University vs Teaching Yourself Programming

Tue Feb 13 2018

Many people on the internet furiously debate whether it is better to learn how to program in college vs teaching yourself. This is not necessarily a one-sided debate, there are merits of both teaching yourself how to program and taking computer science in college.

1 University

The main advantage of taking Computer Science in college is that you are also taking a lot of math and science courses. When talking to a professor from Clarkson University he said that they were not teaching students simply how to get jobs, but how to pioneer and shape the field. It is possible to buy a book and teach yourself how to program Python or attend a coding boot camp. However, the tech field is changing at a rapid pace, and what you learn now may be irrelevant in five years. The combination of programming courses and other math and science related courses allows students to create the tech of the future. Think about all the advancements in artificial intelligence we have made in the past year, all that requires higher level statistics and calculus.

Using English Conventions To Write Clean Code

Thu Feb 08 2018

Is that English?

private boolean canCompressBlock(Coordinate start, int size){
   return size == (int), start.getRow(), start.getRow() + size)
           .filter(r-> size == (int), start.getCol(), start.getCol() + size)
                   .filter(c-> c == this.rawImage[start.getRow()][start.getCol()])

After 30 minutes of brain boiling work, I finally finished crafting the most beautiful lambda statement in Java. What could have simply been done in two nested for loops, I decided to tackle the problem with the infamous lambda statement-- feared by most programmers. Lambda statements by no stretch makes code any easier to read since the same tasks can be accomplished through using simpler and more recognizable syntax. Yet I decided to utilize this excessive lambda statement. After much contemplation, I realized that I was only using lambda statements due to the fact that people inside of a field typically try to write to impress their peers. This code chunk is clearly a sophisticated use of functional programming and will likely impress people inside the computer science community; however, 95% of my computer science class would not understand a single word of this statement. This poses a dilemma to newer programmers which may have difficulty reading this “sophisticated code”. After years of helping students learn to program in my high school, I know that students struggle with making their own code legible. Their code often lacks sophistication and clarity. However, at the same time many of my college professors which are embedded in the field of computer science often write code that is too sophisticated and obscure for anybody to easily understand. This got me thinking, how can we teach students to programming in a way that yields legible code for everybody in the computer science field? I turned towards English. It turns out that programming can take a few pointers from English to improve its clarity. The same skills used to teach writing can be applied when teaching students to program because excellent code and writing contains thought through structure, clear phrasing and readability.

Node vs PHP

Wed Feb 07 2018

PHP vs Node meme
PHP vs Node meme

It used to be the case that you wrote PHP for the backend and JavaScript on the front end. However, that has all changed with the invention of Node.js. Some kid invented a clever way to run JavaScript on the server. Now we can develop a website that runs JavaScript on both the front and back end. This is good right? We should all learn JavaScript. The one language to rule them all. Although Node.js has taken the web by storm, I would argue that there are cases where PHP is still relevant and even preferable.

0.1 Where PHP Wins

The major benefit with PHP is the low development time. You can write a website in PHP much faster than you could with Node.js. PHP is simply easier to work with than Node.js. Things like GET, POST, and SESSION information is simply a variable that you reference. Doing the same things in node.js is trickier because they require node dependencies – which vary in quality. Next, PHP was built to work nicely with databases like Mongo, and MySQL. In PHP you can make database query without falling into the callback hell that you experience in Node.js. It is not impossible or impractical to work with databases in node.js, I have done it plenty of times. However, synchronization of the database calls can be tricky and requires more code than it does in PHP.

Why Do I Blog

Tue Feb 06 2018

It seems like there are millions of blogs on the internet. For every popular blog there is, there are hundreds of smaller blogs that go unnoticed. Should you start a blog if it will go unnoticed? Personally, I think the answer is yes. Different people may have different takes on this. There is an incentive to start a website in the hopes that it will become popular and make add revenue. However, I argue that there is a intrinsic value to a personal blog.

1 Organize Your thoughts

Being able to clearly articulate your ideas is beneficial. Having time to brew over topics in a blog posts helps that process. Even though I worked with both Nodejs and PHP, I might not be able to a convincingly debate with somebody why one is the better platform. Writing a blog posts allows me to fully flesh out my own ideas.

2 Learn

History Of Jrtechs

Sun Feb 04 2018

1 Original Site

Jrtechs initially started as a static HTML site that I created early 2014 to build my HTML skills. I initially chose the name Jrtech, but that name was taken so later changed it to Jrtechs. My old computer running ubuntu 12.04 hosted this website. This website went though a lot of revisions as I learned more HTML/CSS. When every you opened the webpage, the images slowly appeared since I was hosting it on a DSL connection. This website never got any real traffic since it mostly just hosted a few pictures of projects I was working on. My vision for this website was just to be a place where I hosted projects that I was working on.

Original edgy site
Original edgy site

2 Move to WordPress

In 2015 I moved my website to the cloud and started a WordPress site. The website was focused on turorial like blog posts.

Initial wordpress theme
Initial wordpress theme

3 New Theme

Second wordpress theme
Second wordpress theme

4 Rebirth in Nodejs