Just a touch of …


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Photo by Todd Quackenbush



I really enjoy baking. I also enjoy cooking, but I am not as good at it. One thing I like about baking is that it is both precise and beautiful. Elaborate baking projects involve a scrupulous amount of precision. Last Thanksgiving I made the French macaroon cookies with my three young cousins.  To this day, I am not sure how I managed to make it all work, given that macaroons are among the more complex cookies to make, especially by hand – although we did use a hand mixer for the egg whites.

A sample of the complexity: My five-year-old cousin weighed the almond meal on a scale, I thought it would help him with a math lesson, since the weight of the bowl had to be subtracted. I tried to teach my eleven-year-old cousin how to crack a room temperate egg and only release the egg white, but she was so sure she could do it herself without my help – and was unsuccessful. (Thankfully, I had let an extra egg stand at room temperature just in case.) For the filling, among other things, it was composed of room temperature Irish butter, powdered sugar without baking powder, and a liquid (other than champagne, my normal choice) – when my thirteen-year-old cousin declared that she was using egg nog. Thankfully, the egg nog worked.

Frankly, some sort of odd alchemy allowed these macaroon cookies not only to look like macaroons (avec les pieds) but to also taste good.

Programming Cookbooks

In looking through the Safari online library (Hackbright gives us a free three-month trial), some of the books have cookbook in the title. For example, the Python cookbook. In general, from what I can tell so far, this category of books presents a generic problem and then provides code for the solution, with an explanation. The cookbook is helpful in that it provides a review of certain concepts and then (sometimes) a mash-up of concepts that I might not have thought to put together for a solution. Here’s hoping I’ll have more time after Hackbright ends when I am reviewing, learning and studying, to spend time with a few cookbooks, as I think they can be great resources.


This is the last week and there are only a few days left. The focus is exclusively on the job hunt. Today we had a negotiation workshop from 10am to 2pm (with a short break for lunch), a talk from 3-4:30 on the engineering career ladder (thankfully it ended early) and a talk from 4:30 to 6 about intermediate GitHub. Just because the academic portion of Hackbright is over does not mean it is any less intense. We are all quite tired. The yawns and deep bags under our eyes are standard.


My review today started with stacks. I was able to code and run the sample from our lecture that used a stack to check if parenthesis were balanced in a given equation. Then, I wrote the program using a counter instead of a stack – the implementation did not work as planned, so I’ll have to debug it tomorrow.

Next up, algorithms. I finished looking at Euclidian Distance as a way to compare if movie ratings are similar. I was able to do the math on the white board for the equation and understand the “why” behind the code we were given.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 1.29.16 AM

Then, I finished by looking again at linked lists. I coded up the last part of the sample from the lecture that involves finding a node in a linked list and removing it. After I reviewed my answers to the skills assessment for linked lists, I realized that I wish we had received more exercises for linked lists. Thankfully, there are any number of online resources to help fill the gap.

It’s yet again 1:38am, time for bed!

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