Code.org, a non-profit foundation dedicated to growing computer programming education, launched and shared a video on YouTube that, if you’re concerned about education, or are looking for inspiration, is a a must-watch.
Jon Udell wrote a short piece that resonated with me on taking a principle from software engineering and applying it to discourse and relationships: “Check your assumptions”.
He takes the idea that when debugging, you should:
Focus on understanding why the program is doing what it’s doing, rather than why it’s not doing what you wanted it to.
And translating that to:
Focus on understanding why your spouse or child or friend or political adversary is doing what he or she is doing, rather than why he or she is not doing what you wanted him or her to.
That flips your behavior from one that is trying to modify someone else’s behavior to someone that is listening actively.
What other examples of this to think about?
Boing Boing posts a TEDx talk from Mitch Resnick, of the MIT Media Lab, and creator of Scratch, and a good discussion ensued: “Kids should learn programming as well as reading and writing”. Make sure to watch the talk as well: “Reading, Writing, and Programming: Mitch Resnick at TEDxBeaconStreet”
Python (Flask, Fabric, Jinja) and Amazon EC2. A nice walk through with code for contribution and reuse.
Discovery News: Meet the Youngest Video Game Programmer:
A bright young programmer from Philadelphia recently unveiled a video game involving ballerinas, jewels and vampires — sure to be a hit with young girls. The programmer herself also happens to be seven years old.
Zora Ball, a first grader at the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School in Philadelphia, created the video game in a class focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics led by Tariq Al-Nasir, who heads the STEMnasium Learning Academy.
Checkout Zora’s story at Discovery News.
We’re almost at the start of a new year and saying it is a great time to reflect is such a cliche. But cliches have a great deal of truth to them, that’s why they persist.
I wanted to post the following for those entering the new year, and might be wondering, what’s next, what should I do, or what is my place.
Ironically, when I started to cross some of my own personal benchmarks, I discovered that something was very wrong – I kept moving the goalposts.
I think I have the ultimate business plan, and nobody is running out of time any time soon.
Bill Watterson: “Kenyon College Commencement”:
Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive.
Roz Duffy: “here and now”:
So if I said the other day to just show up, today I’m suggesting (mostly to myself), enjoy the present moment. Take it all in, look at it, laugh at it, and just be all up in it.
NYTimes: Tara Parker-Poke: “Laws of Physics Can’t Trump the Bonds of Love”:
“There is something a lot greater than energy. There’s something a lot greater than entropy. What’s the greatest thing?”
YouTube: zefrank: “An Invocation for Beginnings”:
Following is a list of books, essays, and articles I read (or re-read) which feel worth sharing or re-sharing on on New Years Eve:
“Thinking in Systems: A Primer”, by Donella H. Meadows
“Release It!”, by Michael T. Nygard
“Language in Thought and Action”, by S.I. Hayakawa, Alan R. Hayakawa, and Robert MacNeil
“The Stars My Destination”, by Alfred Bester
“One, Two, Three: Absolutely Elementary Mathematics”, by David Berlinski
“Information Diet”, by Clay Johnson
“The Great Stagnation”, by Tyler Cowen
“One Way Forward: The Outsider’s Guide to Fixing the Republic”, by Lawrence Lessig
“The Waste Land”, by T.S. Eliot
“Race Against The Machine”, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.
Software Engineering Related Essays, Posts and Papers
“Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction”, by Bret Victor
“Analogy as the Core of Cognition”, by Douglas R. Hofstadter
“On Being a Senior Engineer”, by John Allspaw
“Quality With a Name”, by James Shore
“Out of the tar pit”, by Ben Moseley
“Paxos Made Moderately Complex”, by Robbert van Renesse
“The Future is Hypermedia APIs”, by Mike Taczak
“Ubiquitous Programming with Pen and Paper”, by Awelon Blue
“Leverage Points: : Places to Intervene in a System”, by Donella Meadows
“Unicorns and Strong Typing”, by Michael Bevilacqua-Linn
“Big Ball of Mud”, by Brian Foote and Joseph Yoder
“Intrinsic and Incidental Complexity”, by Noah Sussman
“Damn Cool Algorithms: Log structured storage”, by Nick Johnson
“The Humble Programmer”, by Edsger W. Dijkstra
“Simple Made Easy”, by Rich Hickey
“The Long Tail of Technical Debt”, by Michael Feathers
“The Carrying Cost of Code: Taking Lean Seriously”, by Michael Feathers
“No Silver Bullet”, by Fred Brooks
Making A Difference with Software Engineering
“Homegrown Computer Science for Middle Schoolers”, by Tess Rinearson
“Blue Collar Coder”, by Anil Dash
“Government As A Platform”, by Tim O’Reilly
“How Do Committees Invent?”, by Mel Conway
“Anyone can do it. Data journalism is the new punk”, by Simon Rogers, The Guardian
“I believe a computer program can stand in…”, by Lisa Williams
“How Team Obama’s tech efficiency left Romney IT in dust”, Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica
“How To Tell A Story With Code”, by Rob Spectre
“Urban Storytelling with Open Data”, by Mark Headd
“Making Philadelphia Better Together”, by Mark Headd, Programs & Technology, Office of the Managing Director, City of Philadelphia
Society, Governance, History, Health, Art and Music
“The Condition: Chronic Self-Disclosure”, by Bethlehem Shoals, The Awl
“The Web We Lost”, by Anil Dash
“A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It”, by John Scalzi
“Laws of Physics Can’t Trump the Bonds of Love”, by Tara Parker-Pope, NYTimes
“What I’ve Learned About Learning”, by Reginald Braithwaite
“The Builders Manifesto”, by Umair Haque
“How Will You Measure Your Life”, by Clayton M. Christensen
“When They’re Grown, the Real Pain Begins”, by Susan Engel, NYTimes
“Sincerity, Not Irony, Is Our Age’s Ethos”, by Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, The Atlantic
“Young Worf”, GregOttawa, Reddit
“Believe You Can Change”, by Aaron Swartz
“Going Numb In The Summer Of The Gun”, by Jen Doll, The Atlantic
“Horatio Alger, RIP”, by Jim Tankersley, National Journal
“The 10 Doctors”, by Rich Comics
“Looking back at Star Trek: The Next Generation on its 25th anniversary”, by Brian Phillips, Grantland
“Babies Are Born Scientists”, by NSF.gov
“America, The Fixable”, The Atlantic
“Welcome to Hell: Philadelphia Has a Serious Case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”, by Steve Volk, Philadelphia Magazine
“You Can Feel The Difference”, Nathaniel Popkin, Hidden City Philadelphia
“Poverty, College and A Dream Deferred”, by Chris Lehmann, Practical Theory
“Clinging to the Skin of this Tiny Little World (The TV Movie)”, by Philip Sandifer, TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue
Python packaging options are so varied, so strongly disputed as to what is ‘best’ or ‘correct’ or ‘the past’ that they are as un-Pythonic as can be. I love Python, but when it comes to packaging, well lets say I understand how Armin Ronacher feels.
- Python Ecosystem – An introduction – mirnazim.org
- How I learned to stop worrying & love Python Packaging – Jannis Leidel – Slideshare
- Building and Distributing Packages with setuptools – PEAK
- Taming your dependencies with pip – Carl J Meyer – github
- What is softwares in Python which are alternative to Ruby’s bundler / Perl’s carton? – Stack Overflow
- The Hitchiker’s Guide to Packaging
- Why use pip over easy_install? – Stack Overflow
- Python Packaging: Hate, hate, hate everywhere – Armin Ronacher
- Poster on the future of Python packaging for PyCon US 2012
- Python Deployment Anti-Patterns
- Tools of the Modern Python Hacker: Virtualenv, Fabric and Pip
One tip: Never, ever, ever use easy_install (except to install virtualenv and pip). If you are going to install or define an .egg, do so with setuptools or distribute. Again: Don’t use easy_install.
Ryan Briggs in Next American City reports that families are staying put in Philly and Baltimore downtowns:
While urban revitalization is often stereotyped as dominated by young
professionals and retirees, Census data found that the Greater Center
City area had an even balance of all age groups. Data from the year
2000 indicated an average household size of 1.7 people in the eight
ZIP codes. That figure had ticked up to 1.75 by 2010 — a trend CCD
– attributed to couples opting to raise children in the city.
And from Philly.com comes news that Philadelphia is listed in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 US Destinations for 2013:
Forget the cheesesteaks and tri-corner hat, Philadelphia is becoming
known as an art capital. In addition to the world renowned
Philadelphia Museum of Art, the formerly remote Barnes Foundation , a
once private collection of Matisse, Renoir and Cézanne, has a new
central location. And it’s not just the big museums – Philly’s gallery
scene is exploding with new venues like the Icebox garnering
international attention and turning the Northern Liberties and
Fishtown neighborhoods into the new hot arts hub. First Fridays , the
monthly gallery open house, long a tradition in Old City, has expanded
to the refurbished Loft District, where the party goes on in a host of
new bars, clubs and live music venues.
Greg Laden recently posted some thoughts about “Python for Kids”, a book by Jason Briggs. Recently I discovered the turtle module, which is heavily used in the book, is included in the standard Python distribution when I tripped upon a tutorial at the Open Book Project. I’m going to have to buy the book and give it a try with Emma.