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jdavidb (1361)

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J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Sunday March 24, 2002
11:40 PM

Ukraine bound

[ #3755 ]

First of all, if you didn't see the Spam Letters, go do it!

Thursday ten friends and I board a plane and are off to Ukraine. We'll be in London Friday morning. (No chance to ping anyone from, but then again, no one knows me that well, anyway.) Then another plane ride to Kiev, and then a 12 hour train ride to Donetsk.

What am I doing? Teaching singing! Strange thing for a programmer, but I've been singing since before I started programming (sometime in fourth grade). Lots of new churches in Ukraine, and since we do not have instruments in our worship, training in singing is real important.

The Ukranian churches have plenty of songbooks, but they are English hymns on the left page, with Russian and Ukranian (two separate languages) on the facing page. It's also traditional round notes, but I prefer an older, shaped-note system that makes singing easier. So, I spent all weekend typing Russian lyrics and pasting them onto copies of songs. Now these churches will finally have their own language right there with the notes, plus the ease of the shapes that should hopefully make it easier to learn the songs.

One of these days I'll be adapting GNU Lilypond (sorry, no Perl involved :( ) to print these shaped notes. Lilypond already handles the Cyrillic alphabet, and its output looks a lot better than my hatchet jobs. There are some jobs that should only be done in software. I love the free software community. I announced that I was adding the shaped note feature to the program and that I was stuck having to learn metafont, and suddenly somebody jumped up and provided a font.

Three more songs to glue. Rubber cement fumes sure do crazy things to your mind. Can't wait to replace this junk with some 21st century technology.

This week is going to be one wild ride. Three working days, and then I'm off. But I have a test in my Wednesday night class (8:30 PM to 10:00 PM ugh!), and then another one Thursday night. And as I mentioned I'll be flying out on Thursday, that means I get the test Thursday morning. Perhaps I should start studying now. The classes are Neural Networks and Distributed Systems. Fun stuff, if only I weren't trying to do so many things at once.

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