Spirit Sol 45

Yestersol's drive worked! We covered 21m, easily more than the 17m we needed to beat Sojourner's total-distance record. This means we set three world (interplanetary?) records in two days: longest directed drive, longest one-sol drive, and greatest total distance. None of these records will last for long, which is as it should be. But if they published the Guinness Book today, I'd have three entries.

I've been too busy to look at any of the pretty pictures for almost a week, so I catch up all at once. We've gotten some fantastic results, including the astrobot picture, which I hadn't had a chance to examine closely until now. Opportunity keeps making interesting tracks in its crater, and has gotten a few peeks over the rim. Flat. When the scientists tire of the crater -- if the scientists tire of the crater -- they'll be able to drive for miles.

While I'm doing this, Marc Pack comes over and asks me for RoSE's source code. This seems odd, so I ask him why he wants it. "Because you're the best Java programmer I know, and I want to be the best Java programmer I can be," he answers. Uh-huh. I don't know what there is to dislike in this request, and maybe this is just bad paranoia on my part. I don't really know the guy; he's probably on the level. So I split the difference, showing him a few books I think are excellent guides to different parts of Java and telling him that if he has any specific questions, I'd be happy to walk through the relevant code with him. This sends him on his merry way, and I go back to catching up on pictures. I can't shake the suspicion that something is behind that, but I can't think what it could possibly be. Nothing. I'm too paranoid.[1]

I catch up on my email and on the plan for the day (another touch-and-go, driving 20m to a nearby depression).

It's nearly time for Candy to get up, so I go home to see her. We end up wasting the day shopping, which was really not what I wanted to do with my day off, but whatever. I buy a cool book on Renaissance art and sleep for ten hours. Fantastic.


[1] At the time, there was a bit of behind-the-scenes political business going on, which is what underlay my paranoia. But it was misplaced: I've gotten to know Marc since then, and he's a straight-up guy. But you notice how I don't even consider the possibility that someone might say a nice thing like that to me and mean it? Sigh.


changcho said...

You know you've got to compile all this into book form, right?

Anonymous said...

Which programming books did you recommend?

Scott Maxwell said...

@changcho Well, if any publishers out there agree with you, then maybe that'll happen. :-)

@Anonymous For a general introduction to Java: "Thinking in Java" by Bruce Eckel. I don't agree with all of his views -- in particular, I'm a *big* proponent of strong static typing, and he's not -- but it's still the first book I'd recommend to any programmer who wants to learn Java.

The other books I recommended were "Core Java Foundation Classes" and "Core Swing Advanced Programming," both by Kim Topley. These books have saved me many hours of agony; I highly recommend them to anyone who's writing user interfaces in Swing. I'd already been doing that for a while before these books came out, so I'm not sure whether or not they're good books for *learning* Swing, but they've been very useful to me as I try to puzzle out how to do various nontrivial things.

Out of curiosity, are there any good Java books y'all recommend? I've been generally unimpressed with what's available, but I'd welcome a pleasant surprise.