I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new Raspberry Pi and today it came. I was showing it to a co-worker and she was impressed that this little board is a computer. I really look forward to experimenting with it and seeing just what kind of creative uses we can come up with. I’m hoping it wont be long until they have them readily available and anyone who has a great idea for how to use them can get them in bulk.
I’m trying out the CodeColorer plugin – to add color to my code snippets. I like it so far, a little python example is below.
file_list = 
for root, dirs, files in os.walk(topdir):
for f in files:
if f[-3:] == 'pdf' and f.find("Journal") == -1:
fulp = os.path.join(root,f)
I’ve posted many times here thoughts I had that were influenced by or lifted straight from the blog of Neptunus Lex. My respect for the Captain is immense. He lived a life that many dream of but never have the skill and raw determination to see to fruition. And while it is the dream of many young boys to be a fighter pilot, those dreams don’t include the incredible cost payed to defend our nation, especially by those in the Naval aviation community. He gave up years of his life, in the air and on the seas so that U.S. citizens could enjoy the freedoms that they have.
On top of that service, he blogged. His writing revealed much of his character. When I was in the Navy I worked under many types of leaders. There are those that had to push very, very hard to get very little out of those they directed. And there were those who didn’t need to push at all, because they were men we would give our all – because of who they were. The Captain was that kind of leader, the kind who I’m sure could accomplish incredible amounts with just a few quiet words. A true leader.
I was thoroughly enjoying his account of his most recent flight, now as a civilian contractor, and thinking how thankful I was that he recorded it in words and video. What I was not prepared for was that today I would find out that it is over. I never met the man, and now I never will. But I owe him a debt of gratitude regardless.
I was at the store, picking up some groceries and I had my son with me. That meant we needed to swing by the toy section on our way out to see what Lego kits they had on the shelves. This visit we got our first look at the new Buildable Galaxy sets and it was the TIE Interceptor & Death Star that caught my eye. A while back I’d acquired a few of the Titanium series ships. (I say acquired because my friend Terry gave me the Darth Vader ship.) I have always kept them at work – they are nice to look at when I need to let my mind wander a little. (good for problem solving) As soon as I saw the little lego TIE Interceptor I knew it would go nice with the others, and there it is. (The trouble now is it makes me really want to try and get the other Titanium TIE models.) Obi Wan’s Jedi Starfighter is not technically a TIE but the look is an intentional design that shows the Jedi Starfighter becoming the TIE fighter.
(As always click on it for full size)
A quick note – as Mike McGee points out in the comments – it is not Code Academy – it is Codecademy. My brain fixed the “error” without letting me know. It appears the Codecademy folks couldn’t get the name they wanted so went for something close. I apologize for any confusion my post may have created. — JR
The tldr – Very promising platform with a lot of potential, a bit rough around the edges right now.
Via TechCrunch, I found Codecademy. They are behind Code Year.
I’m not sure if the two are different at all. I guess I’ll figure it out when I get an email from Code Year. I’ve already done all the courses/lessons available at Codecademy.
There are some rough edges. Sometimes it’s necessary to read comments and instructions in the editor. The editor can’t be re-sized and a few times the comments were too long, so I had to scroll sideways to see the whole thing. That’s a pretty easy fix I think.
And sometimes I couldn’t get past an exercise but the feedback in the shell wouldn’t tell me why. I had one exercise where my solution was technically correct, but I’m guessing that the steps I took violated some threshold so it wouldn’t let me pass that section until I guessed just how they wanted it done. That was the most frustrating time so far. I could have skipped it and moved on but I wanted to get 100% completion.
They track how many lessons the student has passed. This leads to achievements that give students little badges on their profile. I really dig this kind of ‘gaming’ educational materials. I’m sure to certain people they are stupid or pointless – but to someone with a brain like mine they are incredibly motivating.
The Code Year piece is supposed to email out a new lesson each week. My guess is the first few weeks will be the lessons I’ve already done. I may blow off the code year thing and just keep checking code academy for new courses.
Performance as the Codecademy site has been less than stellar. I’m hoping they get that fixed. Sometimes I had to reload pages and pretty much always it was a long wait. Sometimes I’d finish a piece, it would show that I had completed it but then back at my profile it would show pieces not finished. I had to go back and click through the end again.
On an interesting side note – the Codecademy site says they are hiring. They are looking for a few people. What made me chuckle was the section on developers:
We love macs, but we’re not allergic to Linux systems
I laughed because I saw the Ruby on Rails bit and thought, “I wonder how that will scale.” They’ve been mentioned on TechCrunch and Hacker News already. I’m surprised if it hasn’t been submitted to Reddit. I expect to see it pop up on the slashdot front page at some point. I’m guessing they are going to see a lot of traffic.
Lego, quite a while back, came out with games. I’ve been interested in them since I first saw them, but never had a chance to play them myself. That changed today, as my son received one of the Heroica games as a Christmas present. It is the Waldurk Forest set.
If you don’t want to read all I have to say, I’ll sum it up like this, I think the game is incredible.
Like any other lego set, the first step is to build it. The game “board” is made up of small plates, and on each are different pieces to build the setting of the overall game. There are also some small pieces to put together to keep track of stats and inventory for characters. And there are little microfigures to represent the heros and monsters. These are smaller than the normal lego mini-figs and they don’t have arms or legs that move. The head is also fixed on. They are just a single piece. In this set there are spiders, which are also a single molded piece.
This is a very basic role playing game. Included in this set, are a Ranger, Druid and Barbarian. They represent different classes of characters. They each have a special ability. The set also comes with a number of weapons that can be purchased and when a player uses them, it grants that player a single use of the special ability of a different character.
The plates that make up the board can be connected in different ways. The set came with two different “mission maps” that show different ways to lay out the game. It incorporates the monsters, potions, gold and treasure chests which can turn out to be gold or the loss of health. The end goal can be killing a certain monster or reaching a certain point on the mission map. The mechanics are very easy and my kids (ages 8-12) picked up on how the game works quickly.
If there is such a thing as a gateway RPG, this is it. What has me really excited is that it’s all pretty much standard lego parts. We can take pieces from other kits that the kids already have, and build larger boards. The instructions encourage kids to try changing up the rules and seeing how that impacts the game. It’s a game that follows the basic lego philosophy. Not only is the board configurable, the rules are as well. My son and I have already talked about creating our own potions and modifying other aspects of the game.
I’m extremely excited about the potential of this whole platform. There is so much here that I think is going to be a lot of fun for me and the kids.
I’m a huge fan of lego. Their normal set, mindstorm and now Heroica. They are a great company, offering some really amazing products.
Well – if you are reading this, you made it here. My personal musings will now be living at blog.geeksinaction.org so that I can use the top level domain for a personal project I’ve been thinking about for quite a while now.
My hope is to set up a site where people with technical skills (designers, programmers, sysadmins, dbas, etc.) can go and find opportunities to use those skills and the fruits of those skills to assist in ministry.
I see this happening on a number of levels. The simplest level would be allowing a person to participate by contributing money. This is a key way to help, but it doesn’t involve a lot of interaction.
The next level would be by participating in a project in a virtual manner. A designer could see that a logo is needed, exchange some emails or chat and then submit a logo. Or programmers could form a virtual team to code some needed software. This is hands on involvement, leveraging current tools to allow people anywhere to contribute.
The third level would be short term, on site involvement. Maybe an African country needs a new server installed and configured. This could be a two week job that a person from inside that country or outside it, could come and do on site. Technical short-term missions basically.
The final level would be more long term, internship type opportunities if you will. Needs can be presented that offer the people willing to meet those needs the opportunity to spend a year or two on site providing solutions to the needs.
We’ll see how it goes.