Learning how to code used to be boring. But not any more.
Following their lead, more fun and educational programs have come online to help budding/aspiring developers to take the plunge.
All of the courses below are clever in the way they motivate you through constant positive feedback. I think they’re fun. I wish I’d had them when I got started. Or maybe not, because there would be a lot more coders to compete with!
Here are the three best FREE self-guided programming courses available today. Enjoy!
The fundamental training model is do-and-see. In other words, make a change in your code on one side of the screen, and you will immediately see the results on the other. This is a really quick way to iterate and learn.
In this video, Zach Sims discusses how CodeAcademy approached the problem of getting people engaged in learning how to code – by delivering its course in tiny, simple and entertaining challenges that teach one thing well.
Khan is known for their excellent video tutorials, and they offer an extensive array on computer science and programming.
Recently, Khan branched into interactive self-guided training.
Like CodeAcademy.org, the course uses two panes: one displays the results of your changes and the other educates you on the new technique. Video summaries help cement the concepts after the exercise is done.
Not quite as good as CodeAcademy, but it works great – especially if you’re already using Khan for other courses.
If you find Khan Academy or CodeAcademy too challenging, then give Scratch 2.0 a try.
In Scratch, you learn the concepts of programming by assembling a series of visual logical blocks to do your bidding. The blocks represent code, so you don’t actually learn how to write code but instead learn the fundamental ways of blocking code. This is as close to video gaming as you’ll get in a programming course. I really liked playing with it, and my nephew (who’s 13) thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ve been teaching others how to develop LAMP and web apps for over 5 years.
I like to present – im an extrovert
It’s in my job description.
And with the engineering turnover every company experiences, training is a constant state of being for guys like me.
I used to custom-build my training materials by hand for new recruits.
I always thought that getting access to pre-packaged education courses would a God send. Well, it is!
These days, the quality and availability of FREE online training for professional developers has come so far in such a short amount of time that I regularly incorporate outside training courses on the job.
Here are some of the best FREE online courses for developers:
It’s not long ago that smart watches came onto the scene.
Wearable computing technology is introducing a new era in which smaller and smaller intelligent devices are making communications and apps even more personal. Smart watches are the latest hot innovation in this trend.
In addition to changing the way people view and use their wrist watches, smart watches and watch phones promise a whole lot more convenience than a phone.
Nevertheless, the best smart watches today are still basically extensions of your smartphone. So if you are looking to get one, you really should choose your smartphone first.
Currently there are a lot of companies fighting for the pole position on your wrist, ranging from large corporations like Samsung, LG and Apple to upstarts like Martian and Pebble. Even though they all make unique devices, the primary function of the devices remains a smartphone companion.
This means smart watches serve as an extension of your phone, mainly for conveying texts, calls, social updates and emails so that you can decide whether it’s worth taking out your phone to respond. Or just blow them off.
Beware Manufacturer Lock-In
Many of the new smart watches, especially those made by phone companies, are designed to only work with the company’s operating system of choice. They are therefore mainly supportive of either Android or iOS. Some of these touch watches are locked to a specific brand of smartphones. There are however a number of freelance companies and upstarts that make them compatible with all android devices, but not iOS, and vice versa. The windows phone platform is the least supported of the major operating systems.
If you are shopping for a smart watch, you need to confirm the device’s compatibility beforehand so that you can fully enjoy the experience. Android being the dominant smartphone operating system has the most number of supported touch watches ranging from the popular Samsung Gear to the recently released Moto 360.
For Android Users
For owners of Android smartphones, there are many popular smart watches to choose from including the LG G Watch, the Neptune Pine, the Geak Watch Phone, the Qualcomm Toq and the Sony SmartWatch 2. Most of these devices work with Android phones running version 4.3 upwards.
For Apple Fans
iPhone owners can bank on the recently released Apple Watch for iOS 5+ devices, due in early 2015. There are, however, other wearable devices that work with iOS including Eco-Drive Proximity, Hot SmartWatch, Vachem, TrueSmart, Sonostar, Pebble Steel, Martian and MetaWatch.
For the Uncommitted
If you’re on the fence or have both Android and iOS phones in your home, you can rest easy knowing there are some smart watches that support both platforms. These include the Kreyos Meteor, Cookoo, Martian, MetaWatch, Pebble Steel, Vachem, and Truesmart.
For Windows Phones
Sorry, Microsofties, right now your choices are limited. Only the Agent wearable currently works with the Windows Phone.
Check Your Phone’s OS Version, Too
One other important factor that requires picking your next smartphone before considering an accompanying wearable is the OS version. Since most of these platforms get updated from time to time, your smart watch pick should be compatible with the version in your phone. This is especially important for Android phones since they use the most fragmented operating system.
Smart watches are already very capable devices, with support for lots of apps along with other smartphone-like features. In time, they are expected to become high-tech timepieces that can work as standalone phones. In the meantime however, make sure you only buy a smart watch after confirming that it will works with your smartphone.
AOD is a horrible, stifling disease characterized by an excessive amount of time spent every day to maintain an apps habit.
The symptoms of AOD include:
you have more than 50 Chrome tabs open right now
your phone, tablet and laptop are always running out of memory
you upgraded to a paid Dropbox/iCloud account – to make room for apps
it takes you 2 hours to groom your apps in iTunes
you check IFTTT daily to make sure your recipes are working
you stay awake at night wondering when if you backed up your keyword passbook
your hands are permanently disfigured through constant typing of user names and passwords
I love my apps! But they’re killing me.
I use apps pretty much every waking hour of every day.
my first page of iphone apps (jk)
I have apps on my phone, apps on my tablet and apps on my laptop.
My internet TV has its own apps, too. The Roku I attached to my TV has its own downloadable apps, one for each channel I watch.
My new Pebble smart watch uses still more apps.
At work, I use 10 enterprise apps, plus at least 30 programming / project management apps.
When I get home, I waste plenty of time on my social media, news and gaming apps.
Or I use my Airdrone iPhone app to fly my Parrot around – zoom!
When I’m shopping, I check prices on my phone (more apps).
There are even apps that help me keep tabs on my apps.
But the overhead involved with using these is taking over my life. It feels like all I do now is enter my userid and password, over and over again. Or worse, to save time I give my life’s story to every Tom Dick and Harry app provider by clicking on the “Connect Using Facebook” button. Because my carpal tunnel just can’t handle it anymore.
This Can’t End Well
I often wonder where today’s app explosion will end. I mean, there are over a million iOS apps, and almost that many Android ones.
Who has the time to search for what they want from this many choices? How will we navigate this when there are 10 million? 100 million? one for every person on the planet?
It really looks like the number of apps might surpass the number of web pages at some point soon!
Will some mega-VC come in and buy up all the loose apps in the world and create an Oracle of apps?
Or will I (gasp) have to delete a bunch of my beloveds, to return my life to sanity?
There are 100s of LAMP Development Tools Available Today.
But if you are just getting into developing web apps using Linux-Apache-MySQL-php – or any variation on the theme – which tools should you choose as your go-to arsenal?
I’ve been developing LAMP stack apps for about 7 years now. These days, I teach and supervise as much as I code. But I’m a pretty experienced engineer.
Listed below are my favorites utilities and apps for newbie LAMP developers. They all have a bit of a learning curve that pays off later, when you burn the oil all night.
Five Gotta-Have LAMP Dev Tools
In order to develop LAMP/MAMP/XAMPP apps you’ll need at least five types of tools in your kit. These include:
A local development environment (LDE)
An integrated development environment (IDE)
Internet file transfer tools
This isn’t the definitive list of tools you’ll need, but you need to start somewhere and this is where I would begin.
Local Development Environment (LDE)
The LDE is where we build our own code and test it before working with the team on releases.
I prefer XAMPP on Windows or MAMP for OS X (Pro version – highly recommended).
Every good LDE will also have version control, and Git is the only choice, in my opinion. For visual control of Git, I use Tower, Versions Subversion for my repositories.
Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
Sublime Text 2, is the best IDE around. It works on Windows, Mac and UNIX systems.
These break down into two categories/choices:
Web-hosted tools like SQL Buddy or phpMyAdmin.
Desktop tools: use MySQL Workbench.
Virtualization Tools for Testing
After you near completion of your project, you’re going to need to test the apps in multiple browsers and devices before signing off on unit testing. To do this, I use VMWare Fusion. But my colleagues also swear by Parallel’s Desktop.
There are only two ftp clients remaining that everyone uses these days, and they are
Back in 1985, when I was 12 years old, my father (an engineer) brought home a watch we’d both seen in the James Bond film, Octopussy, together: the Seiko TV Watch. It was known at the time as “the world’s smallest TV” (I learned that the Guinness Book of World Records named it that in 1984). It made a real impression on me at the time. I thought my father was the coolest.
The other day, I saw Octopussy again and thought I’d go check the attic to see if the unit Dad bought was still with his stuff in my attic. Yes it was – and it was still in the original packaging!.
After researching online for a few hours, here’s what I learned about the first smart watch I ever owned – along with some photos of our device.
The Smallest TV In The World
The Seiko TV Watch was produced in very limited numbers for a few years in the mid-1980s.
It’s technically a digital LCD wrist watch with a built-in TV screen and a separate TV receiver approximately the size of an old cassette tape Walkman.
It was designed to be carried it around with you so you could have a fully functioning watch plus access to over-the-air broadcast TV at any time. The batteries lasted a surprisingly long time (5 hours of play time).
Seiko TV Watch – full box set
The unit’s 1.5 x 2 inch display is made up of two different parts: a timekeeping display at the top, and a larger TV display at the bottom.
To use the watch as a TV, you have to carry a separate block receiver unit (model no. TR02-01) in your pocket or on your hip.
The TV receiver connects to the watch display unit using a black connector – you snap the cord onto the watch when you want to use the TV set. Seiko recommended that you snake the cable through the sleeve of your jacket and hide the receiver in the jacket pocket. For audio, you put on the headphone which tethers to the tuner using a second line. The headphone line also doubles as a line antenna.
The TV display employs a special type of trans-reflective liquid crystal video display that only works if the watch is exposed to external light (no backlighting). The brighter the light, the clearer the picture.
Besides the time display, the watch also features a calendar, an alarm and a stopwatch.
The Guinness Book of Records calls the Seiko TV Watch in its 1984 edition the “smallest TV set in the world”.
A few hundred million yen were invested in the development of the device over the course of three years, beginning in 1980.
The Seiko TV Watch was revealed in Tokyo during the summer of 1982. It was manufactured in Seiko’s Fujimi and Matsumoto factories from 1982 to 1983.
The TV Watch was first sold in Japan only as model DXA001, which cost 108,000 Yen. Later, it was marketed in Japan as the DXA002 and cost 98,000 Yen. The second model differed only in the case design and the type of headphone (the DXA001 came with a two-ear headphone and the DXA002 offered an earphone).
The TV Watch was released in the US in 1983 at a suggested retail price of $495.
The rarest, first US model is the T001-5000. It was sold in a silver cardboard container and the protective pouch for the receiver also came in silver. The second, more popular unit sold in the US was the T001-5019, which camein a gold box.
Here is a recent video on YouTube that shows what the TV Watch looks like when in use.
A Highly Sought-After Collectible
The Seiko TV Watch is highly coveted electronic collectible in the US and in Japan. Well-maintained models in the original packaging sell for upwards of $1,000 and unopened containers of the rarer first model can sell for more than $2,000.
Seiko TV Watch in James Bond’s Octopussy
This is partly because the device was featured in two popular movies. In 1983, Roger Moore wore a Seiko TV Watch in the movie Octopussy. Later, in 1987, Tom Hanks wore one in the movie Dragnet.
the watch measures 40 x 49 x 10 mm and weighs 80 grams
the receiver weighs 190 grams
1.2″ gray shade LCD display with 32k pixel resolution
5 hr running time
external receiver/tuner for VHF & UHF television channels 2 to 83
FM stereo radio receiver.
digital timer/stop watch with a resolution of 1/100 second
built-in timer, watch and alarm-clock with normal date-time functions
6-conductor cable works with 4, 9 and 13 Volts and separate signals for video and synchronization.
optional accessory AC adapter (unit TD02).
Here’s a link to the original user’s manual (.pdf 2.5 MB).