Friday, March 25, 2011

Refuge in coding

codeIt’s been a very busy week for travel and meetings.  I landed on Tuesday morning and immediately had to head to Sheffield to meet with our chemists.  Then back to Cambridge for a half-day meeting with lawyers, followed by a full-day meeting in London with an investor syndicate.  Happy outcomes and solid progress all around, but the pace and intensity is leaving me a bit brain-drained Friday night.

I’ve been wanting to get back to the basics of building something – the iconic image of a boffin puttering in his shed has been tugging at my imagination all week.  My software products are developed from streams of medical data, and my eZ430-Chronos Wireless Watch arrived last week.  It’s a personal sensor with built-in temperature, pressure, and accelerometer components  – I’ve been itching to start to put it all together and start to create something great.

The data has to go to a repository of some sort where the user can pull up views of patient activity, beginning to build the narrative.  This suggests an MVC software architecture (Model-View-Cointroller) which, in turn, suggests using a rapid prototyping language suited to these functions.

Like Ruby on Rails.

GemsOkay, I know I’m geeking far out now, but this is as far as it goes: I really wanted to make a slightly tangential point.  Everyone finds relief from a intense period of work puttering in a hobby that they can putter and succeed in.  It may be a garden, a kitchen, an atelier, or a studio; I’ve seen people tying flies, practicing petite-pointe, and tuning engines.  The point is, it’s an activity that is both engaging and idle, engaging and inconsequential.

So I lost myself for a few hours in the intricacies of getting Ruby installed, linking in the Gems manager, running through practice tutorials, writing my first program.  It’s a bit of a fugue that distances from the meetings and travel; it’s just what I needed.

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