Tag Archives: @elcelcius

Coding – it isn’t how you speak it’s what you say

For a bit of a change of scenery I have been tinkering about with Code Academy, codeacademy a site that provides interactive courses that teach you how to code in different languages…… FOR FREE!  So far I have had a play with JavaScript and a bit of php.

I am also about half way through my computer science course (edX’s CS50 Introduction to Computer Science), we are still working in C language but I have got to a point where we are making programs that create windows with graphics in.  My last assignment was to make the game Breakout, you know the one with the bat and a ball and a wall of bricks to destroy?

Break Out
My version of Breakout created in C

I really am enjoying learning to code but there is something more important happening underneath all of this.  I have had a bit of a epiphany / light bulb / trumpety “herald the age of enlightenment” moment.  Coding isn’t about learning a whole language, so much as forming a set of ideas about how to make the computer do what you want it to.  Once you have this idea, you can set about pulling it apart to understand and then input the components that form the idea.  Whether in C or JavaScript or php the inputting seems all rather similar and familiar even though some of the terminology / semantics are different.  It is kind of like introducing yourself in different countries, the words of the language may be unfamiliar, the structure may be different but the basic idea is the same, you refer to yourself (I or my),  include a word for name (or am called), and give your name.

I can’t praise the course CS50x enough, I feel it is really giving me a base of how to think and problem solve.  This is such a positive feeling for me, going back a few months I was really intimidated by the enormity of what there is to learn in this field.   A combination of the confidence the course has given me, a realisation (yet again!) that I don’t have to know or learn every minute detailed thing, just the important bits – the concepts, the ideas, the frameworks rather than masses and masses of information and terminology.   It also helps that the IT-Rex keeps reminding me about this invention called the internet, apparently there are numerous resources on there or something….. Ahem!

I realise this post might be stating the obvious a wee bit but I am just so pleased I have started to get the point and am quite excited about what happens next.

I *heart* Twitter

I have been making a concerted effort to start exploring and using different pieces of software, applications, technology and perhaps MOST importantly read more.  The past few years have been dedicated to and completely devoured by my two small daughters, they are turning out pretty good so I don’t feel badly about this but it has meant that there has not been a lot of spare time to do anything “extracurricular”.  This has meant some things have passed me by, Twitter for example.

Twitter_logo_blue

I had previously passed off the IT-Rex’s sales pitch for Twitter, mainly as I just didn’t get it. I have a Facebook account and didn’t quite see why or how I would use Twitter, or why it was so interesting.  I did not feel I had space in my life for another social networking thingamy.

I set up my Twitter account around the same time as setting up this site.  I thought if I was going to be tinkering around in this field then I should be as informed a user of all things “web” or “app” as I could be.  I still did not quite get the gist of it at first, the constant stream of information seemed a bit overwhelming.  Then  something clicked, I think I got out of “Facebook” mode and realised my timeline was full of delicious little  scanable snippets,  some of which are exactly what they are (a couple of lines of text), some there to inform and tempt you in to something  bigger, but you can dip in or dip out.  I also started reading and scrolling upwards on my timeline – revelation!  It might sound silly but I had been getting cross with Twitter for not taking me to the top of the page and scrolling myself up only to read downwards (feel free to tease me about my stupidity, I know, I know!).  Then the realisation came that you can search to see what people are saying about pretty much anything(!) and tag your own posts to be viewed by anyone and everyone, using the amazing, marvellous #hashtag.

eltwitter

One of my posts to Twitter (tagging my CS50x course and the Scratch course) led to over a hundred people I don’t know (and therefore with no obligation) to visit my blog in the space of 24hours.  I think the IT-Rex found my elation at my increasing visitor count most quaintly amusing, but it was like magic that these people somehow happened upon my tweet and then took the time to come visit, how lovely is that?*

I have added a page of my Twitterings to the site as I have been using it to share some articles and interesting bits and bobs and here is hoping for more of these successful experiments!  Hmmmm turns out the 640 million or so Twitter users are on to something.

* by the way I also think it is lovely that people I do know visit my blog  (so thank you very much peeps!) and no one is actually obliged to come apart from my husband who would never hear the end of it if he didn’t.