Posted by Alec The Geek on 14 January 2012
I’m at the Melbourne Maker Faire and a few cool things have caught my eye:
- the FreeRTOS for Arduino — and @fei_li_pu has persuaded me to take another look at Eclipse as an AVR development environment
- Cool wooden journal covers from the Beehive
- the MHV Arduino board
- Up! 3D Printer — shame about the price and lack of Linux support though
- the Range of stuff from Freetronics. I hope they support the Raspberry Pi when it comes out
There was also lots of other cool things, steam punks, crafters, Smart Energy Group and so on. If you missed it hard luck.
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Posted by Alec The Geek on 30 September 2010
The Khan Academy is a great resource for learning maths and science. There are a few tricks when you start using the site and here are the things I’ve discovered over the last couple of weeks using the site with my daughter.
Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Alec The Geek on 20 June 2010
I’ve mentioned a couple of time that I planned to study for my RedHat Certified Engineer qualification. As I’ve now cleared the decks a bit I been able to start the process. So far I have:
More Notes to follow
Posted in Education, EEE PC, LinkedIn, Linux, Open Source Software, Software Setup | 1 Comment »
Posted by Alec The Geek on 7 January 2010
I have no idea if this will work for everyone, but this is how I became a UNIX (and later Linux) geek:
- Read “The UNIX Programming Environment“, Ch 1-5 at least. An excellent introduction to the philosophy of UNIX as well as the basics of using it as a user and later a programmer.
- Get a copy of “UNIX Power Tools” as a desktop reference; however you aim to read it all.
- Make sure you have a network connected UNIX/Linux system on which you can lavish loving care and practice your new skills
- Keep reading books, manuals, articles, blogs, forums etc etc.
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Posted by Alec The Geek on 28 December 2009
Updated 31/Dec/2009 after reviewing material from Spidertools.com
My son, NimbleJack, is doing computing at school — 6 months so far using VB 6 and next year (our academic year starts in Jan here) he will be doing a 12 month VCE IT course — again using VB 6 <sigh>.
I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the teaching: a) The lack of core understanding about topics like classes and algorithm design b) reliance on the VB GUI stopping the students practising important coding skills. So I’ve been encouraging Jack to teach himself Python in order to get around some of the shortcomings of the school course (as I see them).
I chose Python because:
- Powerful enough to be a proper language
- OOP features
- Not as hard to use and learn as C++ or Java
I did consider Ruby — however a lot of the Ruby code I have seen it pretty arcane to a neophyte, despite what the Rubyists claim.
Next we come to my approach to teaching. This is something of a shock to many of my ‘students’ (I’m not actually a teacher by profession by the way) as I see myself as a mentor to assist self learning rather than a ‘listen as I tell you all your need to know’ approach. How does that work? The job of the mentor as I see it is:
- Set the topics to be learned
- Review progress (by looking at students working code and exercise answers)
- Identify appropriate texts and other resources for the student
- Set the learning pace, with the co-operation of the student
- Answer questions and be a resource when things get confusing for the student
Apart from that students are on their own. i.e. they have to
- Plan their studies
- Do the reading
- Takes notes
- Look for other resources
- Complete the exercises
- Identify issues and formulate enquires or questions
- Articulate issues with the teaching and associated material (which teacher is perfect or can’t improve?)
I had made the mistake of expecting Jack to learn from Lutz’s Programming Python which a) assumed to much knowledge about programming systems and libraires and b) does not introduce OOP. This is not a criticism of the book, for someone like me it’s a very useful resource and it is aimed at advanced programming. I’ve just bought “Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science” by Zelle. This text concentrates on introducing core programming concepts OO, recursion, string processing etc. Python is used as the vehicle of instruction.
I’m looking forward to seeing how well the new text works, and of course once basic programming has been mastered we can move onto “What a young developer needs to know“
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Posted by Alec The Geek on 18 December 2007
Apple Store for Education
Other accredited higher education
Apple gives some nice discounts to students and staff, but not to teanagers at high school (or younger). I would have thought the more they can rope in at an early age the better. At my son’s school there is wall to wall Windows (except in the art department). It would be nice to see an alternative; it could also open the door to more Linux as well, once people can have a choice.
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Posted by Alec The Geek on 29 November 2006
The BBC reports good things about Mickey Mouse degrees.
However at the risk of seeming rather curmudgeonly, I have to say that the problem is not that specific undergraduate courses are poor but that the whole academic system seems to have removed the most valuable parts of the tertiary education process. Namely the teaching of research techniques and core concepts. Most of the graduates I recruit or work with are not widely read.
The current ethos seems to be to present students with prepared learning material, heaven forbid the little dears should have to visit the library, and make sure that the ‘clients’ are not unduly challenged by the assessment process so that they remain as ‘happy customers’ –education delivered with the integrity of McDonald’s. Perhaps all degrees should be in Hamburgerology
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