Category Archives: Tech

So long, Ubuntu

I installed the latest distro of ubuntu and very quickly regretted it. I instantly began getting system errors, my screen started flashing black, and the update manager was not working correctly. I did some research to see what I can do to fix these problems and it turns out the ubuntu developers have taken the OS to a… strange direction. Why they made the changes they have fore this update makes no sense to me.

I’ve been an ubuntu user for many years but since their cloud service has been laid to rest I’ve found myself using my Windows partition more and more. However, when I am not playing LOTRO or other games on Windows I want a fast, responsive, and neat OS. So I have installed Fedora 20 and am loving it. Happy to start the new semester with a nice new OS. I may go back to ubuntu in the future if they fix the crazy web of problems they have created with Trusty Tahr. I might make a post for myself (and maybe my cousin who is getting a new system soon) in the future with all of the basic-get-you-system-ready steps to take when you first install Fedora. For now I have to get to packing for our move and get started on this week’s SQL homework.

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Goodbye Ubuntu One

My heart is broken after reviewing an email from the Ubuntu team stating that Ubuntu One is closing down. U1 was my first introduction to cloud storage I was too lazy to try a few years ago. I have been using it since last summer and have grown to love it. I suppose dropbox will become my substitution.

Though U1 was buggy at times and could have used a better account system (could not log out or link multiple accounts) it was very user friendly. It has worked on all of my devices without any compatability or setup problems. I hope they put it back up in the future. I will continue to use it until June.
One nice thing is they are allowing users two extra months to download their content, more than can be said for the League of Legends team (still so mad about losing my account).

Programming Learning Media: Pros and Cons

So you want to start programming, but not sure where to begin? There are many ways to learn how to code. In this post I will be covering the different ways of learning programming, and the pros & cons of each. First things first, you do NOT have to go to college to get a job as a programmer. However, I recommend it. You will be subjected to all of the different sects of programming, and get to see what kind of programming interests you the most. You also have an instructor at your disposal for idea exchange. You DO have to be dedicated to learning all that you can on your own time, whether you’re in college or not. Now, let’s take a look at different learning media:

Tutorials
There are a few options here. You can find text tutorials in books, online, and sometimes in the program console you’re working on. This is a great way to get your muscles (both brain and fingers) used to the language you are coding in. A great site for this is Codecademy, you will need to register (it’s free). Cons: you could miss some important programming concepts if you only follow tutorials.

Video Series
There are a number of really great video series on youtube that will not only give you coding examples and tutorials to follow along with; but insight into general programming concepts and good coding practice/tendencies. A personal favorite of mine is Jesse Warden’s Intoduction to software development for the basics. Highly recommend if you’re new to coding. He’s funny and very informative. Cons: it’s harder to ask questions, you may or may not get a reply, and you have to wait for responses.

Workshops
These are harder to come by (at least in my area). However, I have watched multiple recorded workshop sessions on youtube and they are a great starter for anyone new to programming. You follow along, get to take notes, and you have multiple event staff there to help get you set up and answer any questions you may have. Most of these that I have seen you bring your system and they will help you install what you need to start coding. If not, they provide detailed information on how to do so ahead of time. Cons: usually cost money, can be difficult to find, could have to wait a while for the workshop date.

Classes
Classes are one of my favorite ways to learn. Reason being, most programmers are lazy, myself included. A class helps me stay motivated to practice, practice, practice (because I have a due date for my work). Almost all the programming classes I have taken have been online (or half online half face to face). They usually consist of a mix of the previously mentioned learning media. You’ll have a book, tutorials, videos, and a person to answer your questions. You do not have to pay to go to college in order to take classes. There are many classes online such as Coursera, MIT’s open coursework, and W3Schools. Cons: They take a bit of dedication, but programming itself does too!

Programming tips for beginners (What your teachers neglect to tell you)

When you’re taking introductory programming classes in college you have a ton of information to take in at once. I suppose this is why many instructors leave out the good stuff; the stuff that would make your life and all of those assignments ten times easier… So here is my list of tips for beginners:

1) Begin in your native OS. Trying to figure out a bunch of hoopla to get your tools installed correctly in unfamiliar territory is asking for a headache.

2) Do not try to code when you have a headache, are super tired, or impaired in any other way. Rest first, you need a well-functioning mind to produce good code.

3) IDE, baby! Integrated development environment. I love bare bones text editor and command prompt/terminal just as much as the next guy; but I am a bigger fan of efficiency and speed. Anything that can cut down time I spend developing is my friend. Less time with technology = more time with family = happy boyfriend and daughter. Employers are all about it too (of course)!

4) Know how to get information! Develop Google skills. I had no idea it was a skill to “Google something” until I took my first database class and learned aboutcorsera queries. Read this and this, then tell everyone you know to do the same. Otherwise you might soon be the person everyone who is lazy or not tech savvy asking you to do their research for them. (& trust me, that sucks.)

5) Find your niche. I know after your first hello world you will want to learn multiple languages, have a ton of projects, and just be so excited you can’t contain yourself! Stop. Learning a new language takes time. Eventually you can and will have a stack of languages under your belt, but it takes time. If you want to work as a programmer you need to figure out what you want to do, and what to learn now. There are many options (web development, databases, applications, software, the list goes on…) so do some research, find what interests you, and try to stick to that for a while.

6) If you’re in college, taking a programming class, or learning from a coding book from your library- beware! Most beginner books will give you steps to follow for assignments in order to get some practice. I have no idea why, but many of those will give them to you in crazy order where you don’t write your main method until step 5 and by then you have 13 lines of code. No main method, no compilation, no test, no run. You should be compiling and running your code every 2-3 lines. Do NOT attempt to write all of your code out then run it. If you’re doing exercises from books don’t be afraid to go out of order, you have to be able to run your code early on.

7) Learn as much as you can! We live in the world of information. Watch YouTube videos, get a learning app, check out online course sites like corsera and  MIT’s open coursework.  Even if you’re in school, they can only teach you so much. Learn all you can whenever you can.

8) Manage your time. Don’t do it unless you’re passionate about it. Developing takes a LOT of time. You really have to be devoted to it if you want to become a programmer.

9) Read, write, and review code. If you’re in school utilize your instructors. Learn as much as you can from their feedback and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

10)   Code things for you and use them! Work on small projects (remember games and other big projects have many, many people working on them),  don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Get involved. Join a user group if you have one in your area. Contribute to an open source project. Be active in forums. You will learn so much this way. And remember to always stay up to date!

So long, Windows!

I have always dual booted Windows and Ubuntu on my machines, but recently I decided I was confident enough in my Linux abilities to allot my entire disk to Ubuntu. A new OS can require a little work to get up and going the way you like it. I figured to save myself (and maybe even others) a little bit of trouble researching, and make a checklist of the programs I like to get running directly after the new Linux install. This is not meant to be a tutorial, but for personal reference.

The Basics 

  • First things first, updates! If you did not select to get updates when installing ubuntu, go ahead to the update manager for them. Or enter the following into the terminal:

sudo apt-get -qq update

  • Codecs and other important stuff! Go to the ubuntu software center and search for ubuntu extended extras or enter the following into the terminal:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

  • Download your favorite internet browser (mine is Chrome) this can be done by going to the site and downloading chrome for Linux or entering the following:
sudo apt-get install libxss1

[Note for 32-bit systems you will need to replace “amd64” with “i386”]
Software 

  • Link to the cloud using ubuntu one. Trust me, it will make your life SO much easier and it’s free! This can be done by visiting this link.
  • I know with Linux you are not as likely to get a virus as with Windows but ClamTk is an awesome antivirus with fantastic scanning abilities. This can be downloaded in the software center.
  • Wireshark is a program used to view packets, very useful for curiousity and security reasons. Available in the software center.
  • WineHQ is another program anyone would find useful. It allows you to run programs that would normally run on Windows, on Linux. This can be downloaded in the software center.
  • I program in Java a lot and my favorite platform is eclipse. To install type the following into the terminal:
sudo apt-get eclipsesudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jdk openjdk-6-source openjdk-6-demo openjdk-6-doc openjdk-6-jre-headless openjdk-6-jre-lib

&& there you have it. If I later feel that I need to add a few things. So long, Windows!   v