Summer is coming! It's getting warmer every day. The hellish descent into finals week is getting closer. And with the end of finals comes the joy that is summer vacation. Yes! Before I get into how awesome that is, let me just quickly note that the messages page has been updated to allow viewing of your back-and-forth communication between you and another user. Cool stuff.
Last night I went to the Facebook f8 hack-a-thon event. Yesterday Facebook announced a completely new platform that allows anyone to integrate their applications into Facebook. So for example, Quizlet could integrate into Facebook by allowing users to share their vocab sets via facebook's friends system. There are a lot of cool things I could do with it, I just have to work out what would the most useful way of integrating some of Quizlet's features into facebook might be (I'm open to suggestions).
Photo: flawedartistLet me tell ya - the hack-a-thon event was pretty geeky. It was basically ~400 developers in a giant lounge with unlimited access to Red Bull, M&Ms, and gourmet Chinese food. And of course, plenty of lounge furniture and even a few giant TVs with Xbox consoles. Within this environment, there was some prolific hacking going on. Facebook had given us a platform to develop on, and so we all had our laptops to whip stuff up as fast as possible. By midnight, everyone would reconvene to show off what they had built in the preceding hours, and Facebook would hand out prizes. I sat next to a couple of people from last.fm and across from a bunch of people working for Obama '08. I didn't accomplish anything particularly impressive with Quizlet integration, but I did play around enough to find some pretty significant security and functionality bugs in their system (which I've reported to Facebook). Unfortunately, I had to go home a little earlier because it was a school night and I had essays to write! So I didn't get to see the results of all the programming that went on...Oh well.
My summer plans are about as unrelated to Quizlet and programming as they come - I'm spending eight weeks of my summer doing trail work and restoration with the Student Conservation Association. I'll be completely incommunicado the entire time - no Quizlet, no email, no Internet, no phone. The only way to reach me will be snail mail. Hey, maybe I'll post my address (when I get it) and you can send me cookies :)
The SCA is a national program that puts high school students on small volunteer crews that perform trail work and nature conservation in almost every national park. Last summer I spent four weeks in Rocky Mountain National Park building trails, smashing rocks, traversing glaciers, and making friends. It was, in honesty, a life-changing experience. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in volunteering and getting out of the city. It's probably too late to sign up for a crew for this summer, but I highly recommend checking out it's programs for both the coming school year and next summer. All the information is on their site.
Me crushing rocks on my SCA crew from last summer.For this summer, I'll be spending four weeks in the Bay Saint Louis area, and four weeks in Acadia National Park in Maine. My crew of eight people will be from all over the U.S. (Some of whom I've already met via Facebook - hey!) We'll be working on who-knows-what. I'm really just looking forward to whatever they give me. It's a chance to get out of the city, out of the world of computers, and into new cultures I've never experienced. I should arrive home quite a bit tanner and more muscular - working on Quizlet isn't exactly a full body workout ;)
Practically speaking, that means I won't be able to answer support messages, write blog posts, or remove naughty sets. But never fear - I've got a few friends who should be able to step into my place for awhile and keep Quizlet humming while I'm gone. Because it will be summer vacation for most students, I'm expecting Quizlet traffic to slow down a bit, so the stress of keeping the site running should be less than it is now.
But after my summer SCA crew, Quizlet will be gearing up for a big 2008. I have several large-scale improvements, partnerships, and general expansions worked out already.
I'll be gone from June 16 to August 13. My last day of school is Friday, June 15. Can anyone say "end-of-the-year party?"