Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku! I’m writing this a month later but still! Wishes are wishes and I think they’re valid whenever. Even if someone wished a happy birthday 5 months later (maybe it happened to me but nevermind). My friends just left back home. It was such a blast. I’m happy they made it here! Batteries full. It’s 2019! New year, new me! I’ve decided to start working out at home instead of climbing this month (one of the reasons is that I’ve spent a bit too much during Christmas and New Years :). Some years ago I’ve followed Reddit’s recommended routine and I’ve heard they made an update of the routine. I checked it and I liked the changes they made. Luckily, I have all the tools needed for easy implementation of the method. You can see a picture of my gymnastic rings in my December installment of this diary.

Another change in this new year is that snow started to fall. Heavily. At least for my Croatian standards. I’m happy about that. The kids at school are happy about that. It’s a nice refreshment and a reason to spend the time outside in the cold. We went sledding down a nearby hill in the forest.

Soon enough, that week ended and another 2 weeks of holidays started and there was no school. I’ve had time to work on my own projects unrelated to EVS. The first project is creating software that takes pictures sorted in folders by their importance and creating a collage out of them. I’m doing that because me and my closest friends have a group chat called “Picture of the Day” where we post one picture per day that tells the other what made that day for us. Sometimes there are dry spells and nothing worth photographing is  happening, and sometimes the day is so rich that we need five photographs to picture all of it. But we made a rule to post only one picture maximum per day. At the end of the year we go through around a thousand pictures and choose which one we liked of them all. Some are strict and choose around 70. Some are not and choose hundreds of them (I’m one of them). We sum up all the votes and create a rank list of the best pictures of that year. Right now there are 7 people in this group and only 2 pictures collected all 7 votes. Usually we gather all the pictures that collected 3 or more votes all together and create a collage out of them. Manually. We’ve been doing that for 3 years now and the first two years my cousin made the collage manually and it took him at least a day to make it.  This year he doesn’t want to do it so I’m trying to make a program that can quickly do it for us.

Another project is much bigger and time consuming. I’m programming a game similar to  Alias and Charades. Actually it contains both of them and much more. It uses a combination of one adjective and one noun which the player has to guess using those games. The more deviant the combination, more fun it is (for example “dormant laundry”). First Alias is played, then after all the terms are guessed, collect all of them, count the points, and play with the same terms. This time using charades. After charades comes Alias again but this time using only one word (one word explaining “dormant laundry”) . The game is fun because there is constant engagement because the players want to listen to what are all the terms so they can remember them all for the next rounds. Easier said than done. It’s a very fun game and I recommend it to everyone to play. Right now, I’m going though over 70GB of pure text and collecting all the nouns and adjectives that make sense and are common enough for the average Joe to be familiar with. It’s a very tedious process and it takes a long time to go through them all. Software helps go through it but there is still thousands of words that are needed to go through manually. It’s tedious but worth it. I hope I’ll finish these projects in February. I’ll write more about the progress in the next installments.

During the holidays the school organized workshops for kids that haven’t gone away from the city. Easy going days, no pressure of curriculum. It was fun to implement random workshops, games and puzzles for them.

One day a couple of us took a walk to the cemetery and on our way we discovered a cool looking workout trail (In the Balkans, we call it “trim staza” which would roughly translate to “trim trail”). It had a bunch of cool adventure park challenges. We’ve decided to take the kids there for them to play around.

Lastly, at the end of the month, I’ve received a package from Croatia. My sending organisation “Ocean znanja” sent me a box full of small programmable computers called “micro:bit”. It a very simplified computer. It has a 5×5 grid of LEDs that represent a screen. It also has a very simplified way of programming it using blocks of code instead of actually typing the words. The programming is similar to a tool called “Scratch” which some of the kids are quite familiar with. I’m having a lot of fun and I see the kids are also enjoying this change of programming style comparing to the previous cmd/terminal style of programming and evaluating.

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