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Four short links: 16 May 2012

Old Periodicals, Learning to Code, Substituting for Newspapers, and Charty Font

  1. Many Old Periodicals — I’m working my way through the back issues of “Thrilling Love”. Sample story, Moonmist for Mary by Dorothy Daniels, from Feb 1950. Filing clerk Mary wins the heart of her secret coworker romance AND closes the sale AND is promised stock. It’s torn from the pages of real life, I tell ya!
  2. Please Don’t Learn to Code (Jeff Atwood) — my take: everyone who is a “knowledge worker” should learn to program (who of us has not seen people wasting time with something we could automate in 10 lines of code?). It’s hard to justify an adult like Bloomberg to take the time to learn to code, because he’s already powerful and can hire other people to code. For this reason, I think kids should routinely be taught computational thinking (decomposition, pattern matching, etc.) and programming as a useful application of these skills. (via Jim Stogdill)
  3. Fungible NewsHere’s my hypothesis. Educated people over forty have come to assume that journalism, whether on television, radio, print or the web, is the most convenient way to get answers to questions like what’s on the television, what’s going on in my neighborhood, who got elected, who is making a mess of things, any new music I should hear? [...] The younger the person you ask, the less likely it is you’ll find that link between wanting to know what’s going on and grabbing a paper or opening up a news website. They use Pinterest to figure out what’s fashionable and Facebook to see if there’s anything fun going on next weekend. They use Facebook just the same to figure out whether there’s anything they need to be upset about and need to protest against. (via Phil Lindsay)
  4. FF-Chartwell, a Graph-Making Font — brilliant! Font uses ligatures to show graphs. This is an elegant hack in so many ways, for example: copy and paste and you get the bare numbers! (via Chris Spurgeon)
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  • John H

    On Jeff Atwood’s “please don’t learn to code”.

    We all know a bit about plumbing. Enough that we can DIY small jobs (e.g. change a washer).
    Enough that we can communicate with a plumber.
    Enough that we know when a plumber is trying to con us.

    I don’t think most people know an equivalent amount about coding — and I think they should.

    After a short course in coding, you know what’s hard, and what’s easy. You can communicate to some extent with a “real” coder. When something computerised goes wrong (and that includes all kinds of appliances) you can reason about it from a programming perspective.

    This is all useful, even if you never plan to write serious code yourself.