Week 3 of HTML5 with the W3Cx/edX - Canvases

Week 3 of the Learn HTML5 from W3C course taught us about the Canvas element, along with the shapes you can draw on it and how it can be manipulated. These work in the major browsers (except for IE, ugh). Graph Sample This first sample is a simple graph I created. It demonstrates manipulating the current context (such as translating, rotating and changing the opacity), as well as listening to events and taking action (in this case, the “input” events on the sliders). It needs work – the top of the graph is cut off slightly, probably due to some faulty »

Week 2 of HTML5 from the W3C - Creating Videos

Just finished up week 2 of the Learn HTML5 course authored by Michel Buffa and the W3C, and frankly it’s kicking my butt. It’s my fault. I’m trying to not just passively read the material, but to put what I’m learning to use. Last week, I latched on to microdata, installing a new plugin for my blog, and checking out what kind of meta data it added to the source code. This week, the focus was on media elements, specifically the Video and Audio elements. Since Audio is basically a subset of the Video element, I »

Learning about HTML5 from the W3C (on edX)

I just finished up the first week of the new Learn HTML5 course, designed by the W3C for the edX platform (under the name W3Cx). It’s a collaborative effort between Michel Buffa (professor at the University of Nice, France) and Marie-Claire Forgue (head of training at the W3C), as well as quite a few others in the W3C. There are over 60000 enrollees, so there’s obviously a lot of interest in HTML5, which at its release last year was the first major update to the spec in well over a decade. The W3C and Certification I’ve gone »

Is your degree worth the paper it's printed on?

What defines the value of a thing? Gold and silver were just metals until people agreed to use them as a commodity for trade. A 2.5″ x 3.5″ piece of paper is a scrap, until two people agree it’s worth a million bucks. A penny is only worth 1¢, until someone comes along who’s willing to trade 2.5 million pennies for that single penny. So it’s more a question of who defines the value of a thing, rather than what. And the answer is, we all do. For anything to be worth more than »

Be Fearless in Learning New Things

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m just not a computer person”? How many times have you said it, about other things? I do, all the time. I may not always say it out loud, but it’s there. “I’m not a cooking person.” “I’m not a car person.” Maybe it’s partly laziness… it can certainly appear that way on the surface. But it’s based on fear too. Fear of failure. Fear of wasting our time when we know we’re not good at it anyway. Fear of someone laughing at us for »

Chrome Extensions: A Peek Under the Hood

Are you curious about what exactly is in those Chrome extensions and apps you use? Have you ever installed something from the Chrome web store and wondered just what exactly it’s doing? (You should.) Maybe you’re curious how a feature was developed, or you’re looking for ideas. Maybe you’re concerned about the numerous permissions it’s requesting, or you’ve read some disconcerting reviews and you’re worried about what the developer may be doing without your knowledge. Any time we install software, we place ourselves at someone else’s mercy. Yes, bugs happen. At best, »

An Introduction to NDepend

No single person (or team) can know everything about a large codebase. Developers come and go, taking knowledge with them. Legacy code grows and mutates, as bugs are fixed and new features reluctantly touch old code. Deadlines loom, and changes aren’t adequately tested. Eventually, even when the code appears to be running okay, you’re never completely *sure where the land mines are. Experience has taught you that someone *will step on one… it’s just a matter of time. That’s why we have certain tools and practices, like unit tests, regression testing, load testing, continuous build servers… »

Being a judge for the first "Believe in Ohio" competition

I recently participated as a judge in the first Believe in Ohio regional competition, where students present plans for new products and technology, in the hopes of taking home some of the nearly $2 million available in cash awards and college scholarships. Believe in Ohio is a free new program from the Ohio Academy of Science that helps high school students prepare for the future.  The program was developed in collaboration with Entrepreneurial Engagement Ohio with the support of the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio General Assembly.  Believe in Ohio is the only Ohio student STEM Education Program »