May 31, 2006

Programming for kids

May 31, 2006 - Categories: teaching

On the Kagay-anon Linux Users Group mailing list:

we will just help kids learn the basics of programming,
logic formulation, flowcharting and the most important is their typing
speed till they will reach 105 wpm.

Here’s what I think about typing:

I find that as long as they can type without thinking about typing,
they’re fine. Get them to touch-type and they’ll be okay even if they
type slowly. The difference is that if you can’t touch-type, you’ll be
looking at the keyboard, and thus not looking at the structure of your
code. If you can touch-type, then even if you type slowly, you’re
still thinking about your code…

and about kids and programming:

What you really need to do is teach the kids to have _fun._
Show them that, and they’ll learn whatever else they need to.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to
collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach
them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Go back and think about what you found fun. What made you fall in love
with computers? What was your passion?

I loved being able to explore. I loved being able to get the computer
to do what I wanted it to, even if it was such a simple thing. And
later on, when I discovered open source development, I loved being
able to make a difference in other people’s lives – even if it was
just a very little difference… =)

Give kids inspiration by showing them what they can do. Give them time
to play, to explore. Give them hints, not instructions. Help them
discover. Let them own their work, let them feel that it is theirs.
Don’t make it a typing exercise. Make it fun. Make it interesting.
Make it play.

On Technorati:

E-Mail from edgardo bangga

Random Japanese sentence: 猫がソファの上に寝ている。 A cat is lying on the sofa.

Why blogging is cool

May 31, 2006 - Categories: blogging

I hear this story again and again, in different words. This is one of the reasons why blogging is so cool. =)

I have met many wonderful colleagues and like-minded individuals that I would never have met without starting the blog. I have had the chance to speak at various events, to push forward my views on blogs and blog outreach that might put me in the contrarian camp (as Sam Whitmore said to me during a meeting), but a contrarian view that likely will be mainstream view in the not-so-far future.

Link via Tara Hunt.

Random Japanese sentence: じゃあ、ネコの世話は誰がするの。 Who will take care of your cat then?

Being a girl

May 31, 2006 - Categories: emacs, geek

Tara Hunt
knows what it’s like to fade into the background if one has a
partner in crime. I don’t really have that problem, probably because
people are, like, “Ooh! a girl!” Kinda.

I like being a girl. I like turning up to tech conferences in dresses
and earrings. I like hacking my computer T-shirts into something with
more style. I like being me.

I like sneaking into tech get-togethers like the Linux Users Group or
Ruby Users Group without worrying about technical credibility. I blend
in. I’m part of the woodwork. People will just assume that I’m
someone’s girlfriend.

I like playing up my social aspect. I like connecting with people.
Most people find it hard to reach out. They think it’s easier for me
because I’m a girl. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe I just use
being a girl as an excuse to get over my nervousness. =)

If I have to bat my eyelashes at people and bribe them with homemade
cookies, so be it.

If I have to jolt people out of their stereotypes by asking
well-thought questions, I do so with great gusto.

If I have to bring out my laptop and do some console work in front of
them to show them I’ve got the chops, fine.

And when the shadows in my head whisper that I’m not as good as the
others, not as geeky as the others, I drown them in Emacs Lisp. ;)

On Technorati: , , ,

Random Japanese sentence: おしゃべりの人は、いつも秘密をばくろしては他人の利害を冒している。 A talkative person is always letting the cat out of the bag and jeopardizing the interests of others.

I’m sorry!

May 31, 2006 - Categories: blogging

I screwed up, and I feel terrible.

I hate being virtual…

Random Japanese sentence: 猫は夜行性の動物だ。 Cats are active at night.


May 31, 2006 - Categories: life

As guilty as I feel about taking another day off, unavoidable personal
circumstances have come up, and a little bit of downtime will help me greatly.

On Technorati:

Random Japanese sentence: ペルシャ猫に関連した古い話があります。 There is a classic story related about a Persian cat.

Old friends and familiar strangers

May 31, 2006 - Categories: friends

I don’t know why so many people read about the cooking misadventures
and existential crises of this 22-year-old girl, but I do know that it
makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I hear not only from old friends
but also from familiar strangers. Thank you for sharing your insights
with this newbie who’s figuring out life for the first time!

Random Japanese sentence: その猫の一方は黒で、もう一方は茶だ。 One of the cats is black, the other is brown.

My mom reads my blog

May 31, 2006 - Categories: education, family

My mom reads my blog, and that’s absolutely terrific. =) I love
hearing her insights into the things I’m trying to figure out, and it
makes me feel even warmer and fuzzier because she’s my mom. Here’s one
of her recent comments:

“I want small groups, so no one can hide in the anonymity of crowds. ;) I’m tired of audiences. I want participants. I don’t want to hear presentations. I want to be part of conversations.” This kind of thinking is what is setting you apart as a teacher and as a student. I am proud that this is the way you think and feel, and I know you will try your best to bring out not only the best in you, but also the best in others, and you will acknowledge that the others are doing the same to you. We should approach each other, like you said, not in the traditional manner of teacher teaching and student learning. There is no reason why they can’t be both teachers and students at the same time. I believe that the most exciting times are when teachers and students discover “lessons” (learnings?) at the same time. When a teacher helps to bring a student to where he is by teaching him what he knows, the teacher is still where he is; and save for the additional information, the student is!

probably still where he is, but when they discover something together, both move at least a step higher in the quest for knowledge.

So many of my thoughts on education and other things come from my mom.
She checked out practically every grade school in the area looking for
the best school for my sisters and me, choosing St. Scholastica’s
College because it offered small group instruction with individualized
pacing. She pushed for the creation of a gifted program and then for
its expansion to include all students. She read to me until her voice
cracked: The Three Little Pigs, the Big Fish, One Fish Two Fish Red
Fish Blue Fish… And when I moved on to more complex material (having
figured out how to read The Three Little Pigs upside down), she left
interesting books lying around: kid-friendly encyclopedias and
references, books on business and career, even books on parenting
teenagers (which naturally I read from cover to cover).

She never dictated a career for me, but instead helped me learn how to
listen to the world and to myself. She never emphasized grades, but
instead emphasized the learning experience. That said, when I got
three Ds (got bored in my merit English classes for fiction and
poetry), she warned me that I’m going to have to work extra hard to
get people to overlook that on my record. ;) But she taught me what it
was like to love learning and to want to fill other people with that

I love my mom. =) Give your mom a hug today.

On Technorati: , ,

Random Japanese sentence: 猫は闇で物が見える。 A cat can see in the dark.

Oatmeal hacking

May 31, 2006 - Categories: cooking

One of the nice things about knowing geeks is that they often have another geek specialty. For example, Paul Lussier is a food geek, and this helpful tip will show you why:

Arrrrrrrrrg! Not quick-cooking! No, no, no. Get yourself some of
those steel-cut oats I recently mentioned in another post and do this:

  • Boil some water just before you go to bed1.
  • Place 1 cup of steel-cut oats in a pot
  • Place 4 cups of boiling water in the same pot
  • Place lid on said pot
  • Goto sleep (make sure you’ve turned *OFF* the stove!)

When you wake up in the morning, scoop yourself a bowl full of oatmeal
and add about a half cup of water. Place it in the microwave on high
for about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar or maple syrup, raisins, bananas,
or whatever, and either milk or light cream to taste, mix it all up
and enjoy. A healthy, delicious, very filling breakfast in under 5
minutes :)

Not a burned-pancakes post goes by without great suggestions from him.
=) He’s awesome. He said:

I can’t contribute too much by way of code to many projects, but if I
can keep my elisp inspiration well fed, I figure that’s not a bad
contribution ;)


On Technorati:

E-Mail from Paul Lussier

Random Japanese sentence: 私たちは猫を飼っています。私たちはみなその猫が好きです。 We have a cat. We are all fond of the cat.

Congrats to Von Totanes!

May 31, 2006 - Categories: friends

Von Totanes has just received his Canadian visa, and will be starting his PhD in information studies Really Soon. Hooray for the Filipino Librarian!

On Technorati:

Random Japanese sentence: 小雨のときは、傘は役に立つが、土砂降りのときは、ほとんど役に立たない。 An umbrella is useful in a mild rain, but when it rains cats and dogs an umbrella is of little help.

First baseball game

May 31, 2006 - Categories: Uncategorized

I watched my very first baseball game last night, thanks to Graduate
House Council’s awesomely discounted $5 field-level seats (face price:
$34.50, pre-tax). It was the Boston Red Sox versus the Toronto Blue
Jays, and the Red Sox won 8-7.

Interesting stuff. It was great going with a bunch of grad students,
as many of us were completely new to the thing. ;)

I found myself unable to boo anyone, though. I clapped and cheered
(quietly) for both teams! =)

On Technorati:

Random Japanese sentence: 彼は猫を二匹飼っている。一匹は黒でもう一匹は白だ。 He keeps two cats: one is black, and the other white.

Yesterday was a hot chocolate day

May 31, 2006 - Categories: Uncategorized

The hot chocolate at Linux Caffe (Grace
and Harbord Sts.) never fails to perk me up. Yesterday was no
exception even though it was a day particularly in need of hot

David (the proprietor) received a whole bunch of free books and a
number of free T-shirts from Apress. The shirts were adorable! They
read “Every time Linux boots, a penguin gets its wings.” I batted my
eyelashes at David and he very kindly let me have one. =) I’m so
hacking it.

Seneca was there, hacking away as always. Mike Fletcher was at the
same table. Ian Garmaise had briefly introduced us at the other
night’s DemoCamp afterparty, but I hadn’t really had a chance to
talk to him. It was great discovering mutual friends: Chris and Emily,
whom I know through tango and renaissance dancing and whom he knows
through jazz. He knows a bunch of interesting people, and I’m looking
forward to meeting them at a party at his place on Saturday. Whee!

In retrospect, it was good that I ended up over there for hot
chocolate. =) Life works out one way or another.

On Technorati: ,

Random Japanese sentence: その猫の一方は黒で、もう一方は茶だ。 One of the cats is black, the other is brown. Sono neko no ippou wa kuro de, mou ippou wa cha da.

Social media for social change

May 31, 2006 - Categories: social, web2.0

This is one of the reasons I love technology.

On Technorati: ,

Random Japanese sentence: ある日、彼女はペットの猫がほしいと私に知らせました。 One day, she told me that she wanted a pet cat. Aru hi, kanojo wa petto no neko ga hoshii to watashi ni shirasemashita.

Another aspect of what I want to do

May 31, 2006 - Categories: purpose

From netsquared comment:

Although I’ve studied the material provided here, what I would really like is to be able to hire someone who is 100% comfortable with these technologies to help me get accustomed to them. Like a “new media coach” ;-).

On Technorati: