Thursday, January 29, 2009

I love Open Source!

I'm currently working on a bicycle route time planner. It uses Javascript and it's difficult to learn and program the page with the options I want at the same time (I didn't know Javascript before this). So it was very nice to come across and Javascript interpreter called SpiderMonkey Javascript engine. I downloaded it, compiled and I've been using it to write Javascript code that is used on my planner page. The great thing is that I can write experimental code and test it on the Javascript interpreter without having to reload the web page. This helps to speed up the development time tremendously. The cost to use the interpreter, the time to download and compile. My best method of repaying the Open Source community is to give back code to the community (and to find bugs and fix them). In return most of my code is also Open Source.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oops, wrong blog

Dang, posted the blog entry to the wrong blog. I meant to post to my General Fluff blog something about the new light set I'm using. At the moment I'm tied up with the normal daily minutia, school (this and one more semester), work, family and my hobbies. At the moment I'm looking into getting a Bluetooth adapter for one of my micro-controllers. I haven't had a chance to put the One-Net boards into use. I'd like to use it on my sprinklers (and a few other devices) but for now I don't have the free time.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Open Courseware and Happy New Year!

As Jon Smirl was kind enough to point out (thanks Jon) MIT's Open Courseware is a great way to advance your knowledge. So far I've taken the Introduction to Computer Science and Programming (6.00) course (Python) and I'm taking the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (6.001) course (Scheme). Both of these courses are prerequisites for other courses. I can say that I haven't taken a liking to Python as it's layout reminds me of the old days of assembly language. Of course this could be my Perl bias. ;-) The scheme language is a prerequisite for Artificial Intelligence (6.034). The other co-requisite, for the AI course, is Multivariable Calculus (18.02), I'll be using this to brush up on my Calculus skills. I'm still trying to get into the proper study routine to be able to take the MIT courses. It's laid out a little different than my pace online courses. Also, the Python and Scheme course are using an online books. The AI course is a book I happened to have. I will be purchasing the appropriate course books as needed. I still haven't figured out how to handle the homework, projects or tests/quizes. Since I'm not paying for the courses I can't take the tests (but I will be donating a little later). As much as many of us students hate tests and homework it's the best way to gauge your progress. While this won't earn me any credits towards a degree it should advance my knowledge towards something useful (which really is the point of all this) and help out in future degrees.