2016-02-27 Make Yourself Known – introduction

Some time ago, I decided to take part in an interesting endeavor. A friend of mine shared a link to a blog (in Polish) by a guy called Maciej Aniserowicz, who announced a contest for a programming blog. The contest is called “Daj się poznać” (“Make yourself known”), and seems to be a nice way to motivate oneself to learn something new.

Since learning something new is a cool thing to do, I decided to jump in. The rules are (more or less) that you have to start (or continue) some kind of a programming project and blog about it on a regular basis (which means twice a week) for ten weeks. (This means that my blog will be unusually active for the next 2.5 months: I plan to make three posts each week, two of them devoted to the contest. The idea is to have one or two posts per week about the progress, and zero or one either about some “soft” kind of writing related to the project, like my workflow, tutorials/books I’ve read and can or cannot recommend, tools I use, my view on the project itself and related technologies etc.)

Of course, I had to settle for some project. I have quite a few planned or ongoing Emacs stuff, but I decided that it would be a bit lame to write about something I know fairly well (I don’t consider myself an advanced Emacs hacker, but I’m pretty confident to locate myself in the upper-intermediate part of the spectrum.) I chose Java, and in particular Android.

To all my regular readers (yes, all two of you!): before you run away screaming, which is a justified reaction to the word “Java”, please listen to some, you now, rational arguments.

Everyone knows that Java sucks. But I know it only second-hand, and I feel pretty lame criticizing something I don’t know too much about it. I figure that after I try (and maybe succeed, or maybe fail) in actually coding something in Java, I will either develop some kind of appreciation (in fact, I do not consider Java unconditionally bad, it seems to have some merits) or more confidently join the crowd of condescending Lispers. And from what I hear, Android seems to be a nicer coding experience than plain old Java itself.

Also, when I bought myself my first Android phone, I imagined that it would be more hackable. Being accustomed to Emacs and its legendary hackability, I was naturally disappointed. But I imagine that writing an actual Android app (no matter how simple) will give me a similar joy of a tinkerer I feel when goofing around in Emacs.

Of course, I won’t lie to you: a possibility of earning a few bucks while having fun does sound nice, although I do not have high expectations in this department; realistically speaking, breaking even would be an achievement in itself.

I have to admit that I’m a bit afraid of a total failure. Being a standup comedian by profession, it doesn’t really bother me that I can just write or say stupid things; this happens to me all the time anyway. What I’m more afraid of is that I will have to surrender and admit that I’m unable to grok all this stuff. (Maybe jumping in to two new technologies – Java and Android – at once is not the best idea. But hey, those Dunning and Kruger guys say that I’m way above the average, so I’ll just figure it out smoothly. What could possibly go wrong?)

I‘d also like to make it clear that my goal is to win this contest. I want Das Keyboard, you know. Why would I enter anyway? Frankly, I do not expect my chances to be very high, but I’m gonna fight hard. As Reiner Knizia put it, “when playing a game, the goal is to win; but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.”

Since this post is already quite long, I won’t write now about the project itself. (Hint: it will be an app which I myself would find useful. The idea isn’t exactly unique, but it won’t be a clone of anything; I have a few ideas which seem to be uncharted territory.) But the details of what I’m going to code will wait for the next post.

OK, so if you want to support me, or make fun of me, or both, just keep reading my blog. If you want to see only the contest-related stuff, check out the RSS feed here.

CategoryEnglish, CategoryBlog, CategoryMakeYourselfKnown