Saturday Morning Reads #3 (free stuff, git resources, blogging and public speaking)

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. :) Gift Ideas For the last minute gift seekers among us, some techie gift ideas from Scott Hanselman and John Sonmez. Free Stuff Depending on your MSDN account, you can access either 30 or 45 Pluralsight courses for free. As you might expect, since it’s sponsored by Microsoft, they’re all relevant to Microsoft (C#, Azure, Visual Studio, etc). I like Pluralsight »

Saturday Morning Reads #2

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. :) If we’re lucky, we get to do what we enjoy and improve lives at the same time. Matthew Schroeder is helping his son learn how to interact with others socially. Matthew Learned iOS to Build a Valuable App For His Son With Autism (Treehouse) How well does a college degree really prepare you? My professors were nice, but most didn’t »

HacktoberFest, and Making My First OSS Contributions

All last month, DigitalOcean carried out an event called HacktoberFest. In their own words… HacktoberFest is a month-long event encouraging people to contribute to GitHub-hosted open source projects, whether by fixing bugs, creating new features, or updating and writing documentation. More significantly, t-shirts were involved. And stickers. Developers love them some swag. And we’re pretty much suckers for any kind of prize if it means proudly lording it over our fellow developers for a little while. In hopes of inspiring each other, of course. DigitalOcean didn’t leave people to flounder about looking for projects either. They worked with »

Saturday Morning Reads #1

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. :) “Can you imagine … if everyone who ever created anything waited until they were an expert to do so? Half of the things we have today wouldn’t exist.” ~ Stacey Roberts, The Five Words You Need to Hear When You Feel Like You’re Not Good Enough “If you work to minimize criticism, you have surrendered the beauty and greatness of what you’ »

The Beauty and Joy of Computing (mooc), and My First Snap! Script

“The Beauty and Joy of Computing” (BJC) is a new mooc that started just a few weeks ago. Dan Garcia has been teaching it at UC Berkeley for awhile, and now it’s available on edX. Discover the big ideas and thinking practices in computer science plus learn how to code using one of the friendliest programming languages, Snap! (based on Scratch). We’ve been working on this course for more than two years, with the help of a grant from edX, and more than fifty outstanding undergraduates at UC Berkeley. I enrolled early on, forgot about it (happens sometimes! »

5 free resources for improving your programming skills

There are two truths about programming that didn’t sink in (for me) for several years: We have to be life-long learners. There are a lot of people who will help us along the way. (And eventually, we can return the favor!) Okay, we don’t have to keep learning. No one’s going to force you or me. The number of small businesses running legacy apps is only going to increase as time goes on, so chances are many of us can just keep on keepin’ on. Programming the next GUI interface using Visual Basic to track IP addresses. »

Charles Townes, The Laser, and Fostering Curiosity

When I hear about a discovery or invention, it sometimes seems inevitable that the people involved should’ve ended up where they were, doing what they did, as if they were handed the situation or the whole thing were preordained. At the very least, I don’t give much thought to what in their lives led them to that eventual point of discovery. I doubt I’m alone in this. In science, there is usually no cold, objective inevitability to discovery or the accumulation of knowledge, no overarching logic that controls or determines events. . . . One has ideas, does experiments, meets »

Setting up Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine (VMWare Player or Hyper-V Manager)

Windows 10 was officially released on July 30. You can download Windows 10 from Microsoft, but note that you will need a valid key to install it. There’s been some confusion about what Microsoft meant by “free upgrade”. Or you can download it from your MSDN account if you have one. The “multiple editions” option (4 GB download) worked for me (currently named “en_windows_10_multiple_editions_x64_dvd_6846432.iso”). If you’re not ready to take the plunge and update your PC yet, here are general instructions on how to configure a virtual machine, two different »

A (somewhat brief) intro to Code Katas, TDD and Red-Green-Refactor

Every few months, a nearby user group does a code kata du jour. Everyone pairs up, and uses common practices like TDD and red-green-refactor. A couple weeks ago, I was partnered with someone who hadn’t done this before, so I had the opportunity to talk him through it. Assuming you’re in the same boat (maybe you’re going to a user group where you’ll be doing a kata for the first time), you might be wondering what to expect when you get there. Contents 1 Let’s define some terms first 1.1 What is a Unit »

Weeks 5 and 6 of HTML5 with the W3C – New inputs! Forming forms! All the APIs!

The HTML5 class ended a few days ago. The last couple of weeks were a whirl-wind of new information, covering Forms and APIs. The new APIs are really interesting, allowing you to cache data (sans cookies), manipulate files, use geolocation, and more. Forms, on the other hand… I mean, they’re Forms. No matter how you dress that up, or how clever you try to get with it, you’re still just collecting information from someone. YAWN So here are a few things that piqued my interest these last couple weeks. Contents 1 Pseudo-classes 2 Web Storage 3 Data URLs »