Feb 22, 2017

First steps in programming: variables

If you haven't read my first article on getting started with coding I suggest you do so now before proceeding: I will assume that you can open a JavaScript console and run a basic program. In short, we explained that a program is a series of instructions ("statements") which are run together by giving another specific command. I think we should make our program do something a little more useful, let's print out the Apollo 11 lift off sequence: function Program() { console.log("ignition sequence …

Feb 20, 2017

So long, Stack Overflow!

February 17th, 2017 I left Stack Overflow. I remain a moderator on Skeptics where I was elected, but beyond that I am no longer working or managing any other community in the network. We parted ways very amicably, with lots of support, love and a few tears. I will miss them all terribly. I joined the company in 2013, almost 4 years ago. At the time I believe we were less than 100 people. We had two development teams of about 10 elements, one was the “careers” team, focusing on monetisation and t…

Feb 17, 2017

Which programming language should I start with?

One of the most common questions about programming is what language should be used. I think that at this point in time the answer is clearly JavaScript. The reason is simple: it's everywhere a browser is, and it is powerful enough to be way more than a toy. How do I get started with JavaScript? Press F12 on this browser window. Or Hamburger Menu→More Tools…→Developer Tools→Console. Now you should see something like the following image, and do note which "tab" is selected, and if different, click…

Jan 29, 2017

Open Letter On "Muslim Ban"

An Open Letter from United World College Graduates Regarding the Trump Administration’s Ban on Muslims We are the alumni of the United World Colleges movement. We are citizens of over 150 countries. We are people of different ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, genders, political affiliations, and beliefs. We represent a movement that came of age as a direct response to forces of divisiveness, as a bridge in a time when others were building walls. For decades, UWC students …

Dec 03, 2016

I built a hardware RNG for Christmas

Winter Bash is a festive celebration of Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange communities. People compete to be awarded crazy hats for completing random, and often undisclosed actions. I've been involved in building a lot of this year's celebration, which will start soon and will be kept secret until then. Last year we had a hat referencing "the dress", which at the time was a hugely popular meme. The hat that could be won would be black and blue or white and gold depending on the user receiving it.…

Sep 05, 2016

Diversity, being comfortable and ten good principles

I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion. --Kurt Hahn The recent polemic regarding a speaker being expelled without giving clear facts from a JavaScript conference inspired me to write some more general thoughts on inclusivity and diversity in tech. UWC day in Duino, 2015 A truly diverse group of people is necessaril…

Jul 11, 2016

What are the best tech hubs in Europe right now?

If you haven't been living under a rock, you will have heard that the United Kingdom is going to leave the European Union. This will likely have consequences for the Silicon Roundabout, since it relies very much on skilled developers from the rest of Europe. On the other hand, both Berlin and Paris have been pitching to developers and start ups to come and work there. As a remote worker, I have the option of working from wherever I have a stable internet connection. My colleagues hail from 4 dif…

Sep 27, 2015

Data Structures for Andela: Stacks

As part of Stack Overflow's pro-diversity initiatives, I have been helping Andela by mentoring one of their fellows, Bosun, in data structures and algorithms. In the Stack Overflow "default open" style, I am putting some of our notes on the internet, in the hope they will be useful to more people. Most of the code is either pseudo-code or JavaScript, which we chose because it's simple and easy to access and everyone pretty much knows the basics of it. Andela notes index Iterators (part 1) Iterat…

Sep 26, 2015

Two scary signs that a site is unsafe

I generate random passwords of 24 characters chosen from a wide variety when registering to sites. I then use a password manager to remember the password, because of course it would be impossible to remember these. This allows me to browse with a little more security, and it also has the intended side effect of discovering insecure sites. The passwords I choose are by design relatively hard to guess, hence relatively secure. A site that won't allow my relatively secure passwords, but only weaker…

Sep 12, 2015

A computer from scratch - ADDing more functionality

In the first installment of "A computer from scratch", I've built a NAND gate. In the third part I've built NOT, AND and OR circuits and I've also introduced the 4011 CMOS NAND gates, which I'm using instead of a bunch hand built, transistor-based NANDs (because hey, that's a lot of wiring, but not a lot of new insight). NOT, AND and OR circuits are built with one, two and three NANDs respectively. In this part, I'll first build a XOR gate, which uses four NANDs, and then a half adder, which use…

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