This semester keeps going faster by the day. It seems like every course has its own project to do, and the internal projects for my open-source course seem to simultaneously be most and least intimidating. Getting a project off the ground within the last six weeks of class seems impossible, and scary. The fact that there is no hard final product to produce alleviates the pressure a bit, but I would much rather take a slow and thorough approach to it. My opinion on this comes from two things.
First is the chaos of the project being pulled in various directions. I had originally hoped to play a bit of a manager role on the student project DarkChatter begun by Ryan and I. While Ryan seemed engrossed by the technical side of things, I felt that someone needed to chart a course on what exactly was being built. I will admit that I was slow on doing this. On top of juggling my other courses, I had to do some research to bring myself up to speed on the subject, and looking forward to the future. Hesitant to start building something that might not even be feasible, I really took my time on this.
In the meantime, several people hopped onto the project and started pulling it it new directions. Suddenly we were a multi-platform chat app with 3 different repositories, and I felt a little overwhelmed. All the plans I had brewing in my mind suddenly seemed to not fit into the whole, and it had out-scoped any managerial aspirations of mine. This isn’t necessarily for the worse, though. It does seem possible for the three different parts of the project to co-exist. If someone else wants to work on an iOS messaging app that leverages the tech, more power to them. This let’s me in turn focus more on the part I find interesting and unique: the back-end. But I worry about the likelihood of it all coming together by the end of the semester.
The second issue I ran into recently is getting everything running. It turns out the stuff we are doing with wifi cards and monitoring for dangling packets is a lot easier in linux, meaning I had to try and get a linux machine running for myself. I didn’t want to do this on the school’s matrix server initially, because I wasn’t sure if I could or should be doing weird networking nonsense off of their machines. This meant falling back onto my usb copy of mint. Except it didn’t seem to work on my laptop. It worked on my desktop, but I couldn’t use it on there for other reasons. The time spent hunting for a linux machine just makes me lament the time crunch even more.
So, what did I end up getting done after all this research and linux-hunting? Well, I’m still no networking wizard, so I started to do some work elsewhere in the project. I learned how to implement command line arguments and started to set them up. While there is still the matter of hooking it up to something useful on the networking side, I took the opportunity to create a command line argument guide/template to aid any contributors (and probably future-me). Next goal: make the arguments actually worth using!