Five students in my class (so far). Yeah! But terrifying at the same time. Now I really have to know my stuff. The class focuses on teaching artists how to use LED lights in their sculptures. In the class; we will get to build a small light show using an arduino board. Basically these students get to build their own computer and learn enough about programming to make their own light show. You can see the class notices in two places–the official school website and my new meetup group.
In a sense, we are going back to an older paradigm; a subject expert learning programming to support a need as opposed to the modern paradigm of learning programming so you can support other peoples needs. At work, I pretend to not know how to program; it’s a lot more fun being a subject expert. And programming all day; 10 hours a day hurts my wrists. At least the older style programming environments with endless amounts of mouse clicks used to hurt my wrists. Haven’t really had any problems in the last few years with writing text and haven’t tried the new programming environments; so to be fair; I might do OK now as a full time coder.
But because I’m rusty and because I’m obsessive about knowing the subject and because I feel like a fraud teaching a class as an expert; I’ve been spending hours learing about arduino chips and their IDE (interactive development environment). Also have been learning a lot about hardware. Just yesterday; I snapped at Bob when he asked about the reset button and I didn’t even know one existed; much less how to do a reset. He showed me; I confirmed it with endless reading of webpages, and now I know.
The new laptop works very well. Was able to install the code and cables with no problems. Even tested out the camera by video chatting with Liz. I am so much happier with Window’s 7 instead of Window’s 8. There is still a learning curve since I use the XP operating system at work. But I’m not getting frustrated having to button push, look for things with stupid names like charms, and relearn all sorts of basic things that keep me from what I really want to do. Its pretty arrogant of Microsoft to assume we love upgrading operating systems and learning what they choose for us. I don’t really care and I’ve worked on many different systems–dos, unix, vax, tso, mac, windows, dec–from a wide range of vendors. Everyone has their own variants; but Unix / Linux was the best. There I could explicitly control what was done and how. No hidden bullshit monitoring devices; no cryptic error codes; and the system admin defining all the basics.
Other than programming; life has been going on as usual in the Lewis household. Kat had a friend staying for a couple of days — it’s holiday time for them since the schools combined Martin Luther King day with furlough day to make a 4 day weekend. Yesterday we sent them on a public transportation adventure. Kate and her friend took the sprinter and a bus to a nearby mall. I think they had fun and found the whole process exciting. I’m sure it was more interesting than having me drive them to the mall. Plus I was happy to skip the journey; 15 miles each way. It could have easily turned into a 60 mile trip–there and back, there and back. So for the investment of 10 bucks (cheaper than the gas) for day passes; the girls learned something new and I gained several hours of free time. Certainly a win for me.
Charlie and Elly have been driving everyone crazy. They play constantly and it looks really rough. Charlie has a perpetual rough patch around his neck from Elly’s constant tongue work. And we worry always about Elly’s eyes getting hurt from his claws. Their newest game involves Charlie hiding in the couch cushions with Elly coming and rooting him out. Once that happens, they scramble over the back of the couch with Elly chasing Charlie. I like my couches — they were a gift from my parents and look really good in our living room. Their game is rough and will damage them. This game goes on for hours and the result is Charlie gets locked into a bedroom and Elly gets locked into a kitchen.
Unfortunately both of them are becoming escape artists and manage to bust out more often than not. This morning was classic. Charlie bust out of the bedroom and came back into the kitchen. There he wiggled into a drawer, rolled onto his back, and then waved an arm up at Elly. She came and started harassing him. As it got rough, Charlie would slide in an out of the drawer; constantly trying to bat at Elly’s face. So far no one has gotten hurt and they both are having fun. Let’s hope it stays that way. Just to prove how obnoxious it is; here is Charlie working on Elly’s tail.
This morning, I”m going on another labyrinth walk with friends. I like them and enjoy the small rituals of say thank-you to the world. It helps remind me of what’s important and gets me to look again outside. This weekend; too much time has been spent on the computer. It’s like school; I’m learning so much. But an hour outside will be a welcome break.
Final note of the day — candy crush continues to be an annoyance. Right now I”m in the middles of “quests” which means every 24 hours, one short puzzle. Unless your willing to pay; then you wait a day to do another puzzle. I can see how it can cause people to breakdown and pay the fees. Ugly marketing model; I need to find some new games. Games have always been a temptation. When Sim City was first introduced many years ago, I tried it at a convention. WOW–what fun; so much fun, I spent hours at the booth playing the game. Came home and told Bob to never buy me that game. Since then; it evolved into an on-line game and now is evolving back into a stand-alone pc game. I’m still tempted.