Back in the US for a year

A brief update to bring the blog current: first, I moved back to the US at the start of August. Between packing, shipping, and visiting family, I’ve had my hands full and not a lot of time to update the blog. So, some quick updates by category: work, radio, IF, electronics, computer stuff, and Greek.

Work

USA and Madagascar flagI’m back at the US NCI’s headquarters office in Rockville, Maryland in the Center for Global Health. For the most part, my portfolio still focuses on international clinical research collaboration, but given the relocation I’ll be shifting my focus away from Sub-Saharan Africa. In line with the WHO’s push on cervical cancer, I’ll be spending some of my time working on cervical cancer-related projects, but I’m also hoping to carve out some time to focus on rare cancers and “big data”.

Radio

During the last couple months in Madagascar, my station got packed up progressively: 100W and a hexbeam, 25W and a dipole, 5W and an end-fed. As power dropped in the last couple months, I focused on FT-8 and racked up something like 2000 additional contacts. That pushed me over the top of DXCC on 17M and added a bunch of contacts on 30M, where I had never really had an effective antenna. My logging computer just arrived in Maryland, and I’ve updated all QSO data on LOTW, eQSL and forwarded a copy to my QSL manager for 5R8SV, so cards should be headed out shortly. As for operations in the US, I’ve unpacked and built a bench, but have not yet put an antenna in place. I’ll have a subsequent post about setting up the new station and objectives for the next year.

Interactive Fiction

While moving, I knew I’d always have a computer at hand, so I have focused on IF over the last couple months. Ben Collins-Sussman and I spent most of August working on our submission for the Cragne Manor project, let by Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna in which more than 80 writers contributed text to a single game. It’s a big job to combine and test all that code, so that megagame will probably come out in a couple months. Meanwhile, the 2018 IFcomp is launching today, and I’ll have two games in it; some brief comments on that over here on the blog.

Electronics

Aside from hardware needed to put up my ham station, most of my tools and almost all of my component inventory have been shipped ahead to Cyprus for next year, so this will be a “by” year in terms of electronic projects, although I suppose I might spend some time on design and simulation.

Computer Stuff

My latest IF projects have revolved around combining Inform with Vorple, a technology that weaves together Inform and Javascript and runs in a web browser. I had to learn a lot of CSS and JavaScript in the last year, but I also realized that I’ve been away from web technology for a while, so this year I’d like to get more familiar with javascript and various related libraries. This also ties into some of the work I’m doing on Big Data for NCI, so I don’t feel guilty about putting time in on this.

Greek

Cyprus and USA flagWe’re planning to move to Nicosia, Cyprus next year, so it wouldn’t hurt to learn some Greek. My understanding is that English is used widely on Cyprus given historical ties to the UK, but I don’t need a lot of encouragement to study a new language. In addition to making life easier in Cyprus it should also come in handy for trips to Greece. Turkish would be helpful as well, but I’m hoping to pick that up to some degree over the three years that we’ll be in Cyprus.

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