‘Murica, 2014 Edition: Grace Hopper & the beginning of the end of my degree

Around April this year I applied for a travel scholarship to GHC, a massive conference in the US that celebrates and supports Women in Technology.

July of this year I found out that I was in the 26% of applicants to receive the scholarship (as far as I know, I’m one of 2 UK residents to receive it, and the other attends Oxford University…so it’s kind of a huge deal and I still can’t believe I’m going), and for the past few weeks I’ve been preparing for interviews, networking, the career fair and spending 4 days in 30 degree heat (thank fully, the conference center and hotel have air conditioning). I’m flying out to Phoenix Tuesday morning (I’m actually doing pretty much a zigzag across the EU and USA: Hull to Manchester, Manchester to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Phoenix) and there’s a meet and greet that evening with my fellow scholars, so this week is going to be pretty exciting.

(Other than attending Electronica 2014 with Element14, I *probably* won’t be seen much at other events until next year, so I’ll see most of you lovely people in person, on the other side)

This is in the midst of preparing for final year, writing electronics projects for various boards, attending a bunch of meetings for Come Dine with Me and becoming a Computer Science Demonstrator, and well…drinking lots of…apple…juice.

I’ve also begun my final year project by producing a plan which has made me appreciate how big this project will be (but also how awesome it will be if I can actually pull it off and get in all the cool features I want in it): for those that don’t remember, I’m making a sheet music library, which reads, renders, edits and writes MusicXML, organises your files by Composer, instrument, and whatever else may be useful, and hopefully: converts it to MIDI for playback and converts flat images (for example, scanned in sheet music) to MusicXML.

The last two are kind of *I hope there’s time* points, but if I don’t have time to fit them in, I’ll be open sourcing the project and hopefully working on it more when I graduate. I like this project a lot because this is something I’ve wanted for a while: for composition there’s Sibelius and Musescore, but I’d like something which does composition, storage, organisation and accompaniment generation all in one, in a similar way to Spotify being my go-to app for music. If doable, I’ll be writing this in Python because I’m most comfortable with that language right now, which means that once finished, I should be able to port it to Raspberry Pi so I can carry around my sheet music in my handbag.

Something else I’d love to integrate would be cloud storage and integration with huge free music libraries like the IMSLP and the MuseScore community (IMSLP is a project which collects sheet music online from composers whose copyright has officially expired: so…most of the very famous composers’ work is on there, though the formats are still questionable and I’m not sure they have an API for me to poke at). This is probably a pipe dream, and I don’t know what the copyright ruling would be (sheet music copyright is even more of an issue than regular recorded music copyright), but it would be nice to have.

My other modules this term are Virtual Environments and Languages and Compilers: the latter enables me to learn C in a properly taught way – I know C to an extent, but it’s not on my CV, for example, so it’ll be nice to learn it properly and get the opportunity to apply it.


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