Reece M.

Commencing Creative Coding on Codeacademy

This isn’t my first rodeo. I’m a computer science major who else well versed in the ways of code. Codecademys target audience is most definitely not aimed at users such as myself.  However, I did see how it might be extremely helpful for users who have never written a program in their life. The step by step instructions and lessons were very clear and covered some of the basic programming fundamentals quite well. The wide variety of languages and frameworks in which they offer tutorials/lessons is impressive as well. I did a few sections of the Javascript tutorial. I’ve never written much javascript before, but from what I can tell from this experience, it’s fairly similar to most other object oriented languages out there.

My biggest question is who comes up with these dialogues?

My only gripe is how all of their tutorials are too detailed. Codecademy is only geared towards brand new programmers. While it does that job very well, it’s rather tedious if you are just trying to pick up the basics of a second or third (etc…) language. I remember trying Codecademy my freshman year to check out some Java in addition to the Python I was already learning and, even then, I found it quite slow paced and boring/off-putting. Granted, this is just my personal opinion since I would much rather just start getting my hands dirty and figure it out on the go. I do think that being able to investigate and figure something out on your own (so you can start running without learning to take the baby-steps every time you want to try something new) is a very integral part of computer science in general!
Basically, if someone had never coded before, I’d highly recommend they step through an entire course on Codecademy. However, after they get that intro experience under their belt, there are better learning resources out there that can teach you the same things faster. Nothing beats a real person helping you along the way either!

Women and Technology in the 1980’s

The 1980’s saw the rise of the personal computer. Here are some prominent women in the field who helped to make personal computers what they are today.

Susan Kare

Susan Kare created many of the now iconic user interface elements for the original Apple Mac OS. She also went on to do the same for Microsoft Windows 3.0 and eventually serve as creative director for NeXT computing. She created many UI elements and notions that still exist today across all platforms.

For more information on Susan Kare, visit her website.
Happy Mac

Photo courtesy of Kare Prints, http://www.kareprints.com

Frances E. Allen

A pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers, Allen became the first female IBM Fellow in 1989. She also went on to become the first woman to win the Turing Award in 2006.

For additional reading about Frances Allen, see this bio on the ACM Turing Award site.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Roberta Williams

Williams helped to pioneer graphical adventure games for personal computers, namely with the Kings Quest series. She co-founded On-Line Systems which eventually became the game development studio Sierra.

For additional reading on Roberta Williams, see their original Sierra website.

Photo hosted on giantbomb.com

Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley

Shirley founded a UK software company in order to offer work opportunities to women with dependents; only 3 out of 300 programmers were male. She adopted the name “Steve” to help her in the predominantly male-centric business world.

For additional information about Dame Stephanie Shirley, see her website.

Photo courtesy of the LSE information Systems Group

Janese Swanson

Swanson co-developed the hugely successful Carmen Sandiego educational video game series for the Macintosh in the 1980’s. She went on to found Girl Tech, an company that aimed to develop products and services that encouraged younger girls to get involved with technology.

For additional reading about Janese Swanson, see this Smithsonian article.

Understanding the Bro Culture in Tech

Women face a large struggle in technological fields. In fact, only about twenty percent of computer programmers in the US are female.1 There are many reasons for this disparity, but one common claim is that men in computer science-related fields actively persecute women in computing by discouraging their involvement through a cultural phenomenon known as “bro culture” or the “bro code”. In short, bro culture is a form of social interaction that perpetuates masculinity over femininity. In his film The Bro Code, Thomas Keith, an anti-sexism activist, filmmaker, author, and lecturer, has theorized that “forces in [popular and] male culture condition boys and men to dehumanize and disrespect women.”2 (more…)