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Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Meetup Designed by Women for Women. Stay tuned.

Sorry I have been MIA for a while, got parents visiting from afar, and working on a lot of programming fundamental courses. Another exciting project that is brewing is a meetup that is designed by women for women. Stay tuned. A lot of the planning is in stealth mode. I am getting support, speaker line-ups and more. If you would like to help, volunteer, getting involved please comment and stay in touch. If you would like to hear more, please also comment and let me know about your interest. This will be a web development programming meetup that can accomodate multiple languages, backgrounds, and skill levels, and all age groups. There is a reason that I am confident this can be a versatile endeavor is that it is a well planned, carefully designed project. Welcome any one who wants to be involved! We have some amazing adviser line ups.

Next post: Code School founder talks about how to be a good developer.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

CodeDivWeekly 4 Newsletter: a brand new codediv.com and Project Kalamari

Codecademy Vision and Execution, as a platform with an unique culture - interview with founder Zach Sims



During the Crunchies 2012 days, I got digitally acquaint with Zach Sims the founder of Codecademy. Very soon, i wanted to follow interviews like the one above. Even during our short email only interaction, he strikes as someone who is capable organized and very traditional business-minded with a strong entrepreneur spirit. In contrast, the other founder Ryan is pragmatic, technical , quick to speak, and very programmer / engineering. Zach is the business founder.

His story is best told by himself, see the above interview. I am just doing some indexing here, summarizing, so this content is more searchable and available for newer audience:


  • Zach talks about his early entrepreneurial career
    • including a surprising period when he was young selling cell phone cases sourced directly from Chinese factories!
    • dropping out of Columbia to attend Y Combinator 
    • before Codecademy, his earlier business experiences at startups that were sold, and VC related AOL funds
  • Building Codecademy as an interactive platform, where people can get their Aha moments!
    • Great developers have learnt in the past by reading documentations and getting hands on, Codecademy aims to provide that environment
    • Community based, completely interactive, gamified
    • learn by doing
    • Zach himself wants a better learning product when he learnt to program
    • My comments: as I work for short term contract work occasionally at Codecademy, I can attest to that Codecademy truly has a vision of its own, and does not just blindly follow and compete with other online learning platforms. Students often do have to go through a bit of struggle for that aha moment, searching stack overflow and Q&A forums (quite a real practice actually)

  • Building Codecademy as a learning platform
    • Not just a lesson plan
    • But a tool for people to teach and learn
    • Recruit content creators who actually create great tutorials out there, but end up not being engaging. Now people actually get audiance
  • Moderator: gamification is new, the previous learning wave was video-based, and interactivity was forgotten. How is interactivity important now?
    • Zach: recreate how best developers learn, how to make it interactive, help people get the aha moment
  • Growth, how to get to the first 2 million?
    • Some fun luck and so happened to be. Someone posted on Hacker News got thousands of concurrent users. First built for just a few people
    • Spent next few days scaling it. User loop is very simple, didn't even have to sign up, no need to download anything

Project Kalamari: a codediv project that explains tech stack to beginners

Project Kalamari @ CodeDiv.com

Video Intro to Project Kalamari





Meta Info for Web Development Languages

Project Kalamari is a Github based, open source project. Provides meta information about various web, mobile and traditional programming languages to help beginners get started
With all the cute logos and wonderful names, it's getting hard for beginners to successfully navigate the ocean of programming tools. We are lending a helping hand here.

Experience a fun open source project that benefits beginner coders and is a great practice for Github and MarkDown.
By Dilys@CodeDiv

Contributor List

  • Dilys Sun
  • See your name here

Contribute to Kalamari!

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Candid Conversation with the Dojo Master | Michael Choi from Coding Dojo [DRAFT]

Coding Dojo http://codingdojo.co/ is going through tectonic shifts. I am exciting to get back in touch with the Dojo master, and scheduled a visit to the martial art house for coding next Thursday. I will be reporting back shortly on our recent conversation and the now and then of Coding Dojo. Stay tuned.

As always, comment for Q&A style posting. I will take your comments and questions, go seek answers. i am not a journalist, just a guerrilla blogger with a lot of passion and chatter, love analyzing things Freakonomics style. 

Code Tagging Real Life | Flat UI in Teabags and HTML in Spam Sushi

There was a very strange Mozilla P2PU course back then on HTML at the school of webcraft (Harry Potter-ish, hoorah)!  Strangely when you get a lot of non-developers together, they found the strangest tags at the strangest places. Inspired, I found HTML tags in spam musubi aka Spam Sushi! Yeah wtf, still my all time top post on this blog.

Each sushi piece is perfectly wrapped in tag pairs, has text as sushi rice, and attributes marked by spam or Mackerel or tuna... yeah... messed up.

Blog flat ui tea bags from JapanBut look what I found today, flat UI in packaging design: my favorite ancient teahouse in Japan.












Blog flat ui tea bags from Japan
 May be the roasted Hojicha can be think of as Orange in flat, but Gyokuro is almost as green as Sencha right? So why the color? But indeed it is pretty. Functional?

Debatable, but does give a quick cue.
The typography shouts a clear message though! It's a Teabag!! Just kidding. The Tea names are pretty easy to read. Not sure why the tea bag sign is so obvious. One bonus point on Japanese-style details: the tea word is completely redesigned with the english letters blent into Kanji

But just like many flat UI, it is vibrant, beautiful, HAPPY, and easy-to-read, yet not functional enough to tell me anything about the tea yet. The elaborate diagram below only explains why tea bags are important and convenient... yeah we know.


Blog flat ui tea bags from Japan


Jokes and cynicism aside, isn't it exciting to see Flat UI in packaging, i.e. wild from the computer world? I think it makes me love this traditional ancient teahouse even more. It really has its own style.

You will never how to code. Answer: Bulls**t

Quibb had a thread where you cannot learn to code. I call the notation of people cannot learn bulls**t. I am writing a commentary about how things have changed and why this is the best time to learn coding. There may be a good/bad time for employment, e.g. seasonable. But coding, you can just start now. Why not? It will take some ramp up time.

Few sentences summary about my response: Time has changed, no need to learn coding the old way. Use all the creativities and inventions and get started your own way, fitting to your lifestyle. Then use your newly acquires engineering mind and map out the fast and efficient route to enlightenment, on time. 

Original post why-you-will-never-learn-to-code
My Response below:

yes you can! Code today

Pledge to code today. Comment in your resolution at the end of the post.

Looking at the last two conclusions, I must disagree. I think things are really different now. In the past, there aren't great teaching materials for beginners, and for modern web development with a huge line of technologies, libraries and APIs that we can integrate. The task got a whole lot more complex yet the "textbooks" have gotten better and better, especially in the format of online education.
Many of my engineering friends said there is no way to learn programming except for reading the documentation, there is no way to learn code except doing your own project, at least there is no fast way to learn it.
Recently I have also thrust myself in an incredible startup situation where I had to learn Rspec in two days and start writing it ASAP. That actually took the intellectual fun part out of me. It was very stressful, and I realized that I was picking up one thing and missing another, and not doing the fundamentals. I am learning techniques fast, but my engineering thinking didn't get better. Instead, I started to build my own humble website in old ugly static HTML CSS and a bit of PHP. Yet it has been the best jQuery practice ground for me, I spend hours and hours refactoring, forming an opinion, transforming into an advanced coder, integrating backbone.js soon to complete, and soon to add testing.
Doing your own project worked for many, but I don't have a project. I didn't naturally think like a programmer before, when I was a child, I didn't take things apart, but I learn things fast and make impossible logical connections across disciplinary fields. What I realized is that, I just have a very odd learning style.
But as more people learn to program we will encounter all kinds of learning styles. The old way will longer be the way to learn. You no longer have to just read documentations and manuals, now the documentations get better for you (e.g. Angular). Now you no longer just have to program your own, and do a TODOlist, there are many projects, and interactive consoles on the internet.
There is one factor though: time and efficiency: both time and efficiency are really what your conclusions are getting at. We can all learn things, eventually, but how fast and will it be in time for project delivery.
People can learn programming, they will need to start with their style and slowly ramp up, make it into a habit (maybe on Codecademy, maybe reading their favorite book). And the best part : once they start to think more like engineers, they will be more and more efficient at learning, reading books, skimming through, finding documentations, and designing a better route to enlightment.
Sh*t that was long

What is Tensorflow? - Tensorflow for Dummies Google Tensorflow 101

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