#193 - He’s Coding

5 minute read

Motto: Clean your weight, deary

This post isn't a feature. It's mostly a story. It's a nerdy story about triumph. But first... I've made no secret of the fact that I'm an XKCD fan. I recently re-stumbled across one of my old favorite comics. Back in the day, I thought this was funny because it is true. Now, I think it's just awful because it's true.
I'm an idiot 80% of the time I'm at home now. Thanks Thor and Loki. Story time. I have a on-again-off-again history with writing code. import english.words; I majored in Computer Science in college for a few months before switching to Electrical Engineering. In 2008 I got a "B" in my first coding class, but the complexity of my 2nd coding class caused me to panic, drop the course, and switch majors. That was the only course I ever dropped. If I had stuck with it I would have seen that, according to my friends who DID stick with it, "that was the hardest class I ever had to take". Apparently that was what my dad called a "weed out" class. The assignment that killed me was "write a program that solves Sudoku puzzles". They had us do this before teaching us how to effectively use a debugger. Instead of doing that, I switched majors. I stopped writing code. for(int i; i < 2; i++){ years = years + 1; } May, 2010, I had a summer job interning for the first time. I made friends with a few guys who knew VBA (Visual Basic for Applications, another coding language). Thanks to them, I saw how useful coding could be and learned Visual Basic. I figured out how to use a debugger. I learned that writing code didn't have to be a "it either all works or it all doesn't" type of experience. I decided I had to exercise my coding demons, and I wrote a program in Microsoft Excel that solves Sudoku puzzles. Over the next 2 months I wrote it. It worked. It can solve any puzzle you give it. It's better at Sudoku than I am. There was a huge celebration (in my head). The next summer, I wrote a maze solver (with caveats) in Excel and one or two other little things. int j = 0; while(j < 2){ years += 1; //again j++; } April, 2013, as I prepare to fly to Thailand to propose to my now wife, I had an idea for a project: a Google Spreadsheet that would keep track of all the things in my life that I was letting get out of hand. To do it, though, I would need to learn how to code for Google Spreadsheets. Over the next month or so, I learned Javascript. I built out a program that I've used for the past year to keep track of my life, adding to it along the way (just updated a part of it last night, actually). This is (so far) the only coding I've ever done that's done anything whose use goes beyond novelty status. int x = 0; int newYear = 0; do{ newYear = years+1; years = newYear;} while(years < 2014); This year I decided to do the thing that's so obvious, such an easy logical jump, such a stupidly simply next thing to do that half a dozen or more people have told me "you should do this". You love Google. You love Android in particular. You have some experience writing code. Why don't you write an app, dummy? I enrolled in the Android Application Development class by Google on Udacity. I'm not taking it for credit, or anything, just to learn. The first thing I learned is that I am TERRIBLE at (class and) object-oriented programming. I have been writing in Javascript for a year, I figured the jump to Java would be easy. It's a whole different beast. I did all my work on the Life Tracker working within a single class. I had no idea what "extends" meant. I had no real understanding of the notion of "private" and "public" methods and variables. What's a constructor? Where is the code actually running??? Sadly, I was unable to complete the Android Application Development class. They expected ~2 years of Java background and I went in with 1 year of Javascript. So I enrolled in a 4 month "Intro to Java" course. Here's the thing, though. It's got 9 lessons and it's supposed to take 4 months... but I'm already on lesson 6 and it's been less than a week. I'm flying through the course. It's 90% review for me, but review in a new language. Is it worthwhile? Absolutely. I'm confident that I'll be able to pick up where I left off in the Android course and run with the football. That's my story. That's the Column.

Top 5: My Favorite Lifts
5. Sumo deadlifts - like deadlifts, but better for tall people. 4. Bench press - required answer for everyone. 3. Pullups 2. Tricep extensions - admitted guilty pleasure. 1. Clean & Press - they say squats are the king of all exercises, and it's true. But I prefer the clean and press. No other exercise I've found works the whole body as effectively. Also, Cleans are fun, squats are not fun. That's all there is to it.

“Fortune favors the bold and the daring. Doritos taught me that.”
- Josh -