Monthly Archives: January 2014

Mixing It Up

My classmates and I have been getting to know each other as we go through our prework. We have an incredibly diverse group of people enrolled. There is a neuroscientist, record producer, 3D printing guru, game designer, makers, students, and many more. Everybody seems really excited to get started. I am genuinely looking forward to meeting these people and getting to know them. Just reading their short bios and comments have been a really fun experience.

On February 13th, Silicon Prairie News is hosting a meetup. Many of us are going to attend. Not just to meet in person, but to meet the members of the community we are about to join. I’m really excited and will do everything I can to attend. Hopefully you can come too.

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Updates

Wow. There is a lot going on right now. Here is a quick summary.

We are 26 days away from starting Omaha Code School(OCS).

I found an affordable MacBook (Thanks everyone who helped find one for me).

Our prework is having us jump into HTML and CSS basics. Next up will be some Ruby.

Several of my classmates are still raising funds. Please help them out if you can.

I’m not the only student blogging about my experience. Check what other students are saying about OCS.

OCS has secured a location at Midtown Crossing to hold the class. Read more about it on Omaha.com. They are looking for some used furniture (couches, chairs, desks) to help furnish the space. If you have anything, send @OmahaCodeSchool a tweet to let him know.

So far, my experience blogging has been phenomenal. In the past week, I’ve had over 500 page views. I’m also working on reaching a larger audience once the class begins. More on this to come!

Overall, I am really excited about this opportunity. Everything that has happened since I signed up for OCS has reaffirmed my decision to go for it.

Follow this blog to get regular updates about what is going on. I’m shooting for 3 blogs a week, based on what is going on.


Embracing the Unknown

There is one question I have been asked repeatedly since I decided to attend Omaha Code School. Are you afraid/nervous about making such a big decision?

My answer is surprisingly simple. No. I am excited and ready to start this adventure. Understand, this is not like me at all. I have always needed to know what’s next. I never thought I would be okay with not knowing, but this course has given me the freedom to embrace the unknown for 12 weeks. I know I will learn. I know I will grow. I know I will meet new friends and colleagues. But what I am looking forward to the most is knowing that something will come up in the next several months I don’t even know about yet. And that is awesome!


I’m A Gamer

Board games are awesome. If you have not played games with people around a table lately, you really should. Playing games like Ticket to Ride, Takenoko, Smallworld, or Guillotine are an awesome way to spend an evening with family or friends. Better yet, they make you think. These games are not random chance. They make you weigh options and strategize about potential outcomes.

All of these games have similar game mechanics. You are competing, each player is trying to maximize their own position. You are given a problem that must be solved. There may be several “correct” answers. Problems can not be solved in a single action. Each option has a direct impact on what you do next. Sometimes, you start down one path, only to get blocked and have to find another way.

These dynamics remind me of software development. It can be frustrating at times. You might have to scrap what you are working on and start over. Sometimes your decision to use a certain data type removes options later on. But when you find the right combination you come out feeling like the winner.

As class begins, I’m sure I will offer to teach board games to my classmates. It has helped me tremendously and it’s a lot of fun.

If you are interested in getting involved with gaming, a great place to start is the Table Top YouTube channel by Geek and Sundry. Host Wil Wheaton (of Star Trek and Big Bang Theory fame) introduces a game and walks through the rules. After that, he sits down with 3 friends and plays the game together. Some players are experienced, some are not. All come out learning something new and having had a good time.


PreWork and Awesome Things

Last night I started the pre-work that I need to complete before class begins. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I was amazed by what modern browsers can do. The real-time feedback that websites like dash.generalassemb.lycodecademy.com, and codeschool.com are able to provide is fantastic! I love typing in one part of the screen, and seeing my changes immediately reflected in the side panel. It really helps you see the differences between the different tags and values. If you ever want to start picking up some basic web skills these resources are a great place to start.

It has been a couple of years since I first learned some basic HTML. Since then, not only have browsers improved, so has the HTML language itself. I remember how creating images with rounded corners was a complete pain. Now, all you have to do is provide a border-radius attribute, and it’s done for you. Now all we need is for everyone to upgrade from IE6.

As if I wasn’t already excited for class to begin, today a link to this blog was posted in an article on the Omaha World Herald’s website. It’s titled New at Midtown Crossing: Omaha Code School. You should read it so you know the latest and greatest. This totally caught me off-guard and is awesome. I would like to thank Paige Yowell(@PaigeYowell) for helping get the word out about the Omaha Code School. I’m excited for things to come!