Every day, every moment, is an opportunity to learn

Reviewing the Basics Helps Us See the Light

I enjoy finding the occasional online mooc to participate in, as time permits, even if it’s something I’m already familiar with. Hearing or reading about an old concept in a slightly different way can bring new insights, make us rethink something we’ve been taking for granted, or just help us make a new connection. “Don’t assume that just because you can get something to work once,...

Find Your Reason to Code

I signed up for a moderate-paced mooc through edX a few weeks ago, and while it’s not too late to join, you’d have to hustle to catch up at this point. It’s an intro to computer science, but its heavy focus on Python is what interested me. Finding a Reason to Code There are too many languages out there to bother trying to learn them all. Some are ancient but...

Naming Things Well is Much Harder Than Just Adding One More Comment

When I was taking programming classes in college, comments were all the rage. Most of the solutions I handed in had one function (or very few), with comments above the class, above each function, within each function. Everywhere. Instructors wanted lots of comments. In retrospect, I’m not sure why. Maybe so that if the code was off, they could still give partial credit, like...

Creating a Flickering Candle Using an RGB LED on the Raspberry Pi

After getting PWM (pulse-width modulation) to work with an RGB LED last week, I was trying to think of what else I could do with an LED that demonstrated changes in color as well as intensity. I’m not sure why – maybe it was because we lost power in our neighborhood recently – but I thought a flickering candle could be an...

Once I was Afraid

Some time ago, I came across a post by Charlie Kindel entitled Once I was Afraid. It’s a brief reflection on what he’s accomplished over the years – some big, others small, but all opportunities to rise to a challenge and meet it. Like Charlie, I tend to see things I don’t yet understand as black boxes. The less I understand something...

Creating a “Simon” Game Clone on the Raspberry Pi

Have you been around long enough to remember the popular Simon game from the 70s and 80s? There’ve been plenty of remakes over the years, but I had one of the originals when I was younger. It’s a game of patterns that tests your memory. It flashes a color and sounds a corresponding tone, which you repeat. Then it repeats the same color/tone and adds...

How to Develop Python in Visual Studio… and Mix it Up with the .NET Framework!

I’ve been learning about the Raspberry Pi for a few months, occasionally writing about it. I usually start on a laptop using JetBrains’ PyCharm IDE, which is much faster than the Pi, then move everything over when it’s done and I need to run it against the GPIO pins. But Visual Studio was my main coding environment for years, and I got really comfortable...

Saturday Morning Reads #4

I read so many good articles during the week, stuff that’s so much better than anything I could dream up. Every week or two, I’ll share some of the more thoughtful and inspiring ones on here. :) Changing perspectives on your job – Will you renew your boss for another season? I read this one from Scott Hanselman a year and a half...