Now with more code!

I started this blog with the intention of writing about the city and the exciting events happening. The only way I got this site up was to force myself to not worry about how imperfect it was. I can spend hours rewriting sentences, fixing css, changing themes, installing plugins, and never get any content up. In fact I have done that before with previous attempts at blogging.

I decided I would take the advice of given to startups all the time and just launch and fix things as I go without obsessing about it being perfect. In addition to this blog,¬†I also planned to start a personal blog as a place to put up coding projects and my thoughts that weren’t focused on Albuquerque. However, I cringe at the thought of setting up another site, so I am just going to start putting my programming projects and thoughts on this page too. Pivoting? ūüėČ

Albuquerque, tech, and a bunch of programming!

Even though I am going to not focus on things being perfect, if you see an error or something that can be fixed, let me know.

 

Programming in Albuquerque

There are a lot of exciting events on the horizon for programmers and software engineers in Albuquerque. I am disappointed that I don’t have¬†time to attend all of these. Must find a way to create more time.

  • Android App Clinic,¬†January 17, Learn Android development.
  • Lavu Hackathon,¬†January 23 – 25, A second Lavu Hackathon. If you missed the first one this is your chance, it was one of the funnest programming activities I have done.
  • Global Game Jam,¬†January 23 – 25, If games are more your style check out the Game Jam.
  • BowTie Springboard, January 31 – February 13, Use the BowTie platform to create a new project. Register by Jan 30, intro Jan 31, Demo on Feb 13.

In addition to these events there are two startup weekends coming up:

My understanding is that for the Youth Startup, they have adult programmers help get minimum viable projects up (if needed), so contact the organizers if you are interested.

For Startup Women, men can participate too, as long as the teams and projects are led by a woman.

Programming Requirements for High School

One item that came from the Hour of Code was that programming should be required in schools if we want to see our young people learning computer science and being introduce to programming languages. As I was looking through the prefiled legislation for the upcoming session, SB14 stuck out. SB14 will allow students to use a programming class as the foreign language requirement. It looks like at the beginning of 2014 there was a lot of debate about it as Jacob Candelaria tried to introduce it during the previous legislative session.

pogramming
Hello World

I think it is great to attempt to promote programming in schools and something I certainly support, but I can’t help¬†but think this is the wrong way to go about it. The foreign language credit serves a completely different purpose than a computer language credit would. Foreign languages help introduce you to a¬†different culture, how languages can work, they increase your communication skills and I think help with the understanding of your primary language. Spanish/bilingualism is extremely important for New Mexico, with companies locating here to access the bilingual talent, not to mention the increased traded and partnerships with Mexico. Finally, any foreign language is going to be college prep because most universities will require foreign language credit. Some research shows that code.org and others¬†also disagree with this approach.

This is a list of the current graduation requirements for NM. In a perfect world I think they would change¬†an elective credit into a computer science/programming requirement. I’m not sure if this is the right choice for New Mexico because I don’t know if there are enough teachers throughout rural New Mexico to support a mandate like that.

The next best would be to let computer science count as a science or math credit, which is one of the primary actions code.org is promoting. I would love to see if this could be modified to count programming as a science or math.

On a different note I am looking a starting a Coder Dojo in Albuquerque. It will need volunteers, if you are interested send me a message.

Hackathon – Programming Take-aways

The Lavu hackathon last weekend was a great learning experience for me. Here is a list of my personal take-aways from the event that I thought I would share:

  • I code slow at work. Our code base is huge and complex and written by multiple people. It takes a lot of thought and planning to make sure you write something correctly. Starting a project completely from scratch where its entire existence is directly in front of you allows you to write code extremely quickly, and that is exciting.
  • I rely on a lot of motor memory and tools. I borrowed a laptop for the event and had a fresh install of Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition¬†(which just came out for free) on it. Everything was at the defaults with no plugins. At work I¬†have¬†Resharper, short cuts, other tools and plugins and four years of customizing my setup. I have no idea how it is setup.¬†One thing I need to do is start from a fresh install and set things up exactly how I like them and record all that so I can duplicate it when needed. In the future I probably need to bring a full keyboard, Home/End/Del are too critical for me¬†to try and locate a¬†smaller key in a different spot.
  • I exercise regularly and eat much better than I did in college. My body has a rough time handling not moving, programming all weekend and drinking liters of sugar and coke, not sure how I lived off of that for so long, but it is hard to do now. In the future I still need to make sure I take a break and limit the sugar¬†intake.
  • I’ve started plenty of projects before and worked on them for a bit, gotten bored and¬†abandoned them. Having a deadline with a demo is a huge motivation for completing something. I need to find a way to work this into personal projects.
  • I spent too much time making things perfect at the beginning. The first item I started on was my¬†connection screen that would work and perform exactly how I would envision it as a full product. I never demoed this screen, no one ever saw it and there was no reason not to hard code all that information into my system. I need to really focus on what the minimum viable program is an
  • .Net is not what people want to use to build minimum viable products at a Hackathon or startup weekend. People want web utilities, apps and sites, so I really need to be comfortable using JavaScript and PHP or perhaps deploying an app to Azure. Need to research this more.

Hopefully I will have a chance to try again in the future and we get to see more events like this in Albuquerque.