Showing posts with label continuing-education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label continuing-education. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Start With a Soldering Iron

Close followers of TheHackerCIO will know that he's in major retooling mode. Fresh back from Karate in Japan, he's retooling not only his Kata, but his technology. He's donned the white belt for a fresh look at tech from hardware up.

From the basics. The fundamentals.

It was increasingly clear from last year that I needed to get hardware back in my life.  Sitting in our CIO and CTO offices, listening to our classical music leaves us far too detached. We need to get physical, physical. We need to get to the hardware. At the AT&T Hackathon several months ago, the hardware hackers impressed and inspired me with the "wearables" they concocted.  And now, it's easier than ever to get involved with Rasberry Pi -- whatever your age -- and do some interesting hardware/software projects that interact with the environment in interesting ways.

I wish I still had the URL to an essay I read years ago about how to become a "guru" at programming language X. [I no longer remember the exact question, or language, and Google hasn't helped source it]

The advice given, I'll never forget:

1. Start with a soldering iron ...
2. move on to mastering operating systems ...
3. now learn networking ...
4. and assembler ...
5. Start working up the High Level Language Stack. A lot of optionality here. Perhaps:
    Java [forget C++]

Which short-list gives us a good basis in procedural, and then functional languages. Maybe throw in Prolog for a declarative language.

There are other considerations, of course, but this makes a good overall syllabus. And it's more or less the program I'm embarking on for the next good while.

Bought an Asus laptop as working fodder for the review: I'll start by picking up the new-to-me windows 8 touch-screen nomenclature and interface, then re-partition it to become a dual-boot ArchLinux and Windows box.

I already learned that, unsurprisingly, as CDs and DVDs are increasingly scare on laptops, recovery disks in Windows are now just USB sticks. And, they only take 512M, which easily fit on the 7G stick someone was nice enough to give me at the SCALE 12 conference last month. All of this is good to know, and once again, helps keep everything real.

Keeping It Real,


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Where is Your Technology Radar

Today TheHackerCIO is preparing presentations. Tomorrow he'll present on "Your Technology Radar" to a gathering of Chief Technology Officers in Silicon Beach, held monthly at Clearstone Venture Parners. If you're a CTO in the greater LA area, the LA CTO Forum is a great place to learn from colleagues and to get advice about problems or pointers to resources.

Technology Radars are an important tool to keep up with Tech. Invented by Martin Fowler of ThoughtWorks, they are produced twice a year. Lots of developers I work with await the latest Radar release with considerable anticipation. Our local Los Angeles Java Users Group has a weekly book club / study group, which sometimes spends a session discussing Radar items.

The idea, in essence, is to take inventory of all of the emerging technology that the consultants are seeing and getting interested in as part of their field work and recreational work. :-) Then the list is reviewed by the participants and assigned to one of 4 quadrants on a circular graphical display:

  • Techniques
  • Platforms
  • Tools
  • Languages & Frameworks
A circular graphic lends itself naturally to the notion of a Bulls-Eye. Accordingly, the outer ring represents an assessment of "hold", and successive inner rings progressively become more positive, ranging from 
  • Assess
  • Trial
  • Adopt
The Bulls-Eye, therefore, consists of those Techniques, Platforms, Tools, Languages, & Frameworks that should be adopted. A further graphical device is used for each "blip" on the Radar screen, to show change by placing a triangle around those "blips" that have changed since the last issued Radar. A circle, by contrast means the item has remained at the same level. To put it all together take a look at an example of one quadrant of a Radar:

And spend some time reading the May 2013 Technology Radar from ThoughtWorks.

The real point is, you shouldn't be depending on ThoughtWorks Technology Radar. Where is your own personal Radar? You need to be the one actively driving this process of systematic evaluation. To read more about this, read this article and, if you're in LA, join the Technology Radar Group and start working on your own Radar.