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Coding

This time it’s different

Friday, 15 August, 2014 1 Comment

Before watching the video, read AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs from the Pew Research Center. After watching the clip, have a look at the reddit thread.


There’s gold in them there Alps of apps

Friday, 27 September, 2013 0 Comments

“Mountain, Society, Technology” is the theme of this year’s Innovation Festival in Bolzano-Bozen. The South Tyrol region has prospered mightily from its combination of tourism, agriculture, industry and services but as Jeff Bezos once remarked, “If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworths,” and the danger is that a place which is profiting from affluent German, Italian and Austrian pensioners in search of hiking, skiing and dining holidays may miss out on the information revolution, with all its apps and its opportunities.

This morning’s discussion, then, “Open Data — Digital gold” is designed to get regional innovators and planners thinking about how digital access to public databases can improve daily life for the citizenry. The panelists include Ulrich Atz, Mark Madsen, Ivan Moroder, Brunella Franchini, Alex Meister and Sandy Kirchlechner. According to the organizers, “Even the layperson will realise that Open Data could turn out to be a digital gold mine.” Time to stock up on shovels, eh?

Innovation Festival


If coding is the new black why are you wearing blue?

Monday, 6 May, 2013 0 Comments

One of the reasons the Mashable website is so popular is that it exudes positivity. Sure, there are viral cat videos, but it’s mostly tech optimism. Typical of the genre is the recent article by Adam Popescu, “Coding Is the Must-Have Job Skill of the Future.” Not content with that broad statement, he adds that “Coding is the new black,” and he quotes Hank Leber, CEO and cofounder of the data-sharing utility GonnaBe, who calls coding the new literacy. “Leber cites the growing unemployment rate and diminishing prospects for newly-minted college graduates as motivators,” writes Popescu.

But is that really true? If coding is so cool and it’s where the jobs really are, why are millions of Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, Irish and lots of Americans signing on for welfare instead of learning MySQL or to how to administer Cisco and Linux? On the face of it, getting a job as a programmer appears easy as it doesn’t require a particular degree or training. Indeed, programming or system administration can be learned by anyone anywhere who has a personal computer and an internet connection. That being the case, it’s perplexing that millions of jobless Americans haven’t learned to code. And neither have millions of up-and-coming Chinese, Indians and Africans who could, theoretically, make fortunes if they learned the skills needed to turn First-World customer needs into working code. Here’s an e-commerce website that the government of California has spent $327 million upon, and it still isn’t finished. Coders from less wasteful cultures would surely have completed the job for less.

As it happens, there’s a good reason why everyone isn’t a good programmer. Simply, the job is not for everyone. Jeff Atwood, who runs the excellent Coding Horror blog, put up a post titled “So You Don’t Want to be a Programmer After All” last week and it contains some sobering insights for those dreaming of instant app riches. According to Atwood, it all comes down to one word: passion. If you don’t have a passion for software, you won’t be a good programmer and you would be better off doing something else. Coding may be cool in some quarters, and the software field does offer great opportunities, but according to Mashable’s rival, The Verge, Orange is the New Black. Talking of memes, Lucy Kellaway, management columnist with the Financial Times, is adamant that “White is not the new black.” She concludes, “Black is black, white is white.” Hard to argue with that. Punditry is, by a mile, the best job of all. Unlike coding, where logic counts, the pundit can say whatever she wants, no matter how obvious or vague.


Python for the people

Thursday, 8 November, 2012 0 Comments

As the global media machine cranked out reports and analysis from Washington D.C. yesterday, the Palo Alto-based startup LearnStreet quietly launched into public beta, making barely a ripple upon the surface of the news industry. Backed with $1 million in seed funding from Khosla Ventures, the site is dedicated to helping beginners master the basics […]

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A web aesthetic that reduces to plain text

Monday, 1 October, 2012 0 Comments

The Brighton-based interaction designer Paul Robert Lloyd is less than pleased with the current state of play and he makes his feelings known for A List Apart in The Web Aesthetic. One of Lloyd’s guiding principles is “progressive enhancement” and he expands upon the technique with the example of the BBC News mobile site. Snippet: […]

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The UI, UX and DQ of #London2012

Monday, 30 July, 2012

A great event demands great respect and that’s what the great Dane, Jakob Nielsen, brought to the table before writing his latest column, “Official Olympic Website: UI Silver — but UX DQ“. The godfather of website usability applies his trained eye to the official site for the 2012 London games and gives Lord Coe & […]

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The audacity of Facebook

Thursday, 2 February, 2012

To not write about the Facebook IPO filing would be to exhibit a disregard for news bordering on iconoclasm of the worst kind and that’s not what Rainy Day readers expect, so here goes. The numbers porn is fascinating: user base of 845 million, almost $4 billion in revenue, $1 billion in net income year… […]

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