Tag Archives: coding

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Do you know someone who wants to learn how to code? (Maybe it is you!)

Then this is a good page for them to go to: How I Learned How To Code Using Free Resources | Home | Bri Limitless. 

There’s plenty of good links to information, and they are all free. I can vouch for a number of them, such as Codecademy and Coursera.

One problem people run into is: why should I learn to code? One obvious answer is to learn a set of skills to help them gain employment. Two other reasons I have:

  1. build a website to promote yourself or any future business you might have.
  2. automate things you do on your computer

For #1, being able to build a website is a great way to promote yourself and show yourself to the world. As for #2, that’s the main reason I still keep coding. There’s lots of information I want to process, personally and professionally, and coding is the best way to do that.

Regardless of your reason, if you want to learn to code, check out Bri Limitless’s web page.

My mixed bag of IT links for December

Like previous collections of IT links, this collection reflects things I am interested in or found useful recently:

  1. If you want to get started using APIs, I recommend this: Most Popular APIs Used at Hackathons | ProgrammableWeb
  2. If you want to build that web site, consider Using Twitter Bootstrap with Node.js, Express and Jade – Andrea Grandi, and this Building a Website from Scratch with ExpressJS and Bootstrap | Codementor. Also Mastering MEAN: Introducing the MEAN stack and Bluemix Mobile, Part 1: Creating a Store Catalog application – Bluemix Blog
  3. Or develop a mobile app like this: Create Swift mobile apps with IBM Watson services – developerWorks Courses
  4. I am a fan of Bluemix and Eclipse. This article ties them nicely together: IBM Bluemix – Eclipse Package Download – Neon release.
  5. I am also a fan of IoT these days. For fellow IoT fans, these links are good: Intro to Hardware Hacking on the Arduino — Julia H Grace and $10 DIY Wifi Smart Button | SimpleIOThings.
  6. Speaking of IoT, if you have been doing some work with Arduinos, you might be interested in the ESP8266. Some good info on it here ESP8266 Thing Hookup Guide – learn.sparkfun.com and a good thing to do with it, here: SimpleIOThings | Simple Do-It-Yourself Internet-of-Things Projects
  7. More good links related to software and application development work here Migrate an app from Heroku to Bluemix and here A Concise Introduction To Prolog, plus Building without an Ounce of Code – Part 2 – Apps Without Code Blog and this Turning a form element into JSON and submiting it via jQuery – Developer Drive
  8. Some interesting links pertaining to Minecraft: Can Minecraft teach kids how to code? – Safari Blog and Minecraft and Bluemix, Part 1: Running Minecraft servers within Docker.
  9. There’s lots of talk about AI these days, the  Economist explains why artificial intelligence is enjoying a renaissance
  10. If you are interesting in working in IT, you might like this: How to Get a Job In Deep Learning or this: An Unconventional Guide for Getting a Software Engineering Job — Julia H Grace
  11. Or maybe you want start a start-up. If so, check this out: A Free Course from Y Combinator Taught at Stanford | Open Culture
  12. Finally, here are just a number of interesting but mostly unrelated links:
    1. IBM Blockchain 101: Quick-start guide for developers
    2. Building three-tier architectures with security groups | AWS Blog
    3. Performance Tuning Apache and MySQL for Drupal
    4. How to secure an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS server 
    5. Clean Your System and Free Disk Space | BleachBit
    6. Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi display — Kano OS – YouTube
    7. (Software iSCSI) Configuring SAN boot on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 or 6 series

 

A good article: Why I Am Not a Maker. With one comment by me.

If you hang around with or are involved in some way with IT people, you will come across individuals extolling the virtues of being a “Maker”. Making things (typically software or IT systems) is seen as a virtue, in some case one of the highest virtues, and the implication is that makers are virtuous people.

A well written critique of that is here: Why I Am Not a Maker – The Atlantic. If you consider yourself  a maker or aspire to be considered one, you should read it. A key point is this:

When tech culture only celebrates creation, it risks ignoring those who teach, criticize, and take care of others.

This is true: tech culture sometimes places little or no value on other activities, such as the ones that the article mentions.

My main criticism of the article is that it has a blind spot for the middle ground. I know plenty of creative people whom I consider makers that also take care of others, teach, manage, administer…you name it. Often time the things they make are superior to those of people who devote themselves to being makers.

Being a maker is a virtuous thing, for the most part. But so is teaching, providing care, managing, cleaning, coaching and many other positive activities. Find the thing you are good at and contribute positively in your own way.  If you can make some things along the way, all the better.

What you should know if you are planning to learn to code

If you are going to learn to code and you are planning to stick with it, then you owe it to yourself to read this: Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard.

It’s well written, and it has some great graphs, including this one:

I think any area of learning where you get good initial training would look similar to this. I recommend you find some mentors to help get your through the desert of despair.

P.S. Yes, I realized they borrowed heavily from Gartner’s Hype Curve. 🙂

A return to Twitter (not the service, but the community)

After the frustration with the Twitter service for changes like this, I thought I would give up Twitter. However, Twitter is the sum of a number of parts: there is the service that Twitter provides, from the backend servers to the APIs to the user interfaces and client software you use;  and then there are the people that contribute to Twitter. Among those contributors are people I really enjoy socializing with whom I cannot connect with any other way. To give up all of Twitter means tossing out the baby, the bathwater and even the tub itself. That’s dumb. (I do dumb things often, but typically correct most of them in time. :))

To get around that, I decided to use my limited software skills and the APIs that Twitter provides to write my own Twitter client, in a way. It is a hack, but it is a good hack (for me). I am able to control what I see this way. Not only do I not have promoted tweets, etc., in my feed, but I am able to get rid of things like RTs from everyone, rather than having to turn of RTs one at a time. I’m also able to save all the tweets in a spreadsheet or some other format, so I can look at them when I am less busy, or decide on other filters I want to apply, etc. Later on I can write more filters so if a trending topic gets to be too much, I can just delete it or save it to a different file for later.

Now my Twitter experience is gone from poor to great (for me).  I have thrown out the dirty bath water, but kept the tub and the baby. This makes more sense, obviously.

Last but not least, I appreciate all the people who expressed concern over my leaving Twitter. It was very kind of you, and why I want to stick around, if I can.

 

Should everyone learn to code? And should they learn it from Code.org?

I am encouraged by organizations like code.org and the work they are doing to help kids (and adults) learn how to write code using an approach that is condusive to fast learning. You can see their work here: Learn | Code.org. A somewhat differing point of view is here: Thread: Why you should learn to code.  I say “somewhat” because while Winer agrees with the notion of more people coding, he disagrees with how this is being promoted by code.org.

I think there are lots of reasons to learn to code: it’s a creative activity, it helps you understand technology better, it can help you get ahead in life, and it can be fun. I don’t think everyone has to learn to code, just like everyone doesn’t have to learn to sing or draw or other creative tasks. People may be anxious about their kids being computer illerate, but that fear has been around since the early days of personal computers and it was always an overblown fear. Learn to code for the goodness it brings, not because you fear something if you don’t learn.