Learning JavaScript, for beginners

Some good links to get started with JavaScript:

Try not to use W3Schools!

Modernizer’s documentation gives really good context to why certain things are done today. I was just reading it yesterday and it got me thinking quite a bit. Skim through though! It only is meaningful when you encounter the cases before.

It’s just really simple

I was reading this post by Michelle Bu and it really resonated with me.

When I was starting do go into programming from doing freelancing on design, my morale is probably at the lowest. It’s been the most discouraging year perhaps. Everybody would go how simple it really is, just do this and this. Some would give suggestion of some super big framework that totally addresses your problem and more.

But. No one, no one, showed me how to do it. No one has any intention to. Perhaps it’s too simple, perhaps it will take too long of their time.

The dirty secret

There’s a vast difference between being able to imagine how to code something and actually making use of the tool to code it. Great programmers can imagine the intricacies of the task and have a good plan how to attack it. Helpful programmers can lead you to completion.

Most programmers underestimated the task at hand and trivialize the task. Why? Because they want to get the feeling of having conquered the problem in their minds without actually doing it. You get the same elated feeling when you do that. Not knowing what you cannot do will make you less disappointed with yourself. Programmers trivialize things to make themselves feel better.

Some programmers want to use your asking for help as a platform to show off how well-read they are too. They tell of a library you never heard of and claim how easy it is to get things done there but not how to achieve that for your task at hand.

Explain your rejection

In many ways, if you are a programmer and you do that, what you are doing is rejecting to help someone. If so, say it directly. I sometimes have to say this is a┬álaborious┬átask and I don’t have the time to guide you through. If there’s a tutorial that I can easily find, I send it to the person to get started too. I think people appreciate the truth. Either help them all the way or lead them to get help from some other source. Be encouraging. I won some friends this way.

Never say it’s really simple.

How words are learned

MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

Deb Roy: The birth of a word

NTU student stabs professor

I wonder if this is stress-induced:

NTU’s final year engineering student stabs professor

SINGAPORE: A Nanyang Technological University (NTU) spokesman had confirmed that a final year student from the School of Electrical and Electronics Engineering stabbed a professor Monday morning.

The professor at the engineering faculty was in his office when the student stabbed him with a knife in the back.

Prof Chan Kap Luk, a Singaporean and in his 40s, is said to be the supervisor of the fourth year student in a project.

After stabbing, the male student, who was in his 20s, slit his wrists and jumped.

His body was found at the bottom of a building at the engineering block, which was about five-storey high. He died from his injuries.

Prof Chan received medical treatment for cuts and is in stable condition.

NTU said both parties’ next-of-kin had been notified. (Source: Channel News Asia)

Why is learning programming so hard for some people?

I’ll try to explain based on my experience explaining Java to some friends. I never been through formal programming training which probably hence made me a poor teacher.

To me, it is because they cannot accept the language as it is. They question why are things done this way? Why not another way? The modern programming language is so abstract. It’s hard to see how the lower level components interact.

Some learners need to fiddle with the lower layers to accept and understand the higher level components. We just build tools on top of the lowest layer and then establish more and more layers thinking it is making life simple.

I lost my patience before and said to a friend, “Why can’t you just memorize it? It’s by design, if you don’t like then design your own language.” Actually it’s just an excuse because the real reason is too long to explain. It’s like telling a primary school kid that light travels in a straight line even though you well know it doesn’t and thank god it doesn’t.

Perhaps it does make life simple for the already programmers, but it makes learning a lot harder.

The problem with 20 min blog screencasts

The general problem about tutorials is that they create things that are quick and hardly uses best practices. The most popular tutorial topic is perhaps the 20 minute blog screencasts. It’s a great way to introduce the features of the web framework but it actually is filled with so many bad practices. Many beginners leave the blog tutorial satisfied, forgetting issues like validation, security and so on.

Should beginners be completely unaware of these issues when they start? With ignorance, it’s easy to attract to would-be developers but they probably wouldn’t stay for long and it gets really discouraging at some point.

I love the 20 minute how to create your own blog screencasts by the way. My point is that it just is not for absolute beginners in programming.

Singapore Junior Colleges light bulb jokes

Chong Kok wants you to see this:

The JC Lightbulb Joke

Q: How many RJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 4 whole faculties. One to design the new bulb, one to
manufacture and test it out, one to write a proposal on it and one to market it.

Q: How many HCJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: The whole school. To compete with RJC.

Q: How many VJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: The whole school. One student to screw it in and the rest to cheer and wave flags and banners to give him/her support.

Q: How many NJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They can study without light.

Q: How many AJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: They’re too busy trying to be one of the top 5 JCs.

Q: How many ACJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They’ll rather use all their money to employ YJC to do it for them.

Q: How many YJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Only one teacher to tell them what a light bulb is in the first place and to demonstrate how to change the light bulb. (So how do you think they’re able to change it for ACJC?)

Q: How many CJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: They’ll prefer it to be darker. (Hmmmm?raises eye-brows )

Q: How many JJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Their physics is so bad that they made their macho male physics teacher cry.

Q: How many TPJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Would they even bother?

Q: How many SAJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They believe in praying for it.

Q: How many NYJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They are still using oil lamps.

Q: How many SRJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Huh, what litebarb?

Q: How many PJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Heck the light bulb lah, the principal would do something about the rightbarbs. Let’s do 300 jumping jacks for not wearing the proper school attire.

Q: How many MJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They are too busy trying to get promoted.

Q: How many IJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They are Innovians. They’ll find ways out of the dark.

Q: Who wrote all this?
A: A TJCian.

Q: How many TJC students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They think they are already very bright.

Teaching teaching and understanding understanding

This interestingly titled 19-minute short film discusses how best to deliver lessons to students. It also includes a forward by Professor John Biggs.

Teaching teaching and understanding understanding

I think there’re many things teachers can learn about teaching in this video material. Most lecturers in my university should, perhaps, take a look at this video.

I think I may have to relearn learning too. Good points.

Quantum mechanics for dummies

Clips from a BBC documentary explaining the arguments from the 1920’s until now as to whether electrons are particles, waves or both.

It outlines Einstein’s distaste at Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and is a good starting point in realising that the universe is far, far stranger than can be imagined.

Quantum Mechanics for Dummies – Electrons Are Weird

Werner Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist. He made contributions to quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, quantum field theory, and particle physics. Heisenberg, along with Max Born and Pascual Jordan, set forth the matrix formulation of quantum mechanics in 1926. Heisenberg was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics. (Source: Wikipedia)