[ProgSoc] Progsoc: what do we provide of value?

Bryn Davies curious.jp at gmail.com
Mon Sep 4 18:07:13 AEST 2017


Some great achievements in there and a good read, Tom B.

Some of the talks (prior to 2011) are archived on the wiki too - you can
even see one I gave one back in 2003 (!) http://progsoc.org/wiki/Talks

I would like to help out with a possible society reboot, but I'm unsure of
what I can contribute. I'm physically distant now (Melbourne) and also sure
I'm overdue in membership payments / have my account locked at the moment.
Perhaps one thing that could give us a bit of a bootstrap would be to
create more progsoc presences tied into other platforms, such as a coursera
study group (like Tom H. seemed to suggest about Andrew Ng's course), a
duolingo club, or even a video game clan. That would provide a bit of
socialisation for those of us who can't make it to the pub - and a lot of
these activities can also touch off ideas and speculations about
programming... at least in my experience.

I think a great first society project would be an automatic notification of
dues expiry and some tool to let me calculate my progsoc back taxes. *blush*

p.s. In related news, I'm sure some of you saw this progsoc historical
related news today:
https://www.itwire.com/open-sauce/79738-bye,-bye-solaris,-it-was-a-nice-ride-while-it-lasted.html


On 31 August 2017 at 20:28, Tomislav Bozic <tomchristmas at progsoc.org> wrote:

> On 31/08/17 18:24, Tom Hale wrote:
>
> Progsoc offers me:
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> * a *.edu.au email address (which I use for discounted goodies)
>>
>
> Never really took advantage of that...
>
> Apparently you can (or could at some point) get an @alumni.uts.edu.au
> email address, but I'm really not sure.
>
> I would like to know: when WAS the last time we created a new account for
> members? I believe that last time I did it personally was in 2013, when I
> last manned the O-Day stall. Not sure if any new accounts have been created
> since. But I digress...
>
> What I would like from Progsoc:
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> * An artificial intelligence project to work on, with guidance from
>> experienced mentors. I'm currently half way through Andrew Ng's
>> excellent and free Machine Learning course[1].
>>
>
> Great idea. First, find the mentors.
>
> * Assistance in processor grind for kaggle competitions[2] and future
>> machine learning projects. My Thai house on a lake costs $300 a month.
>>
>
> $300? You lucky expletive...
>
> I have a laptop with on-board
>> Intel 520 graphics chipset which I foresee won't be great at the kaggle
>> competitions that I intend to participate in.
>>    => Offers of GPU processor time on would be greatly appreciated, as
>> would society funded access to cloud machines.
>>
>
> A ProgSoc AWS account or similar such could be worth investigating. Or if
> we had a hackerspace, build our own PlayStation GPU farm. Or similar such.
>
> Oh, please correct the factual errors (and add what I've missed). I
>> guess that there are many like me who would appreciate being brought up
>> to speed.
>>
>
> That's what I'm here for!
>
> ### TFM
>> Past: A tree-book manual, introduction to hacker culture, Unix and
>> peculiarities of the SoCS[3] machines. This took bunches of time to keep
>> up-to-date. Book sales provided revenue for the society.
>> Now: Nobody is interested in tree-books any more. Nobody can be arsed
>> creating an updated ebook version. I question if anyone would even value
>> it, when "OK google" can be verbally asked these days.
>>
>
> We did publish the last TFM in 2013[1]. Took us about four years of
> intermittent editing to get it out the door. I don't think we sold any more
> than five copies of that run, to be honest. I believe the surplus copies
> were turfed out when we vacated 10.3.380a. Hopefully we have at least one
> copy in storage.
>
> Shortly after publishing the final TFM, we wikified its contents and
> posted it here: [2] It's sort of an "eternal" edition of TFM now. People
> are more than welcome to update it as they see fit. If they have an
> account, of course.
>
> Before we published the last TFM, we meticulously OCR-scanned and
> HTML-ified all of the previous editions of TFM and the Sun User Guide we
> had in our possession (as well as two editions lent to us by Stephen
> Gowing) and uploaded them all here: [3]. Yeah, I should've made PDFs of the
> originals as well. Sue me.
>
> ### Always-on internet servers
>> Past: When students were still dialling into the SoCS modem pool for net
>> access, having shell access to an always-online server was valuable.
>> Now: 4G tethering, broadband at home.
>>
>
> Not to mention a web server that offered way more than Geocities and their
> ilk did, all for $10/year. Which you can still get with us, by the way. If
> someone can create an account for you.
>
> ### A programming environment
>> Past: Various compilers and tools not available on the SoCS servers were
>> installed for use by members
>> Now: I am not sufficiently aware of the configuration state to comment
>> as to where things are technologically. But what value would we offer
>> above say someone installing Ubuntu?
>>
>
> We have compilers on niflheim. But they're of little use to the average
> member these days.
>
> ### Support with programming questions
>> Past: People used to post questions regarding programming for assistance.
>> Now: It's been a few years since a question like this appeared on-list.
>> General questions go to StackOverflow presumably. Individual "where's my
>> bug" questions are not asked.
>>
>
> Probably for the best, to be honest.
>
> Now, if it was students asking for help with their programming subjects on
> the other hand...
>
> Actually, we gave at least two talks in the early teens (the exact years
> escape me now -- probably 2010 and 2011) to Programming Fundamentals
> students offering advice on how to do the assignments amongst other things.
> They were pretty well-attended, as you would imagine. Worth resurrecting.
>
> ### Projects
>> Past: Projects were rallying points for members, whether they came to
>> fruition or not. Some that come to mind are the Olympic brick
>> inscriptions, a b33r/coke powered server, long-range wifi access to
>> Progsoc, and a Jukebox
>> Now: No projects have happened for a long time. I wonder if we have
>> sufficient cohesion / interest to be able to get consensus and momentum
>> on a project... but perhaps a project is exactly what we need.
>>
>
> Our last project was, I believe, in 2014 with our 'Norman' keyless access
> project, when we still had the room. Carlin and D'Netto can tell us more
> about that, if they're reading this...
>
> I do remember Jacob Dunk creating an app for the Verge Festival at Sydney
> Uni in 2013, which was awesome, because we actually wrote some software in
> the name of ProgSoc.
>
> There was the programmable bar fridge idea that was mooted at our meetup
> last Thursday...
>
> ### Meet ups
>> Past: Social gatherings, hanging out with like-minded peeps.
>> Now: Unsure. The ravens' scrolls don't reach to Thailand. Subsidised /
>> free events are a perennial winner.
>>
>
> When I joined in 2008, we really didn't do much in the way of events. We
> didn't need to, really. We had our own room, and that's all we needed for
> our weekly meetings.
>
> Eventually, though, we decided to be a bit more social and
> community-minded. We spread our wings with talks in 2011 (see below). Then,
> in 2012, we held the very first UTS Programming Competition[4]. It was so
> successful, we held four more consecutive editions from 2013 to 2016
> inclusive. Who knows, we might resume the ProgComp next year...
>
> Our best month ever in my opinion was March of 2014. To celebrate our 25th
> anniversary, we hosted not only a programming competition, but also our
> first, and to date, only weekend hackathon, Code2Day[5]. Yes, we actually
> did a HACKATHON. This is what ProgSoc has been capable of.
>
> To say it was a mammoth undertaking to stage not one, but TWO major events
> in one month, is an understatement. But we were a crack team and we pulled
> it off. It really was the high point of ProgSoc. I had never been prouder
> to have been part of the club at that point.
>
> Then ProgSoc's slow decline began. After losing the room in 2015, we never
> truly recovered. Hopefully with a concerted effort on everyone's part our
> fortunes will change!
>
> ### Sharing of knowledge / talks
>> Presentations on particular topics of clue. I'm pretty sure that this
>> has happened a few times in the past, but can't remember an instance of
>> it.
>> Now: Tom mentioned that a shared space could be used for such.
>>
>
> I remember 2011 being The Year of Talks for ProgSoc. We had at least four:
> apart from the aforementioned ProgFun talk, we did IPv6, network security
> and something related to web development, I think. My memories are fading.
>
> My colleague would like to give a talk on User Experience -- stay tuned
> for that! Also, we'd like to get that guy from Dev Diner[6] back for
> another talk -- his presentation on Virtual Reality in 2016 was
> well-received and reasonably well-attended.
>
> * What *you* currently value about Progsoc. Why are you (still) here?
>>
>
> Because I love ProgSoc with all my heart. I gave so much to it and it gave
> me so much in return. I got more out of it than any coursework or any other
> experience at UTS. I am who I am today because of ProgSoc -- that's no
> exaggeration.
>
> And I want others to have a similar experience.
>
> * What you *would* value, ie what you hope Progsoc will provide.
>> * What Progsoc could provide to the community (Progsoc, FoEaIT, UTS,
>> Sydney, Australia...)?
>>
>
> The possibilities are endless.
>
> Tom
>
> P.S. The people who should be reading this and responding (i.e. not old
> timers) are not likely to be subscribed to this mailing list, sadly.
>
> [1] http://progsoc.org/wiki/Printed_Publications#TFM
>
> [2] http://progsoc.org/wiki/TFM:Contents
>
> [3] http://progsoc.org/wiki/Printed_Publications#Past_Publications
>
> [4] http://progsoc.org/wiki/Programming_Competitions
>
> [5] http://progsoc.org/code2day/
>
> [6] https://devdiner.com/
> -----------------------------------------------------
>
> To judiciously use split infinitives is fine by me...
>
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> Progsoc at progsoc.org
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>



-- 
"And let us consider again, that all the law is not in the hand of Giant
Despair: others, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him as well
as we, and yet have escaped out of his hands."
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