The eli4d Gazette – Issue 010

Issue 010: 2016-07-20

Tech Pick

I came across a Peter Norvig article. It’s an interesting article and perspective that focuses on using deliberate practice on the craft of programming. Of course, the assumption is that one is approaching programming as a craft.

Freakonomics had two episodes about deliberate practice. The first episode is a conversation with the research psychologist (Andres Ericsson) that studied it. The second (bonus) episode is a conversation with the man who popularized the concept of deliberate practice (i.e. Malcolm Gladwell) and the differences between what he wrote about and what Andres’ research revealed.

Media Pick

The 99% Invisible podcast hits it out of the park with an episode about intentional unpleasant design in public spaces. The Unpleasant Design book looks like quite an interesting read.

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The eli4d Gazette – Issue 009

Issue 009: 2016-07-06

Tech Pick

I love O’Reilly’s Head First Series programming books. The series uses some great pedagogical concepts to teach learners in a visual and fun way. Of course like any book series, there are some good ones, and there are some less than good ones.

I’ve recently started going through Head First Ruby by Jay McGavern after hearing Jay on the episode 216 of the Ruby on Rails podcast. It’s been excellent so far, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning Ruby and also dabbling with Sinatra.

Media Pick

Text (including emoji) rules the lives of both users and programmers. Whether you’re writing a paper or whether using iMessage to send bubble effects. Consequently, programming and character encoding spell lots of pain and frustration for developers. File system geek John Siracusa provides some great information about Unicode and the difficulties of file naming in episode 175 of the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP).

The eli4d Gazette – Issue 008

Issue 008: 2016-06-22

Tech Pick

For the longest time, Internet Explorer 6 represented to me the epitome…the core of Microsoft as a company. To me, the soul and goal of IE6 were a perfect parallel to Microsoft as a company. Then everything changed with the hiring of Satya Nadella in 2014. Now granted, Microsoft had already had lots of initiatives in the pipeline but Satya has been instrumental in elevating projects that go beyond Microsoft’s operating system and other core products. I’m not sure what product best parallels Microsoft’s soul and goal these days, perhaps it is TypeScript, or maybe it’s Bash on Ubuntu on Windows. It’s certainly not IE6 anymore, and I can’t help but feel some sense of admiration for this leviathan.

My tech picks revolve around three podcast episodes that show this monumental change within Microsoft:

  • The first one is a JavaScript Jabber TypeScript episode with Anders Hejlsberg. Anders Hejlsberg is the core creator of Turbo Pascal which is a pretty amazing in terms of Microsoft’s hiring. After listening to this episode, I put TypeScript on my (rather long) “awesome stuff to explore” list. Some choices points in this podcast:
    • 08:11: “There’s state of the art JavaScript, and then there’s state of the web JavaScript, and there’s a gap in between, and that’s the gap that we aim to fill.”
    • 35:55: What skills do you need as a language designer?
    • 36:29: “If it’s simple, it’s easy to understand.”
    • 38:46: “If you had an unlimited budget and time resource – what kind of language would you design today?”
    • 41:54: Is the future of JavaScript (in terms of the creation of large JavaScript applications) found through other languages that are transpiled to JavaScript? (Hejlsberg makes an interesting point about a superset language such as TypeScript)
  • Imagine getting a cheap win10 laptop and firing up a bash shell as well as getting access to all kinds of goodness like Ruby, Python, and Node. This reality is almost here, and you can find out more through this excellent Changelog episode: Ubuntu Everywhere with Dustin Kirkland
  • TypeScript and Angular 2 sitting in a tree c o o p e r a t i n g – another JavaScript Jabber episode where a Googler from the Angular team discusses the changes in Angular 2 while being at Microsoft’s Build conference

Media Pick

The Changelog had an interesting episode with a blind programmer in terms of tools used, carving his own path in this field, and dealing with various restrictions and biases in his country of birth.

The eli4d Gazette – Issue 007

Issue 007: 2016-06-08

Tech Pick

I’ve been really enjoying Julia Evan’s charming technical blog. Julia describes her blog as:

AFAICT, the theme is “things Julia has learned recently”, which can be anything from Huffman coding to how to be happy when working in a remote job. When the posts are on a topic I don’t already know, I learn something new. When they’re on a topic I know, they remind me that the topic is exciting and contains a lot of wonder and mystery.

I like Julia’s ability to put herself out there in terms of what she’s learning and in honestly expressing her current thinking. She walks the path between the beginner’s mind and the beginning expert.

I liked the following recent article which fully shows Julia’s voice and enthusiasm, you might like it too: http://jvns.ca/blog/2016/05/29/three-ways-to-solve-hard-programming-problems/

Media Pick

I’m a big fan of The Changelog podcast, and they’ve recently introduced a brand new podcast about the Go programming language. The new podcast is called Go Time. It still getting its ‘legs’ but it has great promise. To access the show beyond the podcast:

If you’re wondering about Go: Go is a C-like language with a focus on conciseness, simplicity, and safety. I like the ability to easily run Go programs on every operating system. An example of such a program is the amazing Caddy web server.

The eli4d Gazette – Issue 006

Issue 006: 2016-05-25

A Slightly Tech Pick (human and machine protocols)

For this issue, I’ve picked a perhaps depressing topic – death. Death from two aspects. They’re not mirrors of each other or related to each other except by the thread of death.

The first aspect is an article called “A Protocol for Dying” by Peter Hintjens. When it comes to cancer, there is no protocol for communication. There are default settings and a crap-load of attempts at encouragement and ‘positivity’. I like Peter’s approach to cancer-related communication in terms of a protocol, no different than HTTP. I know it sounds ridiculous but when the sh*t hits the fan – no one knows how to speak to a person that has cancer. The “Talking to a Dying Person” section is pure gold.

The second aspect is an article about men and the nature of grief. It’s a heart-wrenching article on many levels, and it reflects about some faulty society norms around grief.

Media Pick

My media pick relates to Peter Hintjens and his core work in building communities. He spoke of his effort and approach on the Ruby Rogues podcast – Episode 188. It is an eye-opening discussion about the community around an open source project (ZeroMQ), but it greatly relates to communities in general. A written encapsulation of his ideas and approach to community building can be found on his blog in this extensive article.

The eli4d Gazette – Issue 005

Hello Friend,

Welcome to Issue 005 of the eli4d Gazette. You can find the newsletter archive at http://tinyletter.com/eli4d/archive and the blog at eli4d.com.

Have a great day!

Eli (@eli4d)


The eli4d Gazette

Issue 005: 2016-05-11

Quick note about upcoming online JavaScript: Registration is opening on this coming Monday (5/16) for my online beginning programming JavaScript course that I am teaching. I will be covering JavaScript fundamentals. For course content info – check out the syllabus.

Tech Pick

Encryption has been a topic of debate from the early Clipper Chip days to now. But is encryption the issue or is it more about device access. Steve Gibson discusses the important difference in his The “Encryption” Debate article. Encryption is math, and this (math) long been out of its bottle. Making encryption intentionally weak makes everyone vulnerable. Strong encryption with lawful and mediated access is the key (pun intended :-)).

Media Pick

So this may seem like a somewhat crazy pick, but it truly is one of the best presentations that I have ever seen (I came across this through John Gruber’s site). It is 4 minutes and 31 seconds of pure awesome with a gentleman named Joe Smith who presents a TED talk on how to use a paper towel. There’s, of course, the ‘reduce waste’ message. But there’s much more from a pedagogical point where Mr. Smith demos his point several times (the repetition concept in play that’s reinforcing and entertaining) while engaging the audience, and giving them ways to remember his approach easily.

The eli4d Gazette – Issue 004

Hello Friend,

Welcome to Issue 004 of the eli4d Gazette. You can find the newsletter archive at http://tinyletter.com/eli4d/archive and the blog at eli4d.com.

Have a great day!

Eli (@eli4d)


The eli4d Gazette

Issue 004: 2016-04-27

Tech Pick

In the previous issue I jokingly mentioned the difficulty of choosing among JavaScript frameworks and the fact that every day there seems to be yet another JavaScript framework. I’ve been thinking about this, and how to choose a framework (whether in JavaScript or another language) and I wrote this article where I discuss a more ‘feeling’ based approach besides the pragmmatic approach that I wrote about previously.

Media Pick

What do economic majors speak about at a bar? You can find out the answer by listening to this Imaginary Worlds episode discussing the economics of Game of Thrones, Firefly, and The Martian. It is 19 minutes of gold for those that are interested in fiction with a slight dab of economics on the side.