EppsNet Archive: Learning

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. / I learn by going where I have to go. — Theodore Roethke


Ruby on Rails for Rubes

28 Apr 2012 /
Ruby Tuesday

(Photo credit: matt hutchinson)

The biggest headache in software development is that most programmers can’t program and don’t want to learn anything.

I recently finished up a MOOC called Software Engineering for SaaS, offered by UC Berkeley through Coursera. For a modest investment of a few hours a week for five weeks, I learned some Ruby on Rails — a well-designed platform and a lot of fun to work with — as well as tools like GitHub, Cucumber, RSpec, SimpleCov and Heroku.

Over 50,000 students from 150 countries signed up for the class. According to a final email from the professors, about 10,000 students attempted at least one assignment or quiz. Or to look at another way, 80 percent of the students gave up without even trying.

Approximately 2,000 students, or 4 percent, completed all four of the assignments and the three quizzes.

One of the enrollees who gave up without trying is a former colleague of mine, an ASP.NET programmer, who threw in the towel when he realized he wasn’t going to be allowed to do the programming assignments in C#.

Evidently he read under Prerequisites: “Programming proficiency in an object-oriented programming language such as Java, C#, C++, Python, or Ruby” and missed the course description at the top of the page: “This course teaches the engineering fundamentals for long-lived software using the highly-productive Agile development method for Software as a Service (SaaS) using Ruby on Rails.”

“I’m not going to learn Ruby on Rails,” he said, as though it was a silly, irrelevant thing to suggest to a professional programmer, like learning a yo-yo trick.

Thus spoke The Programmer.


If You Want to Be Great

3 Mar 2012 /

If you want to be great, you need to learn about all the possible relevant ideas that have worked for others. You need to create new ideas, blend, adapt and prioritize them, and constantly test the best ideas to see which ones work for you. Only then can you fully implement — while continuously adjusting — the ideas that really work.


“Am I a Success or Failure?” Is Not a Very Useful Question

19 Feb 2012 /

To be overly preoccupied with the future is to be inattentive toward the present where learning and growth take place. To walk around asking, “am I a success or a failure” is a silly question in the sense that the closest you can come to answer is to say, everyone is both a success and a failure.


Learning Patience

1 Aug 2010 /

I’m learning that when I feel like I have to say something and if I don’t say it I’m going to explode, that’s a good sign that maybe I shouldn’t say it . . .


One Eye on the Path

30 Jul 2010 /
Bonsai Moon

A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master: “If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen?”

The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.”

The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?”

Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.”

“But, if I really, really work at it. How long then?” asked the student.

“Thirty years,” replied the Master.

“But I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?”

Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

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The Professional Programmer

29 Jun 2010 /

The single most important trait of a professional programmer is personal responsibility. Professional programmers take responsibility for their career, their estimates, their schedule commitments, their mistakes, and their workmanship.

Read full article.


Don’t Look Back

12 Jun 2010 /
Looking back

In uncertain conditions the main question should not be: “Why didn’t your performance yesterday conform to the original plan?” Rather, it should be: “What kind of feedback can help you learn faster and perform better tomorrow?”


How Can I Help You?

13 Feb 2010 /
soccer practice

How can I help you succeed? How can I help you ask strong questions, take wise risks and deliver great content? How can I help you prosper? Most importantly, how can I help you learn and make new connections? How can I help you serve the larger group, of which we are both a part?


Twitter: 2009-12-02

2 Dec 2009 /

Just Trying to Learn

12 Oct 2009 /

I’m not trying to have a career, I’m not trying to be rich, I’m just trying to learn.

— Francis Ford Coppola

Twitter: 2009-07-23

23 Jul 2009 /
  • RT @KathySierra: Don't learn PPT/Keynote, learn how the brain works. Learn storytelling. Study filmmaking. Apply learning theory. Inspire. #
  • RT @OCWeekly: A very special OC Weekly farewell to Gidget the Taco Bell chihuahua http://tinyurl.com/n6k4mq #
  • Thank God it's Friday! Wait — what? #

What Did You Learn? What Did You Teach?

5 Apr 2009 /

What could the world be like if each day we asked ourselves, “What did you learn?” & “What did you teach?”

(Disclaimer for learning purists: until there is a shorter phrase for “create a context for someone to learn”, I’ll use “teach” as shortcut)