My Week Ending 2021-04-04


Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


Readings 

You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.

Sunday

  • It’s an interesting to ponder when a big company like Microsoft decides to buy another company rather than produce a product on their own
  • I like reading about innovations like this and can’t help but think that they may never arrive but copyright blocks someone else from developing the same thing

Monday

  • It’s interesting to muse whether it’s problems between languages or whether it’s a problem with Google Translate. In the end, it makes for a smile and that’s worth everything
  • I think that the bicycle shortage is the same here although I’m seeing some people with those really big tires which seems to be a thing these days

Tuesday

  • This is a new concept from Google for Android phones that I haven’t quite warmed up to yet because I have my own routine that I’ve used for years
  • It was a tossup between Google TV and Roku and I went with Google TV in my work area – here’s a complete listing of what it offers

Wednesday

  • Being on a piece of money is a real tribute and this time it’s Alan Turing. I can’t help wonder though whether the concept of money may be dead or at least slowly dying
  • Lots and lots of changes are coming for Google Maps. I’m still working on the last bunch of updates!

Thursday

  • Ontario Racing is shut down as a result of the latest round of shutdowns. You can’t just flip a switch with horses; after a month without racing, they’ll be slow to start back up
  • Google is generally pretty good for an April Fools’ gag but cancelled things again this year. A sensitive move but yet another part of our life was removed – this time digital life

Friday

  • Things are still going hot and strong in the United States south with respect to racism, voting, etc. The latest is that Atlanta loses its chance to host the all-star game. More than the game, it’s lost revenue for hotels, restaurants, etc.
  • Some interesting thoughts about privacy web browsers – in this case, DuckDuckGo and Brave

Saturday

  • There are more ways than one to take screenshots in Windows 10 – to be honest, I just use Snip and Sketch which appears to have a new icon this morning
  • I would challenge the statistics on this one and suggest that five in five teachers have been affected

Blog Posts on
doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog are linked below. If you’re looking for a week in review for doug–off the record, you came to the right place.


#FollowFriday – April 2, 2021

https://wke.lt/w/s/9-UHA3


voicEd Radio

On this week’s show, Stephen Hurley and I chatted about names, batons, presentations, inspiration and Melanie.

The show, stored as a podcast is available here:
https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/naming-it-claiming-it-and-finding-the-adventure/

  • Pav Wander – @PavWander
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Peter Cameron – @petectweets
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking

All of the podcasts are archived here. The show is broadcast LIVE almost every Wednesday morning at 8:45 on voicEd Radio.


Technology Troubleshooting

I can remember the excitement that the world was changing and we were going to be able to lay claim to the fact that we’re wireless. I don’t know how much closer, if any, we actually are.

On Saturdays, I pull a Terri Clark and make a point to “straighten my stereo wires” and other technology things around here.

I actually purchased a streaming device for the little TV in my work area. It was a tossup between Roku and Google TV. I went for Google TV without huge research.

Guess what? It requires an external charging cable.

In the move to go to wireless, I slipped backward by one device.


Video of the Week

My old high school — still in operation and now a heritage building.


Photo of the Week

Actually, this came up in my Facebook memories. Apparently, we went to the tip at Point Pelee on this day years ago. I had him sit although he doesn’t look terribly happy about it, judging by his ears. The fact that you can see waves coming from both directions never fails to amaze me.


Thanks for reading.

Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting for you. I honestly and truthfully appreciate your few moments reading my thoughts. Time willing, this summary appears every Sunday afternoon.

Be safe.

dp

This blog post was originally posted at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com/

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.

Whatever happened to …


… BASIC?

BASIC = Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, a programming language.

Unlike many people, it was not my first programming language. I was brought up on the classics – Fortran and COBOL. At university, there were other languages like SNOBOL and Lisp. It wasn’t until third year when I had an account on the DEC computer that I had access to Kemeny and Kurtz’ creation. It was like programming without the overhead of the rules that other languages forced on you!

Photo by Oskar Yildiz on Unsplash

While my teaching career started with teaching HYPO and Fortran, it quickly turned to BASIC as TRS-80, Icon, and PET computers invaded the programming space. I’ve actually worked with a number of different implementations of BASIC over the years…

  • Watcom BASIC
  • Turbo Basic
  • WS-BASIC
  • QuickBasic
  • Visual Basic
  • REALbasic
  • and probably others but I’ve dropped enough names!

It was a staple for a programming language. It was also a staple for the computer programming contests that we ran after school in Windsor and Essex County. I remember great times meeting after school at the Roseland golf course with a few others for a beer and to come up with problems for the contest. Paul Ryan and I went provincial with the concept running the ECOO Programming Contests in conjunction with the ECOO conference and held them at the Ontario Science Centre. There are so many amazingly strong problem solving students in our schools and this was their championship.

I also had a bit of a side-gig writing doors for Bulletin Board systems at the time. Essentially, the bulletin board would quit itself, run the door, and then return to the BBS. There were titles like Bay Street Bulls, Card Guppies, Yahtzee, … It was fun and kept me learning. You could run them for free with the word “unregistered” on them. But, send me a cheque and I’d compile you your own copy with your BBS name hard coded into it. And, a lot of people did!

Then, things started to change. BASIC got a bad rap as a language that produced “spaghetti code” and the infamous GOTO statement. Truthfully, it wasn’t the language; it was the way that it was taught. So, there was a move to Object-Oriented languages and we opted for Turing and Java.

Today, I don’t do much programming because I don’t have the need! But, when the urge does hit, I’ll open up Microsoft’s Small Basic and diddle around. I do enjoy a good conversation with Computer Science teachers as they all seem to have a philosophy surround teaching programming and that’s a good thing. Personally, I think it’s still one of the more powerful skills a student can acquire in high school and it serves them well understanding technology and how it works even if they don’t go on to studying the discipline. I’ve always maintained that it needs to be a mandatory course for all students.

For a Sunday, your thoughts?

  • what was your first programming language?
  • did you ever program in BASIC?
  • which version of BASIC?
  • do you have any memorable big programs that you wrote just for yourself or yourself and a few friends
  • if you’re in a school, where does programming exist if at all?
  • do you think that at least one secondary school course in computer science needs to be mandatory?
  • will the rumoured integration in to the elementary school curriculum be successful? How will non-programming elementary school teachers ramp up to be able to confidently teach it?

As always, please share your thoughts in the comment below.

If you have an idea for a topic for this regular Sunday morning post, please let me know.

OTR Links 04/04/2021


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.