A quick note

This is very cool.  Or, at least I think so.

I’m a sucker for stories like this 27 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Chrome Could Do.

I know, I know.  Click bait.

What I enjoy is proving the title wrong “you didn’t know” by seeing things that I did, in fact, know.  For me, there is a real feeling of satisfaction in learning something new.

Often, it’s like sitting in one of those smackdown presentations where the presenter goes through a bunch of really obscure things that, while possible, really don’t earn a place in my set of skills.  Entertaining, yes, useful, probably not.

I’m scrolling through this article checking off things that I already knew but then came to this point.

scratchpadorigin

Now, I’m always taking notes.  I’ve always done that.  These days, I have both Keep and OneNote just a click away and use both just because I can.

Long before these useful utilities came along, I had purchased a product from 3M that took the humble Post-it note and made it digital.  I could now thumb my nose at those people with their yellow notes stuck all over their workspace.  Mine were all on my computer desktop.

Of course, time passes and now there are so many options – most operating systems have their own native utility.  And, if that’s not enough, you have so many third party products you can download and use.

Even the original Post-it has been updated to the point where you look old school just using the yellow ones!

So, this one was interesting.  The geek in me read the code and it all looked good.  I copied the code, opened a new tab, pasted the code into the URL bar and wham.  I had a white screen with a flashing cursor.  Then, I started to type.

scratchpad

Son of a gun if it didn’t just work.  If you click through to the original article and read the complete details, you’ll see that there are some primitive formatting abilities.  And, since the code that launches this is human readable, it’s also human editable.  Next step was to change font, font size, …  Fun!  In a Computer Science classroom, this could be a challenge to modify and come up with the best hack!

How’s this for a change to the Courier family of fonts, use of bold and italic and I replaced the favicon with one of my own?

notes

I did learn that it’s by session.  So, if you close the tab and then start it again, you get a fresh instance of a note so make sure that you save or otherwise repurpose your note before moving on.

It’s not just for Chrome either.  I tested it with Opera and Firefox and it worked nicely.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

2 thoughts on “A quick note

  1. Doug, it was as I was reading this post that I realized, as educators we need to make a stronger connection between coding and reading. There’s a decoding and comprehension component to what you did here. Imagine if we helped explicitly make this literacy link for kids. Even as a teacher, I’d be more apt to explore coding in math, but why not in language? In the Reggio-approach to learning, we often talk about the 100 languages of children. Could coding be one of these languages? Strangely enough, as you worked through this activity, you helped me see coding in a different way. Thank you!

    Aviva

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  2. Thank you for the kind comment, Aviva. I think that one of the perceptions of programmers is that they sit in a room and program everything from scratch. I would argue that it’s anything but that. Being able to read other people’s code is a crucial skill. Particularly in this day of code sharing and gitbubing (is that even a word?), we can learn a great deal from the expertise of others. There are so many brilliant programmers out there that are quite willing to share what they’re able to do. There are other programmers that share their stuff too but it’s not so brilliant. Being able to read and discern good code for your purpose is an important skill to have. Beyond this, being able to document your code is so important as well.

    Yes, programming is a literacy and those who are successful recognize it as such. I especially like reading comments from Linus Torvalds when he talks about coding.

    In this case, it’s a relatively simple piece of code to read and modify but it does reinforce the concept.

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