Matt Ambrogi

Recurse Center Weekly Recap #6

This post is a log of what I did last week. It will be void of any high level. I'm going to save my thoughts for a half-way point reflection, which will immediately follow this.

I took a slightly different approach during week six and tried to balance my time between three things: working on my Strava Analysis app, reading Composing Programs, and spending more time talking with other Recursers.

It felt good to strike a balance there. I hope to continue to work on productively splitting my time that way. Done right, the three are extremely complimentary.

Some things I found to be great uses of my time from last week were:

  • Having others look at my project code.
  • Jumping into pairing sessions working on things I'm interested in, but unfamiliar with.
  • Coffee chats.

Some things I still want to work on:

  • Time-boxing heads down time. As in, when I'm working on a project, committing to a goal for minimum hours I'd like to focus on it per day. Then letting myself be free to interact with others and dive into stuff that interests me. Same goes for heads down study time. Otherwise, I can become too engrossed and this can quickly expand such that I barely interact with others. That is due to a self induced pressure to be productive. But actually, it is a cheap form of productivity and less valuable than the insights I can gain from carving out time to learn from others.
  • Prioritizing based on working at the edge of my ability. This past week, much of my work was on the UI for the Strava app. That was a fun exercise, but isn't really what I care about. I'm more interested in challenging myself on the backend. I was cognizant of that and tried to time box the effort. I did an ok job, but I want to be hyper aware of this going forward. I want to make sure I'm working on things that both excite and challenge me.

That's all for reflections for the week. I'll save the rest for the half-way points post that I'm about to write. Here's a log of how I spent the week.


  • Wrote my reflection for Week 5.
  • Reading Composing Programs for 45 minutes.
  • Paired with Dennis on the React front end for an ML app.
  • Spent another hour and a half reading Composing Programs and implementing some code from the book. In this case I wrote an implementation of classes and objects in Python as if they were not built into the language.
  • Worked a bit on my Strava app, creating a separate file and class to handle plotting.


  • Focused in on my Strava app for a few hours. Refactored and added to plotting and analysis code.
  • Had a coffee chat with Selome, one of RC’s career facilitators.
  • Lead our ML Working Group meeting. Largely chatted about deployment challenges and good resources for learning ML.


  • Focused on my Strava app all day.
  • Added in a few final analysis points
  • Started really working on the UI. Made a lot of progress, picking a new font, layout, and implementing a a bunch of design improvements.


  • Slower day, bit burnt out so I took it easy
  • Coffee chat with Phil. We talked about work, low level logic gate stuff, backend data pipelines, and machine learning. We also talked about programming books and I showed him my implementation of Python classes.
  • Coffee chat with Mai, one of RC’s faciltators
  • Group Pairing session aimed at fixing a bug in RC’s presentations app. This was really valuable for me. Forked the repo, cloned it, got it working locally, recreated the bug, and diagnosed it. Gave me a lot of confidence to go and do something like that myself.


  • Worked on Strava app UI in the morning.
  • Re-designed how the analysis is presented into a single column format. Made the layout responsive so that it will be mobile friendly. Made a number of other UI improvements.
  • Chatted with Natalie, who is into data visualization, about the UI. She made some recommendations that I worked on.
  • Attended presentations and the graduation ceremony. Sad to see all the Winter 1's go. Grateful for and inspired by the time I got to spend working and chatting with all of them.

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