Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Codecademy changed my life.

Liz started her coding journey around the same time I did eighteen months ago. We’ve taken very different paths, but have both become code evangelists. I’m hoping to find the time to weigh later on this week.

Update: Since that post, Liz has moved her blog over to a self hosted

Liz Hannaford

So I’ve just finished the HTML/CSS track of Codecademy and I’m left wondering how I’m going to fill my evenings now it’s over. I really enjoyed it – instantly practical and useful and I recommend it to all journalists!

But instead of twiddling my thumbs or spending my evenings watching endless episodes of Nordic Noir I decided to think about how Codecademy has changed my life. That’s not a flippant statement. It’s actually true. I first started it about eighteen months ago following the Javascript track. It opened my eyes onto a whole new world! Work commitments meant I didn’t complete the Javascript course (I started to flounder once we got onto OOP) and I do need to get back into it before I forget everything I ever learnt.

6 Ways Codecademy Changed my life

  1. Evangelism

    I realised how important this stuff was – not just for an old hack…

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Happy Birthday Ada Byron, b. Dec 10, 1815

[Ada Byron] Digital ID: ps_cps_cd3_047. New York Public Library

Click on this portrait of the teenage Ada Byron to learn about her contribution to the history of computer programming.

Combining my favorite topics, family and art, with spicy technology

TED Blog


By Andy Robertson

New art forms are polarizing. We love or hate Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde animals or Tracey Emin’s unmade bed but roundly understand that avant garde art has value, the artist trying to challenge us and make us think something.

Video games draw similar fire. Detractors hem and haw that they’re all about shooting guns and wasting time, and worry about the harm they may be doing that we haven’t identified yet. Supporters congregate into defensive groups, highlighting not only their entertainment and relaxation value, but touting that they have educational and self-improvement benefits too.

Having spoken about the meaning of video games at TEDxExeter, I read the recent TED Blog posts “10 online games with a social purpose” and “7 talks on the benefits of gaming” with great interest. However, even with all the talks available, the posts still focused on justifying games…

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TED Blog

Melissa Marshall has a message for scientists and engineers: Contrary to popular belief, the general public is interested in your work and does want to hear the details of your research. The trick is that you must communicate your ideas clearly, because they will start snoring in their seats if you assault them with a slew of jargon and details they’re not prepared to understand.

See, Marshall is a communications teacher. And as she explains in this talk from TEDGlobal 2012 University, she was asked several years ago to teach a communications class for engineering students. The experience highlighted for her that the ability to speak clearly does not come part and parcel with the ability to do great technical work.

“Our scientists and engineers are the ones tackling our grandest challenges from energy, to environment, to healthcare, among others. But if we don’t know about it and understand…

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Revenge of Sith Sculpture

Revenge of Sith


Lego Sci Fi Sculpture gallery

Where’s Eddie Izzard/Darth Vader?

Taking short break from blogging, as I work on Montreal Mini Maker Faire.  Putting up a sci fi Lego sculpture gallery in the meantime

Computer Science Unplugged:The Show

Last week Ben and I watched a bit of Computer Science Unplugged: The Show.

It’s an ingenious piece of educational theatre that introduces students to basic concepts.  The mantra of the show is computer science is as much about computers as astronomy is about telescopes. 

It’s a great way of showing students, and reminding adults that computers are just tools.  That it’s the coding and computational formulas that run them, and these are, and will always remain the domain of humans.

Although the students don’t actually know this as they’re being led through a series of entertainin interactive demonstartions, they are being introduced to the basics of error detection, divide and conquer algorithms, encryption protocols, data compression, number representation and human computer interaction. 

There’s a companion manual to the show, which I haven’t looked at yet.  But here’s the show for those who want to check it out: