as they happen.

Implement DNS in a weekend

This was intended to be a short one- or two-day project, but it’s turning out to be extremely rewarding to go through slowly and thoroughly. As a fun way of improving my C, I’d like to rewrite the code in C once we finish, so I imagine this “brief” project will still have a footprint in the next few checkings.


Haven’t embarked on any Django stuff yet, however this is happening.

SICP and K&R

Obviously I intend to keep up with SICP and K&R, however I expect to be devoting somewhat less time to these during the latter half of batch. For its part, my C learning will start to take place increasingly in the context of projects, like writing an assembler and re-implementing DNS.

Other projects I won’t be surprised to discover appearing in the data

Perhaps a text editor in C, perhaps an IRC client in C, a data structures library in C, ….

Other things of the day

  • Part 2 of Part 2 of Implement DNS in a Weekend. More rewardingly slow and deliberate progress was made. On to Part 3 of Part 2 next week.
  • SICP group meeting for an equally rewarding deep-dive pairing sesh on a single problem
  • Got a two day-old blog post up
  • Spent more time thinking about how I’ll approach building an assembler for nand2tetris.
  • Weekly presentations