Archive | November 2011

Updated: Self taught jobs skills and getting your e-learn on. The ode to Bucky Roberts and other e-learning pioneers.


Are you a modern web worker but did not spend four to eight years in the computer science lab?  Don’t want go thousands into debt for a new degree, but have hours of time and a keen interest in teaching yourself new skills sets? Get inspired or depressed with this vid.

Well, likely you are not alone. As the web evolves and the skills needed continue your career as a web worker evolve and new skill sets are needed even in less technical web roles, where do you turn to?  Bless you peer-to-peer publishing and cheap media production costs.

I have recently been learning basic Java and object orientated programming (OOP) (for disclosure for a class yes, but the tutorials have been extremely helpful, hence the post).

My past exposure to traditional programming was via summer seminar learning  Basic, Pascal, and C++ when I was much, much younger and less, less interested. Or hacking up ugly uncommented out Velocity (dead apache tempelating language)  and XML templates in a work setting to build traffic over many weekends. Two very different ways to learn and work through pretty tough material.

The third way is the pure classroom old pedagogical model pay tuition model… This has many benefits and draw backs as well especially if you have a learn-by-doing learning style. However, it does force you to block out a specific amount of time to figure out tools and learn. But sometimes you want to learn m0re and not drop the money for a tutor…. Or you need to learn some skills for a specific project or to be able to speech competently about it.

This led me to learn about TheNewBoston the home of Bucky Robert’s tutorials are great for step by step concepts instructions, but only if you know the theory behind what you are doing. You can spend days and grow your web beard long with the amount of information you can gain just by watching and following along.

For OOP theory  explained well if you are like me and ask “why” all the time, I am a big fans of the Baltimore based  fellas at and the green wibit frog. Mid Atlantic region represent! Love the corridor. These guys provide the kind of advise anyone getting into programming, software engineering, or development should start with before you dive in. They are really quite good at explaining the relationship between procedural languages and OOP and moving your mental framework from one to the other.

I have also found some really great lectures on iTunes U, but less for what I am currently interested in learning and what I want to learn in the future. Mostly academic and class lecture audio driven, but the content is very high-end. But audio lectures are not what I am looking for in e-learning.

I digress… If you want to learn the core concepts of how all the wonderful software and applications most of you take for granted everyday works and was made join up. Learning what you can do with to add new things into the world and join a well-developed friendly community of learners (the wibit boards or Bucky’s youtube comments), they may be a few steps ahead or behind you so be nice. Then join up with Bucky and the fellas learn and participate and get learning.

The great thing about these tutorials are they make you want to learn much much more… and the amount of material available for the introductory price of free is unreal. If you include those others out there they like as well like PHPAcademy on youtube…

Just remember, you got to hit them back when you land your new gig or that big raise. The more you give the more you get back. Or until you do just write a blog post singing a few praises and giving them some nice linkbacks.

Keep up the great work and a big thanks to your teams that work with you to develop your material and scripts. Not to mention all the jokes built-in to the material makes learning fun.

If  you have the spare bucks and can afford $49 bucks a month I highly recommend TeamTreehouse and their growing video library.

Or maybe you wanna learn some JavaScript, and now much more? CodeAcademy is really great, and I  love the social aspect of the training and its free. Glad to see their couses available free are growing.

Here are a few more I have used or found and may explore in further detail:

More Java..

W3Schools are a great resource, but not video learning driven.

JavaScript, etc…

A few paid online software-training sites. (They often have cheap self-edu deals and more if you are looking) (paid web and in person joomla, drupal, and wordpress training) (I am interested in learning CoffeeScript first training of it I have seen offered)

Drupal Gardens from  the Aquia folks in Co, is a great way to learn the content user side of drupal for publishing. If you are not quite ready to dig in the FAQs and tutorials.

Got a question? Sign up for Quora the question answer format around subjects is very helpful.

Some great resources links for journalism converts into frontside development.

Free University courses online.

Many more at Coursera.



Last week brought Blackberry owners Opera mini 6.5

"O" logo used by Opera Software as t...

Image via Wikipedia

Opera Mini logo
Image via Wikipedia

Less than a week of using Opera mini 6.5 and I am already very impressed are you?

This post is just a big thank you to the developers who worked on the new Opera mini versions. Seriously thank you very much. I am not sure if those running Android will get the same results but I have also heard great things of Opera mini for the various Android builds.

I am currently running a Torch

9800 (I was locked in At&t until I departed the states in September, ancient now right?) Needless to say the 9800 and BB OS 6 has been a much better experience than the three blackberry’s I owned in the past, the webkit browser still left me wanting much more. I am primarily a heavy text, email pounding, and now BBM to friends and family worldwide and not content and not particularly app centric (other than twitter and Facebook apps for blackberry which are very decent.)

However, with the release of the new Opera mini 6.5 I am contented despite my year and three-month itch to ditch or upgrade and therefore kept my eco-system mix anxiety in check a few months longer. The new Opera mini browser  may get me into through contented until Q2 of 2012 (QNX or iPhone5) or until I drop my Torch and cause its untimely death.

Thank god, the phone market is so messy now as a consumer.  A normal person would ‘just get a new phone.’ Yea not me it would be a study, a hot mess … Great things floating out there about Siri on the 4GS, great new Android products coming out every week, even the new WindowsPhones with the metro design and mango ready are pretty sweet. Then there is the Torch 9810 which is the faster better version of what I currently use every day. Arg… Just going to have to wait it out.

But transition costs are never easy as we build our own little eco systems. I love (can’t work) my MacBookPro, but do not really want to become a complete fanboy douche, either. Android and OSX don’t play super nice together… I live in my Gmail account, but some android phones I have used feel like such overgrown betas. I have two android tablets back home in storage running 2.2 cool as concepts but not quite ready for big time (well before Moto Zoom and Samsung‘s additions.)

But, I am not surprised this has happened to me twice before where the Opera crew extended the life of my last two phones as they too fell behind the curve feature wise by giving me a decent browsing experience I had not before had.

But a question for you I leave on…  am I the only one who use to be able to go a full two years+ before getting a new phone and be ok and now feel I want a new one every 10-11 months?

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