ArtifiShell Intelligence

First week in New York


I’m still trying to figure out what should go into these posts here, and what into my daily written checkins on Zulip, the RC-internal messaging platform, without too much duplication. Trying to take a big picture approach here 🙂


Getting around is fairly convenient with the subway, which is never further away than a few minutes of walking. My morning/evening commute is just three stops, and about 20 minutes total.

Paying for the subway is as simple as tapping your phone or credit card; there’s even a weekly cap after 12 trips in the same week on the same card, though at about C$3.70 per trip, we’re not exactly talking “cheap”.

I tried using a share bike last weekend, but it wouldn’t let me unlock, neither with credit card as the payment method, nor with prepaid Lyft money. Maybe that station was offline or something; I’ll try again.

It’s not possible to buy bike passes for less than a year, and a single trip is about C$6, so not really a commuting option. I’m considering buying an annual pass (C$275), and then sell it to another Recurser at the end of my batch. And they can sell it at the end of theirs, and so on.

My AirBnB is fine, though the Brooklyn Queens Expressway right in front of the building isn’t what one would call a source of silence (my place is where the blue dot is):

Brooklyn Queens Expressway and my AirBnB

In addition to the eight expressway lanes, there’s also a busy street under it, and on top of just traffic, there are some pipes under the expressway that, when excited “correctly”, clatter for a few seconds really really loudly.

I’m moving to another, much nicer place in a week, though!

Trying to be healthy

I’m not going to cook at the current place, but maybe at the next one. It’s hard to resist the ubiquitous temptation of pizza slices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though since I’ve discovered Trader Joe’s, healthy not-so-expensive food is a thing.

I’m trying to do lots of short runs and enough physio to enable the runs; I’ve managed three this weeks, though two were on the weekend. I can definitely do better here.

Project progress

I wrote in the last update that I want this post to report on progress on my main project, the physically-based virtual toybox (just “VR toybox” from now on, I guess), and there is something to report on!

It’s small enough to live in its entirety in this post, so here goes:

It’s a dot that can be moved around with arrow keys. Or, I should say, it’s a (very simple) scene where the one interactive element can be controlled by direct input, where the “model” is limited to “dot can’t leave the canvas”. Iterations on this will be

I’ve also started with my second project, learning Ruby, which currently just means “I’ve started reading the Pickaxe book”.

Some insights

It’s very strange to be able to show up in the morning and immediately start working on whatever I want to work on. I have to unlearn that there are a few hours of pull request reviews, design documents to look at, inboxes to sift through, with “actual” work1 often not starting before 2 pm or so. Here, it’s right away! Sure, maybe plan your day, but that’s it. I have yet to take full advantage of this.

On Friday, we’ve done a workshop to reflect on what we want to work on, and why. My main priorities haven’t changed, but I have down-ranked a few of the ideas I had when thinking about RC projects.

And lastly, conversations with other Recursers, be it over lunch, at the coffee machine, or just anywhere, keep being a source of joy and inspiration. I truly appreciate the system that manages to assemble such a group of people, and I feel very lucky to be part of it. The last time I felt similar about a group was probably when I did my exchange program with UNITECH, with a similar active inclusion of alumni—and that was quite a while ago!