Category Archives: General

More and more, ‘learn to code’ is looking like bad advice

An interesting article from LinkedIn on the skills of coding.

Learning to Code Yields Diminishing Returns

The premise of the article tackles a number of diverse subjects that are outside the scope of whether learning to code is good advice or not.

Fundamentally learning to code is a good skill to have. It is a skill that if you want to have a coding career must  be developed and cultivated.

The mistake is to think that simply having a skill makes you indispensable and guaranteed of gainful employment. Employment is much more complicated than just simply having the correct skills for the position.  Relationships, personality, personal drive, politics, geography, and no small amount of luck are all factors that contribute to your employment status.

Whether you utilize the skills in your daily tasks or not the understanding of logical processing is applicable to every aspect of life if you are so inclined.

 

New Adventures

The last couple of months have been quite busy. Between purchasing a newly built house, setting it up to be barely livable, adjusting to a new commute and responsibilities, enjoying the lack of noisy apartment neighbors playing trampoline on the horribly degraded subfloors, the holidays, another year of BBQ (1st place Bloody Mary Competition for Curtis), and returning to raiding in World of Warcraft.

I have also been getting excited about Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. A MMORPG being developed by Visionary Realms. With the namesake of Brad McQuaid and trying to revitalize the legacy of the original Everquest. They did a twitch stream on the 11th proving that it is far from vaporware.

Incidentally coinciding with the announcement that Everquest Next was cancelled to very little surprise, but much disappointment, this rekindled a rose colored glory of Everquest in my heart and a passion of sorts.

So the latest adventure is the creation and launch of a fan site for Pantheon, The Frail Age. The good news is that I have gotten past the concept to a functional website and it is up and running. It is not everything I was thinking of when envisioning it, but it is a good starting point to grow into since the game is not yet out. It will be a new adventure of branding, promotion, and content development to build this into a resource players will actually want to use. That is a challenge no doubt, but right now I have the energy and drive to find a way to succeed if the game delivers as expected. I am not fooling myself that even in the best of situations the game may never see the light of day due to business realities, economies/markets, and hardships regardless of the best of intentions. Either way the experience will be one that will be positive and enable personal growth.

Texas scare over clock

Lots of outrage one way or another about the Texas high school student Ahmed Mohamed who brought a “home made” clock to school which was confused as a bomb leading to an arrest and suspension.

Photo released by Irving Police Department:

From a technical standpoint there really isn’t anything there to make it look like an explosive device, but in all honesty I cannot fault a teacher needing to make a decision that it does arguably look like a timing device. Reporting it to the principal/administrator for further review is an appropriate course of action.

I can even defend detainment if they felt police should be involved to determine if there was any risk to the public, but arrest is overblown for this situation.

What caused this over reaction? Zero tolerance in schools.

Instead of actually bothering to use our intelligent minds that schools should be focusing on teaching out to use critical thinking we are instead confined to locations that train you to regurgitate information and methods to pass standardized tests. Standardized tests are not the problem, but we have fundamentally lost focus of the old English proverb: “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

Racial/Religious Outrage

People trying to claim this over reaction was due to his ethnicity or religion based on name is absurd. Were a student of any other skin color or religion to do the same they would suffer the same over reaction because schools can’t think themselves.

How do I know this with a certainty? Because as a white male high school student I would have been treated the exact same. I was in fact when I was caught using school computers in a computer lab to play video games during lunch time. No threats occurred to the public and no physical harm to the equipment. Simply put I was doing something I was not supposed to do, but it resulted in a 3 day in school suspension due to use of computer technology and zero tolerance idiocy of adherence to a policy they don’t even understand.

Debunking the clock as fraud

Now people are making claims that the “home made” clock is anything but based on the release of the photo.

There is much factual basis for the assertions made there since you are dealing with printed circuit boards and 120 VAC power supply that just would not be found a strict “home made” build .  This short video looks very familiar to the police photo.

I will not however go as far to say it was for publicity reasons or nefarious purposes to create a panic intentionally. It is theoretically plausible that the student’s parents either had access to raw materials or they intentionally disassembled a store bought clock for the student to re-assemble.

The moral of the story is that bringing an item like this to school is something that you can do, but not the smartest choice. There should be some learning involved to understand the risk of misunderstands in a public space that does have to deal with terrorism. It is a situation that teaches maturity, but one that should not have any permanent consequences.

The political correctness however is sending the wrong message by idolizing this student and the outcry over the punishment. I can agree the punishment is overblown simply due to their zero tolerance, not due to any racial or religious reasons.

There is a very strong risk that this student or others watching will get the idea that creating publicity and renown for in effect doing nothing special will be rewarded with fame and success. The only due rewards for this action is a life lesson, opportunity to show/grow character, and gain some maturity. I hope the child learns fast that everything else that is happening is people trying to use him and the situation for their benefit, not out of genuine care of concern.

First real 5k achieved

This weekend on my own I jogged 5 kilometers in less then 32 minutes. This is a milestone since I have only seriously being focusing on running since memorial day.  Did a 5k in April and this was not fully run, next one is in September.

The focus was health and weight loss (22 pounds in three months), but I struggle to remind myself that it is not so much about weight and do this by focusing on strength and stamina by improved distance or speed.

There are certainly other things that aren’t going as well in life as my running, but this is more then likely me just being too hard on myself and being able to nitpick entirely too accurately on all faults. So while life is not perfect it is time to celebrate the fact that without any prompting and only self motivation what I thought was going to be a struggle is now an achieved milestone.  Celebrate the victory when ever you can.

Moving – Using Professional Movers and Temporary Living

Professional Movers

Having moved across this fine nation more then a few times I have had the occasion to use a number of professional movers and observed a few things.

Paying for professional packes can increase the cost, but it is very useful when on a tight schedule. A range of employees might show up from those that look extremely profesional to those look less so, but outside of the rare exception they are going to know how to pack your things and do so in an efficent manner.

Don’t skimp on the use of packing tape or packing paper. The way you ensure you have items arrive safely is by having solid void free boxes that can be stacked properly by the movers. Line each box with a sheet or two of paper and learn from the packers by taping down the seam as well as the edges.

the-h-taping-method

 

You might think this is wasting tape, but at the end of the day tape and packing materials are cheap compared to the cost of replacing your valuable items. It is money well spent.

Empty tape rolls are infinitely usable and should not be thrown away. They can be used for screw or shelf peg containers by using a little tape on the outside. Folded up they make exceptional doorstops to keep the door propped open.

One of the differences between average and elite movers will be the use of glass crating for glass table tops or the use of specific flat screen containers that comes with static free material and tapes. This can then be used with anti-tip levels which can tell if an item has been tipped over or set on its side. Even without these additional materials and costs you can safely transport glass with properly built picture boxes.

Anything can be packed using moving blankets, tape, paper, and shrink wrap.

The use of rolled sticky tape labels to put a unique item number is a godsend both for the owner and the movers. It makes it very simple to ensure that everything is accounted for when loading or unloading. Just watch and ensure that an item has a lable before it is loaded or enters the new location and accounted for on the inventory.

Temporary Living

The other side of using professional movers is the fact that you will be without your personal goods for a short to a long term. Unless your goods can fill an entire truck they are typically combined with others and this will result in scheduling efforts that can take some time before your items even leave the source storage facility.

Living out of hotels can be rather expensive and unless you are in a truly cheap solution it is typically more cost effective to live out of the home or apartment you want to finally reach.

Some items can be invaluable for this temporary living situation until your items arrive.

Bed

You can either use an inflatable mattress to sleep on which is very compact for transportation. The ones with the air pump included are easier. Pick one up for $30-$40 and it is useful the next time guests visit.

If you decided you didn’t want to move your mattress and box springs and want to get a new one at the your destination then go ahead and purchase one before your stuff arrives. It can just sit on the floor until your frame arrives.

Either bring or purchase sheets and comforters for either solution.

Bathroom equipment

Bring a spare towel and washcloth. You can use a second towel as a floormat.

Bring a showcurtain.

Kitchen Supplies

Paper plates, paper bowls, plastic cups, and plastic cutlery can get you by for long enough depending on what you decide to shop for. Things like cereal, sandwiches, salads, and other simple things that do not require much cooking with keep you going and avoid breakign the bank on food.

Bring trashbags and storage bags of various sizes.

Light

Most apartments and some homes are wired for the light switch to control a power outlet and as a result there is not light in rooms such as bedrooms. Bring a small lamp to ensure you have light.

Seating

Laying on a bed or sitting on a floor can easily become uncomfortable quickly when that is all you are doing in the temporary living location. While finding excuses to get excercise is good it is not always possible depending on where you are and what else is filling your time. Bringing a chair as simple as a folding chair or an camping chair can be very helpful to avoid comfort issues by sitting on the floor all the time.

Power Strip

With the advent of cell phones and laptops it might not be uncommon that you need more power then a wall outlet can provide next to your temporary bed. Bring a power strip to ensure you have access to everything.

Enterainment (optional)

Depending on your needs it might be practical to bring a smaller tv and movie player with you which will allow you to connect services such as cable or internet to the new location before you items arrive. Not a necessity by any means, but this can help avoid the waiting time stretch out too long.

 

 

Leasing

With as many times as I have relocated across the country and found various apartments to live in for each stint of various lengths it never ceases to amaze me that each location, apartment owner, or leasing representatives always find a way to create a minor crisis that has to be overcome. I accept this fact based on the previous pain and suffering that each even while completely avoidable results in  scrambling and momentary panic. 

What is amazing is that for the folks that do this for a living one would think that they would make their own life easier by just making everything clear up front and avoiding any thing resembling an assumption to avoid complications. But then again this would be the same as expecting common sense to be common. 

On the other hand I will just resign myself to the fact that this will be just practice for the closing process of buying a home since that will have suprises and mystery as well.

Moving

So its been 3 years and I will now have been living in 4 different cities during this span of time. That is impressive if you look at it, but then again I was raised an army brat so moving just kinda feels natural. 

This time life takes me back to Texas where I honestly associate with the most to the lovely city of Houston.

Time to embrace beaches and enjoy hurricanes. 

 Soon my personal stats will be as follows:

Country Count: 2

State Count: 4

City Count: 9

Refresh

The joys of having your own webserver is you can do what ever you want to do with it. The pain of having your own web server is that it is your own damn fault when something goes wrong. 

Which is all fine and dandy, but it meant when you have to rebuild things you might have to start from scratch and this can take some time. So Here is wightideas version 1.1 since 1.0 died in a horrible mess.