Winter with Code

What did you do this past week?

This past week, I spent a good majority of my time reviewing for my Operating System exam. Let’s just say studying for that exam is like trying to take a bite out of a watermelon: Most of the things are already understood, but you have to get through a pretty hard shell before things start making sense. I would really like to try and learn something new through Feynman’s method of learning. In order to learn a new concept, write or explain a given concept as if you were teaching someone else. Whenever you find there are gaps in understanding for the concept, learn those parts, and restart teaching that concept. Repeat until you can teach the concept from beginning to end. Now to ingrain it into your brain, try to see how you can explain the concept in smaller, simpler terms. Once you get it down to that, create an analogy to pair with that concept, and it will be nicely ingrained into your brain.

What’s in your way?

Winter is coming. In fact it’s already here. It’s going to be easy to want to spend time playing video games, sleeping in, and doing nothing. Especially with how long the previous semester was, I will want to relax and mentally recuperate for next semester. But there’s quite a lot to do. Hopefully I will be able to find that balance between resting while learning more programming applications as well as spending more time with God.

Winter Break Impressions

This Winter Break so far has started off with playing with my Black Friday purchase: an Echo Dot. It’s an Amazon product that allows you to communicate things you want it to do, kind of like Siri, but pairs off both as a speaker and home application. Not only can it play music, but it can also make purchases, set reminders, and do a lot of other organizing attributes.

I might try to create an Alexa skill to pair off with the Alexa device I have, but we’ll see depending on how cooperative Alexa is. I understand that it will require Amazon’s AWS services, but hopefully it won’t be difficult to develop with. I tried developing with Alexa through a hardware device previously at a hackathon, but Alexa’s developer options are pretty restrained, both because of it’s recent release and possibly because of Amazon’s desire to keep most of the key functionalities abstracted from the public.

What will you do next week?

I plan to plan out my Winter break on the activities I want to do.

Because the semester was so busy (coding an Operating System for about 30 hours a week is intense…), I was unable to fully prepare for any interviews I had. I want to do some coding challenges and interview prep so I can be better equipped for the Spring semester’s recruiting season. I felt happy for the people who managed to get internships this semester, but I couldn’t help feeling a hint of jealousy on it. So I plan to prepare well for it this semester.

Additionally I hope to work on some side projects. I really hope to work on the app for the social dance group that I work with, implementing a way to schedule songs and assign tasks to one another. Also as I said, I’m hoping to work on an Alexa skill, which I still need to think more on what it will do (have a few ideas). Finally, there’s a 30 day javascript challenge that I’m thinking of doing. There seems to be a lot of cool projects for that challenge, so hopefully that will better equip me on javascript.

Tip of the Week

For the Javascript challenge of today, it involves using a keycode in order to register a key listener to activate a given action. The creator of the Javascript challenge, Wes Bos, has a website that gives you all the keycodes you need easily on this website. If you guys want to do the Javascript Challenge, you can find it here. Happy coding!

Written on December 10, 2016