Book Review: Learn to Program

I picked up Learn to Program for two reasons:

  • I was curious about a book that could teach you to program.  Where do you start?  Also, I originally learned how to program (in Basic) from a book with no computer.
  • I wanted to learn Ruby and that’s the programming language that Learn to Program uses.

I was impressed with the book.  Chris Pine starts out with the very basics – how to set up your computer with Ruby and how to create and run a program and takes you through a few basic programs, algorithms like sort and finally simple interactive games and file manipulation.

If you are looking to learn how to program or how to teach your kid to program, Learn to Program is a good starting point.

Do you live well?

I keep pointing out how cheap things are these days and how much we have.  Most people look at me like I’m crazy and then try to point out how expensive things are.   Really, you can eat out for an hour’s worth of work at minimum wage.  Groceries are even cheaper, if you buy the right stuff.  You can buy a t-shirt at Old Navy for $5!  You can buy an entire outfit in very good condition at my local thrift store for less than $10.  Toys are cheap – we consider a lot of them "disposable."  Looks like the author of Our high, high standard of living would agree with me.

as late as 1970 the median single-family home  was still less than 1400 square feet (versus over 2200 now).

I have a personal recollection of the 1960s and 1970s (I graduated
from high school in 1977). My dad was a college professor and probably
made a pretty good income, but we never had a standard of living as
high as lots of "poor" folks seem to have now: We never had air
conditioning. We didn’t get a second car until I was in high school. We
didn’t get a color TV until I’d gone away to college. We never took
vacations overseas. Eating out was for special occasions.

The only problem I’ve encountered with living inexpensively these days is that it’s hard to find a new, small home these days.  All the new homes in good locations are huge homes.  So most homes are expensive, but it’s because they are huge, not because the cost of living has gone up drastically.  It has gone up, but in general, we all live very well.

40 hour work week is made up

Did you know that the 40 hour work week is totally made up.  From Groovy Green – The 4 Day Work Week:

The notion of our standard work week here in America has remained largely the same since 1938.   That was the year the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed, standardizing the eight hour work day and the 40 hour work week.

So when you consider alternate work schedules and hours, keep in mind that there’s no real reason you are supposed to work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day.

The rooms that writers’ create in

Ever wondered what a writers’ office looked like?  You can see pictures of them on the Guardian’s website.  They range from very austere to very cluttered from the New York Public Library to the libraries of other famous authors.  It’s an interesting glimpse into part of the creative process of writing.

Movie Review: Death Proof

Once again Quentin Tarantino shows that he’s not your average director.  His movies may be a tad bit too violent, but nobody will ever call them boring.  This one also has some fun loving, tough women.   Not deep but not boring. 

We never did find out why the bad guy wants to kill all the pretty women but I still liked the ending.

Book review: The Age of Turbulence, Alan Greenspan

I am listening to The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan and in the first few chapters I’ve already learned some interesting things.  On economics:

  • The interest rate reflects how much money is available for investing.  Our interest rates are low because people have saved lots of money and are investing it.

About Alan Greenspan:

  • He was raised by a single mom.
  • He learned math from following baseball statistics.
  • His first professional job was playing the saxophone.
  • When the 9/11 attacks happened, he was sitting on a plane on the way home from Zurich.  The plane had to turn around and go back to Zurich.

Everyone is in it for themselves

So when your seven year old doesn’t listen to you – don’t take it personally.  He just doesn’t want to do what you were saying.

When the cashier grunts at you – don’t take it personally.  She just doesn’t want to be at work.

When the guy in front of you in line glares at you – don’t take it personally.  He’s probably thinking that the cashier hates him.

When your kid’s teacher won’t talk to you – don’t take it personally.  She’s probably just too shy to talk to any parent.

When nobody at works stops to say hi to you – don’t take it personally.  They are probably worried about that deadline.

But when it feels like the whole world is being mean to you … well maybe you better figure out what’s wrong with you.

I know!  I forgot to put on my happy face this morning.  Seriously, it’s a good thing Caleb greeted me this morning jumping up and down and giggling.  Otherwise it would have been a long day.

Drinks that make themselves cold

We are one step closer to living in a science fiction world.  Coca-cola is supposedly coming out with a Sprite that chills itself when you open it.  The ice is made out of the drink itself so that you don’t get a watered down drink.