Categories
Blogs and blogging Coding Design Education People Tutorials

How Wes Bos built his new site

I’ve followed Wes Bos for a couple years now. I bought several of his courses, and look forward to when I have time to do his Beginner JavaScript — Learn JavaScript from Scratch course. He recently rebuilt his personal site using Gatsby.JS, and published both a post and a video explaining how he did it:

The details of his site are pretty technical, and the code is available on GitHub if you want to fork the repo, and take a closer look yourself.

I don’t see myself reproducing what he’s done, and building a new site for myself in the foreseeable future. That said, I have tremendous respect for Wes Bos, and how he approaches his work.

He shares openly, offers pricing for his courses that make it much more affordable (I especially appreciate that), and he produces really good quality content.

If you’re interested in how to build a really fast, static site using the Gatsby.JS framework, definitely take a look at his post and video tour. If you’re interested in learning how to code in JavaScript and JavaScript frameworks like React, check out his courses.


🖼 Featured image credit: Wes Bos (I took this version from his GitHub repo).

Categories
Education Mindsets

If the coronavirus doesn’t kill us, distance learning just might

The speed at which many schools have closed, and kids and educators have had to switch to distance learning platforms have caused quite a bit of frustration, especially for parents overwhelmed with the sudden influx of messages.

Here’s a funny (and true) rant from an Israeli mother who found herself overwhelmed by the flood of messages on WhatsApp, and expectations from teachers that she (and we) be able to fill the gap left by in-person learning.

The Internet can be a tremendous distance learning platform. It just takes some planning to deliver a more rational, and accessible distance learning system.

On a related note, my wife and I are compiling distance learning resources over at our Stuff to Teach Your Kids site. So head over there to see what’s available to your kids:

Categories
Education Wellbeing

Why soap is the nemesis of the coronavirus

You already know that we should wash our hands (frequently) for at least 20 seconds, but do you know why soap is so effective against the coronavirus? Here’s a great explanation from Vox:

On a related note, it’s also worth watching this video:

A quote from the video that stands out for me is this one:

To slow the virus down, you need to act as if you already have it …

Why fighting the coronavirus depends on you

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Giorgio Trovato
Categories
Coding Design Education Tutorials

A CSS Grid refresher with Mozilla

I really like CSS Grid for layouts. My challenge is that I tend not to use it all that much in my day-to-day work (I provide a fair amount of CSS support, but it tends to be focused on narrower issues), so I don’t practice it all that much. Then, when I return to CSS Grid, I don’t remember any of the syntax beyond display: grid; 😜

Fortunately there are loads of resources online to learn CSS Grid. The latest is a video by Miriam Suzanne on the Mozilla Developer channel, titled “Build a Classic Layout FAST in CSS Grid” –

My favourite CSS Grid resources also include the MDN guide “CSS Grid Layout – CSS: Cascading Style Sheets“, and Wes Bos’ terrific CSS Grid YouTube series:

Categories
Coding Design Education Miscellany Photography Useful stuff

Opportunistic diversions for 2019-04-17

I watched a couple interesting videos that I enjoyed, and thought I’d share:

This Engadget video about the differences between DSLR and mirrorless cameras is terrific. Chris Schodt did a great job explaining both camera categories, and the advantages each type has. Well worth watching.


Leonardo Da Vinci was clearly a remarkable person, and this Vox Almanac video by Phil Edwards highlights just how perceptive Da Vinci was.

You can find a few more related links in Edwards’ post “How Leonardo da Vinci made a “satellite” map in 1502 – Vox“.


I work with CSS every day as part of my work at Automattic, and while I’ve encountered pseudo elements, I haven’t really understood them until I watched Kevin Powell‘s video.

This video is the first of a three part series, and just having watched this first episode, I feel like I already have a better understanding.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Victoriano Izquierdo

I’m trying out a post format for sharing a few quick things that probably wouldn’t make for a decent length post. I like the idea of this sort of collection of interesting things, but it feels a little disjointed. Perhaps three short posts would work better. What do you think?

Categories
Education Tutorials Useful stuff

Teaching kids fractions

Our son is learning fractions at school. He’s finding them a little challenging, so I’ve been trying to help him. On one hand, my math knowledge still seems to be sufficient at his level. On the other, I don’t remember doing this stuff like he does it at school.

I found a couple links that will hopefully be helpful to him (well, aside from the examples I worked through with him, some artful diagrams with blocks, and loads of patience), so I thought I’d share them –

I also found the Khan Academy videos on YouTube (also worthwhile if you just want the videos):

Kids these days have such awesome resources available … (and, thankfully, so do we parents!)

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Dawid Małecki
Categories
Books Education People Useful stuff Web/Tech

Building a computer with my daughter and Hello Ruby

I bought the Hello Ruby books for my daughter a couple months ago. She was interested in learning to code, and I had recently watched Linda Liukas’ wonderful TED talk about how she came to write her books.

So I bought both of the Hello Ruby books: one about programming, and the other about computer hardware. I read the stories in both books to my daughter, and then we paused for a time.

I realised that Liukas also made available PDFs of the computers that school kids could download and print to make little cardboard computers. I downloaded the PDFs, and had them printed on 300 gram paper the other day.

Our daughter cut out the various pieces, read about components like RAM, ROM, the CPU, and GPU, and then we sat together this afternoon and built her computer.

Having done this, it may be time to return to the books, and start exploring some of the exercises in the books. It’s a great way to introduce kids to what is otherwise a pretty technical field. Our daughter loves the Hello Ruby approach. I’m a fan too.

Categories
Applications Coding Design Education Science and nature

Scientific papers shouldn’t be published as PDFs

Jupyter notebook examples
Examples of Jupyter notebooks

I enjoyed James Somers’ article in the Atlantic titled “The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete” about how the standard format for scientific papers, namely PDF, is no longer the appropriate format for such data-intensive work.

This is, of course, the whole problem of scientific communication in a nutshell: Scientific results today are as often as not found with the help of computers. That’s because the ideas are complex, dynamic, hard to grab ahold of in your mind’s eye. And yet by far the most popular tool we have for communicating these results is the PDF—literally a simulation of a piece of paper. Maybe we can do better.

The article recounts the history of Wolfram’s Wolfram Mathematica notebook model, and the rise of Jupyter notebooks as an open source alternative that’s also rising to prominence in the space.

I love the idea of more open, more dynamic formats for sharing knowledge, capturing ideas, and promoting access to knowledge.