Category Archives: learning

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Beginning again

The past few months have been humbling for me, programming-wise. I’ve struggled a lot with Google Cloud Platform, without much success. It’s been frustrating. It has also forced me to re-evaluate my progress as a programmer. The real issue has been that I failed at being a self-reliant problem solver. It’s one of the hallmarks […]

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Puzzles

Sometimes, it’s important to enjoy coding for it’s own sake. It can be fun to solve problems and bend your brain a bit. Work doesn’t always offer this. Sometimes work is, well, work. That’s why this weekend I’ve been spending time with checkio. Checkio is a programming puzzle site, where the only goal is to […]

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There be dragons…

For a beginner trying to solve a programming problem, there is a lot of readily Googleable help. You can usually solve your problem with very clear, specific, and accessible instructions. Things are different a bit further down the programming path. As the problems become harder, the solutions become less obvious. For example, I now might […]

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Further into hardware

I used to really dislike computer hardware. It seemed like it always cropped up as an inconvenience or annoyance when I was trying to do something with code. I preferred the abstractions and ephemeralness of software to the inconvenience of physical things. More recently, my thoughts on this have been changing. In part, I’m realizing […]

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Hacker hours

Recently, I have been occasionally guest-hosting Hacker Hours at the Brooklyn Public Library on Sunday afternoons. It’s an event where people get together to work on programming projects, and help each other out by sharing skills and knowledge. It draws some seasoned programmers, as well as people who are entirely new to coding. The informal […]

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On podcasts

I spend more time than I’d like to on the New York City subway. It’s mostly boring, punctuated by occasional dramatic failures, where getting to your destination seems almost impossible. In any case, I find that my time on the subway needs to be put to use with some productive activity, or I would totally […]

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Learning the conceptual stuff

Because I’m a self-taught programmer, and still very much a beginner, there’s a lot of computer science theory that I’m totally unaware of. Yet I’m now beginning to see the value of classic theoretical solutions to common programming problems. When you can immediately identify a problem as being solvable with, say, a concept like a […]

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Keeping librarians up to date on electronic products

Teaching librarians usually want to stay atop the latest changes to their institution’s electronic products to be able to teach research skills effectively. As an instructor, it’s important to be comfortable using the latest features of the various services. However, keeping up can be a challenge. Vendors regularly roll out updates, but these aren’t always […]

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Other ways forward

Learning new technologies is empowering in a very immediate way, but moving the needle with technology over time requires constant learning. However, I’m not a fan of the metaphor of “keeping up”; it makes me a bit uncomfortable. I’m less interested in the growth of technology, and more interested in growing as a learner. It’s […]

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In praise of tech meetups

I’ve said before that communities of people matter in programming. But of course that’s not the only factor worth considering. Having the place and time to code is essential too. For those of us who aren’t professional developers, those hours are often hard to find in our rather full schedules. That’s one reason why I […]

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