Not-So-Enlightened Path to Coding Enlightenment

A friend of mine is finishing up a BSCS and looking to get into the tech industry. Ready to code? Here’s the list I sent him…

  • Pick a Linux distro (Fedora or Ubuntu). I would recommend Fedora if this is your first encounter with Linux.
  • Read How to Become a Hacker
  • Read The Art of Unix Programming
  • Master Vim – (http://www.vim.org/)
    • This is kind of a personal preference, as are all editors.
    • I recommend mastering vim because it is ubiquitous. You can run it on all of your workstations (Linux / Win) and you can usually depend on it being installed on just about every Linux server you SSH to.
    • Being able to use the same editor everywhere has its advantages.
  • Read Learn Python the Hard Way
  • Read Pro Git
  • Install Django, then run through the tutorial
  • Read Test Driven Development with Python
  • Next…. JavaScript stuffs
    • Learn JavaScript (don’t have a readily available book for this)
    • Learn Angular
    • Learn NodeJS
    • Learn Meteor
  • Along the way, you should pick up some knowledge about
    • Cryptography
    • web services and REST APIs
    • security
    • networking
    • Databases
      • Start with…
        • MySQL
        • PostgreSQL
        • MongoDB
      • Move up to
        • DynamoDB (Amazon’s AWS)
        • Hadoop
        • other NoSQL stuffs
        • Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server if you have to

Recycle your Old Computers and Mobile Phones

For those of you blessed enough to receive the latest and greatest electronics as gifts this Christmas season, please remember to NOT throw away your old computers and mobile phones. Recycle them responsibly.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMhVZqm9_Q0[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSspAc2P_tk[/youtube]

Facebook Addiction? Information Addiction?

Perhaps it’s not just Facebook, but I find it ironic that Scott Adams and Leo Babauta both wrote about similar addiction on the same day:

  1. Click here to read Scott Adams’ 3/9/2012 Dilbert with a plug on Facebook Addiction
  2. Click here to read Leo Babauta’s article on his Zen Habits site: A Survival Guide for Beating Information Addiction

Internet Collaboration

Happy New Year! Let’s kick it off with something cool. Here’s a great video that came in the mailbag today. Projects like this and the YouTube Orchestra just go to show how powerful global Internet collaboration can really be. If only more businesses were able to pull this sort of coordination off.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJtq6OmD-_Y#![/youtube]

My Message to the Red Cross

Yes, I really did just send the following email to my local Red Cross.

Subject: Video Games?

Greetings,

Can you explain this to me so I understand the ICRC’s intentions regarding this matter? I certainly do not want to continue contributing money and blood to an organization that would frivolously waste my contributions on such trivial matters.

The Bayh Dole Act

One thing I learned over the years is that if a work is created by the government, it is in the public domain. This means if a book is written, a work of art painted, or even a photograph snapped by the government, it belongs to everyone and they can use it to their liking with or without the creator’s permission. This includes use for profitable and commercial purposes. Today I learned that there is more than meets the eye. Enter the Bayh Dole Act.

I noticed on the White House website that the government was somehow charging for use of patents created through government funding. Since I thought the government’s work was all public domain, this confused me a little. I decided to ask someone in the know. I found a ranking U.S. Department of Energy official’s email address and asked her. Her response was:

“Lab IP is owned by Lab M&O contractor, unless they pass on it back to ther federal govt.
See Bayh Dole”

After reading the Wikipedia article in detail, I thanked her for the information and went on about my day. Then it hit me… what if, for example, I funded billions of dollars of research and came up with a widget and patented it. Then the government decided to fund research for a similar widget and let the researcher keep the patent? My widgets would, understandably, be ridiculously overpriced to absorb the R&D costs whereas my competition could charge a percentage and still make huge profits. Something just isn’t right about that. How do we fix it? I can certainly think of a few ideas. Perhaps it is time for some grant funding reform.

Ode to Whitley

As some of you know, my studies were a blend of business, computer science, marketing, and economics. I am one of those rare cases where what I did my degree work in actually applies to my career from day to day. Most of my daily work is working with Auctioneers who want to market themselves and/or their auctions. With the rise of social media in recent years, it has been somewhat of a struggle to get them acclimated to the new marketing opportunities presented by social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Struggle? Not this guy! Look carefully at this screenshot from his company’s fan page:

Looks like a stick!?So let’s analyze this for just a minute.

  1. It has a call to action, the challenge (“What is this?”)
  2. You have to be a fan to see the full size image and win the prize (“Building the tribe”)
  3. The person who wins gets…. a BRANDED hat to wear and advertise RMEB (“Branding 101”)

Well done, Mr. Whitley. Interaction via Facebook at its finest. Everyone should do two things:

First: Click here and “Like” Mr. Whitley’s company fan page.

Second: Click here and “Like” Mr. Rasmus’ company fan page.

Why the second one? You’ll find out soon! Stay tuned.