Thursday, September 18, 2014

MakerSquare Day 16: The problem with synchronicity (4/3)

I know, that sounds like the title of a heart-warming indie drama--or maybe one of those really low budget science fiction films like Primer--but it really was the focus of this morning's class.

So here's the scenario: you try to get info from a server and get that info to display on your computer. But the internet being what it is, you get some of that information before others; so if you're asking for a poem, you might get the end before the beginning.

If you've read Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, then you're familiar with this black hole/faster-than-light sort of scenario. But in programming, there's a solution that's a bit easier than reading Hawking: AJAX (asynchronous Javascript and XML).

The basic idea of that is that you can hold off on displaying that info until it's all delivered. That was our morning challenge.

If you've been reading along and thinking, "god, how do they fit so many topics in?" then you are not alone. Apparently, our cohort is pretty advanced.

Which was a nice shot of confidence and pride leading into our evening activity, a meet-and-greet with some potential mentors. That was a good time; it's always nice to meet people who are farther along the road than we are and to see how they've progressed; to see how they put these skills we're learning into practice in their day-to-day lives. (Or how they don't--or don't consciously.)

So, it'll be a few days before I pick a mentor/the mentors pick us, but I met some interesting people and it was very interesting.

Note: In grad school, a critic once pointed out that "interesting" was the go-to empty word for talking to people about their work, especially about their presentation. If you didn't like a lecture, you said "it was interesting," the way poets who have nothing to say about another's poetry will say, "I get the sense that you're really playing with language." But here, in programming world, "interesting" isn't exactly so empty. It is also about all I can commit to this late at night, after I have run into the N-Queens problem.

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