Archive for December, 2012

Teaching Kids to Code

Saturday, December 8th, 2012
Small Basic Turtle

Small Basic Turtle

I have been thinking for a while about teaching kids to code. I have tried a few different methods and used a couple of different books as a basis for spinning up my kids and their friends on the joys of being a code slinger. Nothing was really working exceptional well. I kept feeling like something was missing and it probably was the “fun” part of creating software. Part of the problem is today’s kids use such amazing software on the web and via video games and they don’t find coding a bubble sort in C++ much fun. They want to write the next hit first person shooter or IPad app the first time they compile.

But the other night I saw Steve Michelotti and his son give a presentation on just how to go about teaching kid’s to code using Small Basic’s “Turtle Graphics” functionality. I took be back to the late 80’s when kids learn taught programming on their schools Apple computers using the Logo programming language. You could Steve’s son had a blast making the “Turtle” move about the screen and change color and he had developed a knowledge of programming basics in the process. But MORE importantly he learned why geeks like me love to code. It’s such a creative, fun, absorbing activity and there is something magical about making a piece of hardware do your bidding.

Here’s a link to Steve’s Blog :
And here’s a link to the presentation and the code samples.

Good Ideas about Business Intelligence never go out of style (neither do Dolphins)

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Good Ideas about Business Intelligence never go out of style (neither do Dolphins)

Microsoft Video Case Study at the National Aquarium in Baltimore

A while ago I was involved in a video case study on Business Intelligence at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. I pulled up recently to show some co-workers and I was amazed by how prescient the presentation still was. I think this is because Hans Keller, former CIO of the National Aquarium had such a clear and insightful plan for the project from the beginning and this plan was based on business drivers such as return of investment (ROI) instead of just technology Gee-whiz drivers. The cute dolphins don’t hurt the view ability of the presentation either.