It’s the Fourth of July in America and while most people are prepping for their annual picnic, bbq and fireworks – we’re just lazily waiting for the time to leave to join friends for a get together. (I cooked and prepped all yesterday so I’m good.)
Anyway, I’ve been lazy this past week and need to keep learning code so I’m turning to Hour of Code from Code Studio, which has fun ways to teach beginners at any age to learn to code. Sure it’s easier than taking some of the other code courses online but if you’re having a “slow brain” day and you want to keep the momentum of learning – take a mental break and do one of these tutorials. It’s fun, not very hard on the head and a good way for your kids to get involved in the process of learning.
By the way, how many hours does your kids sit and watch TV or play games on their electronic devices? Which is better, have your kids play mindless games with no results at the end? Or to have them learn that what they love doing (playing games) can teach them the building blocks of coding? Well, I’ll speak for myself, I like to keep moving forward so this makes for a good blog post too.
If you (or kids) don’t want to read the instructions there are short videos to watch of people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates giving you info. Did you know that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer jobs and not enough people trained in computer science or programming? That gives more people without a CS degree but with experience an opportunity to get into the field of coding. Go on, give it a try, if anything it will help you think differently about what goes on behind your smart phone and that tablet them young’ins keep playing with. #
Here’s another site I just learned about that is all FREE! Love that! Their goal is to teach you how to code to help non-profits and to help you learn enough to change careers and find a job as a software engineer. You can join other Free Code Campers on Facebook and learn locally by looking at this link. FCC is even listed on LinkedIn as an educational institution. Check them out and start learning along with other sites like CodeAcademy.
Technology changes quickly and versions of computer programs and languages are just as quick to be modified and created. Not only has technology changed but the people who are doing it are no longer typical math and science majors. Because of the web and the endless about of information and sharing, there are more and more self-taught programmers, coders, hackers and developers emerging – so what’s the difference in the names?
The terms that are used loosely in the non-tech world can and are used interchangeably (coder, programmer, hacker – although often thought of negatively – nerd, techie, etc) – these names don’t mean the same thing to some in the tech world. For that reason I did a little research and found a post with definitions which I’ll place here as I like the simplicity – thanks to Scott Hanselman’s blog.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CODER, A HACKER, A PROGRAMMER, A DEVELOPER, AND A COMPUTER SCIENTIST?
These words might all mean the same thing to you. Perhaps you hear geek, nerd, and dweeb, but we all know these have very important differences. Knowing the differences also can give you a sense of how deep you want to go on your coding adventure.
Coders – Can pretty much figure out it. It’ll work, but it won’t be pretty.
Hackers – usually low level folks, skillful, with detailed understanding of some area deeply, often scarily deeply.
Programmer – Write code and understand algorithms. Often work alone and well.
Developer – Are the best generalists, can use lots of different systems and languages and get them to talk to each other. Are true and broad professionals, work with people, and communicate well.
Computer Scientist – Need to be able to prove how computers work, at a theoretical level. Are usually math people also.
With my social work and communication’s background I may be more of a developer, wanna be hacker/coder, but I have a little bit of programmer, computer scientist in me. That said, I’ll reserve the true definition of where I’m going, when I get there.
So I’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to learn more in-depth web coding. I’ve taken a few courses here and there and was always distracted by one thing or another. In addition, many of the sites that I’ve gone to have courses that weren’t as complete as I needed them to be. Finally I heard about Team Treehouse at the last WordCamp in Orlando. The speaker talked about not having enough time to go back to college for four years to learn how to be a programmer but needing and wanting to change his career. I’ve always wanted to learn to code and it can help benefit some of the work that I do in my present job and with the job market being the way it is, web design and development has always been attractive to me, so I checked it out and decided to use a link for a free first month. The basic program is only $25/month, I have a link here that you can get your first two weeks free: click on this link for a trial of Treehouse Learn to Code.
That said, I decided to start with Front End Wed Development – the program is very comprehensive and manageable while working full-time and taking care of family responsibilities. After working a full day, and training for a 5k every-other day, when the day has winded down, I’ll sit at my laptop with an additional monitor (not needed but helpful). I’ll watch the video which each session is 6 to 10 minutes long (give or take) and I’ll have the text editor program open, this is also a built in program so I don’t have to download anything and I don’t get distracted like other courses, Treehouse is all inclusive for this particular course. This course is 21 hours long, I take about 30 to 90 minutes a day with a series of videos and short quizzes which help me to be sure I understand the content.
I also wanted to be sure I get some solid basics in WordPress; although I’ve been using both the dot com and the dot org version of WordPress, I felt like I didn’t have a systematic way of putting together websites if I wanted to self-host on a dot org site. My goal for a project at work will consist of putting together a Forum with instructional videos and text content. It’s a large project considering I’ve never tackled anything like it and I could try to do it without knowing code as I have in the past but I want to learn more and learning on Treehouse tracks are sort of addicting, I want to continue to learn more and figure out the code. I guess you could call me a geek but I feel as I have so much more to learn especially since I don’t have formal training in coding.
My ultimate goal is to be able to create websites using WordPress for organizations, businesses, ministries and myself so that I don’t need to be dependent on a programmer. I want to be able to use my new skills to work for myself if I need or want to earn extra money and I want to be able to help others (non-profits) have a web presence with basics so they can share whatever it is they wish to share.
It’s a big goal for myself but from what I’ve been reading and seeing around me, there are a lot of so-call “self-taught” coders – mainly learning online through various programs like Team Treehouse. For now I’m thinking I’d like to specialize in Web Design and Development and use WordPress to create most of it. I think if I learn the basics in the Front End course I’ll be able to offer clients more than if I only learn WordPress.
After that, there are courses in developing apps for iOs and Android, Ruby on Rails, PHP, Phthon and Starting a Business – which I’ll definitely take. There are a number of other courses that are offered and if you get the higher level of membership for $49 a month, you’ll have more options of learning. There’s even a section on Career Resources and a discount hosting site for you to work on your courses for only $25 a year, (don’t forget to input the discount code for an additional saving) that’s a steal, to work on course projects and not have to pay for the high prices other hosting sites have.
I’ll be writing more as I learn more and go through the programs. Later, after I’ve finished at least one of the courses all the way through, I’ll look at Code School’s online courses, I heard it’s for more advanced learning and they were also merged with another large online company. Looking forward to investing the time.
Top 5 things to think about when writing for the internet
1. Make a to-do list: “top five things” “10 best things” regarding your topic, think outline – easy and quick info so you don’t lose your reader.
2. Start off “free-writing”. This is an exercise where you write by hand (best as you’re not tempted by spell check and grammar check constantly underlining words you either misspelled or in grammatically incorrect. If you must type – just type whatever comes to mind on the topic you are writing about and don’t edit until you’ve got all your ideas out on paper, or computer.
3. KISS – some say Keep it Simple Stupid, others say Keep It Simple Sweetheart – that’s just a nice way to say, don’t repeat yourself. You’re not in grade school where you need to create a 500 word essay and by the time you finish your outline (200 words) you try to repeat what you just said.
4. While we’re on the topic of Outlines, that’s exact what you need to do. Write an outline and stick to it. Bullet points and numbering “top 5 or top 10” and your topic – okay so I repeated #1 but you will thank me. KISS.
5. Don’t write like you’re writing a research paper. Online where Content is King. And ADD is not just a diagnosis for kids. The attention span of anyone online is to decide if they will read past your headline. Don’t summarize, say what you’re going to say, then point out each subject, then tell them what you said – just say it!
I hope you are doing well. I just wanted to drop you a note and thank you again for taking time out of your trip to Hawaii – to shop and mail me goodies from back home. The reason I bring this up, is that I wanted to a share a story with you.
In early April, I received a message that my Aunt Violet (my mom’s sister, who lives in Alabama) had gone into a coma. I last saw her in person this past summer with my husband and stepdaughter. Aunt Violet was similar to my mom, and since my mom passed in 1993 at the age of 58, I was quite close to this aunt, even though we lived far from each other.
Several times a year I would mail my Aunt – dried shrimp, fish, poi, etc and my Uncle Fred, her husband loved the Chocolate Mac nuts. So, when I moved from HI to Orlando a little over a year ago, this became a little difficult. I’m thankful that you took the extra time to get a few more things on my shopping list, like the dry poi and dried seafood, so I could then mail it to her at the end of March – for her birthday, which was April 8. She usually calls me when she gets letters or boxes from me; however, I got busy and forgot about it.
On April 4, I received a message from my cousin that my Aunt had been in a coma for several days. I drove out the next day. When I got there, she was sitting up in a wheelchair, asleep, with a plate of food in front of her. I couldn’t get any info from the staff and my Uncle who doesn’t hear well to use a phone, was probably going to the airport to pick up his son as he too wasn’t there.
Anyway, I was there for about 5 or 6 hours, my uncle didn’t show, and I had to start my drive back to FL as I had a meeting in a couple days (it’s about a 11-12 hr drive). While talking with my Aunt, who was always alert and oriented, I realized that she had no memory of me, nor many of her ten brothers and sisters, nor any memory of my mom or that my mom had passed. My Aunt kept repeating herself and didn’t want to eat. All she asked me for was a Coke to help settle her stomach. She slept and I sat with her. I went outside to call my family so they would know we must have received the wrong info as she wasn’t in a coma but had lost much of her memory and wasn’t eating.
As I said goodbye to her I realized that I might never see her again. I prayed with her and hugged her. She looked much like my mom. It was a difficult time. When I returned home, I heard that she did eat some poi and dried shrimp. That made my day.
Last week I got word that my Aunt Violet passed away on Wed, April 28. I was in disbelief, yet I was thankful for the time I got to spend with her. I also remembered that one of the few things that always brought her job, was fish and poi; and at the end that’s also the one thing she ate was dried shrimp and poi.
This was made possible, because of you, my friend. I am indebted to you for your hospitality, your time, and spirit of sharing. Thank you for providing a favorite meal, probably some of the last bits of food and memories of Hawaii – to my 85 yr old Auntie. I appreciate you and know that even the small acts of kindness, can have a long lasting and wide effect then you may ever know.
2 May 2010
There are tons of social networking sites. Managing each site separately can be a bear. Whether you joined the various sites for personal or professional reasons, social media can get out of hand.
Some people join social networks because of their friends, others come upon social media as part of their job or working on promoting a project.
Many newbie’s wonder, “Why do I need multiple social networking accounts?” The answer is simple, to gain a bigger audience to get your message out.
Even if you’re just on social media to keep in contact with friends and family, you’ll realize that some people favor one social site over another. The simplicity and ease of management is also determined by applications for cell phones, as most people carry their phones with them more than they log on to a computer.
Most people realize very soon that it’s difficult to manage every network with the same information. Here’s a list of a ten tips to help manage your top social networking sites. For simplicity, these tips are primarily to manage Facebook, Twitter, a WordPress blog, and Posterous. Other online sites mentioned here are to help you manage multiple accounts on the various sites. Soon, you’ll be on your way to regaining your “real” life, versus just Tweeting, or updating your Status on Facebook – about, what you wish you had time to do.
1.Create a personal profile on Facebook. If you are promoting another site or want to build your name online, than please use your real name, first and last – with a middle name or initial if you have a common name. If you are a business, you should still have a personal Facebook profile, and then create a “Fan Page” for your business.
2.Create at least one account with Twitter using your real name. Again, if you have a business, you can set up an additional Twitter account, specifically with your business name.
3.Research which blog site you would like to use for your blog account. You don’t need to learn coding or programming. There are many free blog sites, compare and contrast. The easiest is Posterous.com. WordPress.com hosts WordPress or you can self-host using WordPress.org – however you would need a more technical knowledge. WordPress is arguably the best blog/website tool should you choose to monetize your site. You could also use Blogger.com or TypePad.com.
4.Start with the easiest and fastest site set-up: Posterous.com. Even if you have a blog somewhere else, Posterous is important in reducing the amount of time you spend on social networking and can gain you new followers/readers to your monetized blog or website.
5.Once you set up a Posterous account, you can link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Posterous. Whatever you post to Posterous can also post to your Twitter, Facebook, and many other social networking sites.
6.Go to Hootsuite.com and create an account. Hootsuite is a great free tool that allows you to manage multiple accounts for Facebook profiles, fan pages, Twitter, WordPress.
7.Schedule future posts and tweets on Hootsuite. You could create your tweets, status updates, and blog posts to post in the future. Which means you could sit down for a couple of hours once a week and create your content, schedule it, and not go back to your social networking sites until the next scheduled time that you need to give to manage your sites.
8.If you have multiple Twitter accounts and one Facebook account – create an account with TweetDeck.com. TweetDeck also has an iPhone application. The difference between TweetDeck and Hootsuite is that TweetDeck only allows you to manage one Facebook profile, and no fan pages that you may have created. In addition, it does not allow you to schedule your posts for future dates. However if you’re just want to see all the current tweets and status updates – in order to comment and engage with followers, it’s easy to view and manage.
9.Depending on the type of phone you have, see if you can add an application for Facebook and Twitter. As mentioned before iPhone has TweetDeck so you would only need memory space for one application. Most smart phones have the applications for Facebook and Twitter which would allow you to reply to direct messages and view current posts when you have time, especially if you’re going to schedule your posts once a week, these applications allow you to interact on a daily basis without having to worry about creating content.
10.Set aside time every day or once a week dedicated to managing your social networks using Hootsuite or TweetDeck. Set aside a separate time to write to create content for your blog. Better yet, once you write your blog if you follow the tips mentioned your blog and Facebook can automatically post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Go to Facebook and add the WordPress application within Facebook so that it posts for you automatically – you would need to add a
11.Here’s a bonus tip – have fun! Build relationships, generate ideas, that’s what social networking is really about – and if you gain a friend, customer, or buy something – it’s the same as talking to your neighbor, only you can talk to the entire neighborhood all at the same time!
Organizing tons of ideas – is your brain on overload? Do you have so many thoughts and ideas whirling through your brain you just can’t see how to organize it all – get it out of your mind and writing it down just doesn’t cut it. What do you do once that’s done? Try one or both of these great free tools.
Freemind:A mind mapper, and at the same time an easy-to-operate hierarchical editor with strong emphasis on folding. These two are not really two different things, just two different descriptions of a single application. Often used for knowledge and content management.
FreeMind has made it as the finalist for the 2009 Community Choice Award in the category “Most likely to change the way you do everything”!! Thanks for your trust in our project. Now, you can finally vote for it under 2009 Community Choice Award Finalists.
I’ve used this tool for a few years. It’s great, you download it to your computer and start ‘mind dumping’ – once you’ve got ideas down – it’s a spider web effect – you can then move the ideas around and start organizing it. What I love about this program is that you don’t need to “think” in order of the ideas, you can just write down all your thoughts in each “bubble” and then sort to categories. This works great when you’re trying to organize an any one topic, or many topics. For example, I wanted to get all the ideas I might have for articles I want to write about. I just started writing all the single word topics down and then categorized it by broader topics.
There’s a new release candidate 7 for FreeMind 0.9.0 – which I’m going to download now and play with. I’ll write a review on that later as I start working on it.
Today I found that there’s another great tool called the Dabbleboard. Go to their site and check out the Dabbleboard Tour – if that doesn’t excite you I’m not sure what will. Dabbleboard describes their free software as an “an online whiteboard that will help you visualize, explore and communicate ideas.” This is great for business, school, functions, churches, almost anything where you need to get your thoughts down and work toward a goal. I LOVE IT – Okay, I’m a detail, organizer – freak – and a geek – lol.
I can’t wait to start using it and I’ll let you know how it goes. This news is too hot to wait for me to start working on it to review, so I thought I’d share it with you and let you get started on your ideas and I’ll start what Mr. Genuine does, uses the word in pretty much all he posts. I’ll use the word “original”. Get out there, try it and get all your original ideas out – move it!
*This article was originally written for my Posterous account, it has been left in its entirety.
Social Media, it can eat you alive if you let it. There’s so much to learn, so much to do. The question is which social networking site do you participate in and why?
I have friends who do Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. As time goes on I find that I like the flexibility of a self-hosted WordPress site, so I have that.
I already have the different twitter accounts for various interest. Got the Facebook account. Use Hootsuite to manage those and have some things on “auto”. I’ve had an account with Posterous but was working on my WordPress blog so no time.
I then noticed, “Hey, I have followers on my Posterous, but I haven’t put anything there, I don’t have time to write something for each site!” So, as I’m now looking at it, I remember why I signed up for the great “P” – it’s a simple blog that will post to your other social networking sites and there – you’re pau! (done in Hawaiian)
So I thought as I always do, how can I be more efficient? How do I connect everything and what do I want to share with the other sites? I use LinkedIn for professional/business stuff. I like to do mindless things like Foursquare which goes on my personal Twitter account @mLehua. I use my Facebook account to keep in touch with friends and family, people I already have relationships with – it’s more personal so I don’t have that account open to “everyone”. So what am I doing now that I wouldn’t mind everyone and their dog seeing? Posterous!
Posterous, according to their Wikipedia definition is “particularly for mobile blogging”. I was atBarCamp in Miami 2010 and one of the speakers said he was going to an Asian country for work and was told that he couldn’t blog, but wanted to keep his readers updated as to what he was doing as it was for his adventure travel company. One of the guys in the audience said, “Just send it by email to Posterous”.
Well, that’s why we go to these things (BarCamps and networking). The speaker knew about getting his business online and blogging but was too busy doing his job; than keeping up with all the cool social networking things – so he said, “pasta what?” – The young man in the back said, “Posterous, you send it by email and it post to your blog and wherever else you want.” The speaker said something like, ‘really that would solve my problems.’ It’s awesome, that one piece of info just reminded me that when you go anywhere, if you can walk away with one small piece of new information, it maybe worth tons to your business or whatever you are working on.