This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series MySql Basics

I must type “SELECT * FROM …..” hundreds of times a day. Would it be more efficient to specify the columns or save the SQL so that I don’t have to keep typing it over and over again? Probably. However, in my brain, typing is really fast– probably faster than navigating to the folder to try to find the snippet of code. So I end up typing it over again.

The SELECT command (and I almost always type this in all caps) performs the operation of finding the data from the table or groups of tables that you’re interested in. SQL follows English in many ways, such that what you’re going to enter into the database for a command is something like…Continue reading

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series MySql Basics

I think I’ve been brainwashed by movies to think that imparting knowledge to the next generation can take place during a 5 minute montage where they go from knowing nothing about coding to being proficient enough to make a difference. At least, that’s the movie that was playing in my head leading up to my first attempt to sit down with them. I bet musicians and other professionals see things the same way when they think about getting their children doing something with them. No one envisions the years of work, the motivation, and the general pain that it takes to put in the time to get to the point where they are in their career. I mean, we were all naturals, right?Continue reading

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series MySql Basics

Teaching kids how to program should be similar to teaching them English or a different language. I stress should. As any programmer knows, while what we do could be boiled down to a few concepts like typing, syntax, grammar, and whatnot, the reality is what really makes us be able to function well as programmers or developers is the ability to see a problem, break it up into its components and steps and then express those things in a language that a computer through a compiler can understand. Through this, we also do pattern matching, logical analysis, and we find ways to make things that we can reuse to the point that it makes us seem lazy– which we like to label efficient.

So how do you take knowledge that has been learned over time, perfected through multiple mistakes, and something that more often than not works with something that already exists and bring a kid up to speed? I’m sure there’s multiple different answers, and I could certainly buy some book(s) and evaluate it. I could do like my grandfather was taught to swim– by getting thrown into the deep end. Or I could try to bring them along on a new project that has multiple different opportunities to grow in different ways and see how that works.

And then I got the thought, why not try to document it here? Much of teaching programming is searching out answers and I could certainly write up things to do to learn different things. Maybe get help from other devs should they be looking for something similar. Or maybe just to keep record, because there’s probably many people that have tried this!

In any case, my project is going to start in SQL, and then go off into C# and PHP and who knows where else. So, it won’t hurt to have documentation somewhere, and I can at least express my design this way, so why not?

New series in programming, here we come!

Why is that when you have great plans to do something, events overtake you?  I was determined to teach my kids to code this summer.  That has not happened.  They’ve played a lot of Minecraft and they’ve done some movie making, but they have not programmed.  Is this something that I just want them to do because it’s what I do?

In any case, I stumbled upon this link over the past few days an I think it has promise.  Tynker, a Mountain View startup company, has devised something they’re calling “Adventures in Programming” that uses a plot-driven, gamified way to learn how to code—or so says the summary over at gigaom.  In the article If School Won’t Teach Your Kid to Code, Maybe This Program Will, Ki Mae Heussner talks about the company and the program and this screen shot looks pretty sweet:


The cost is about $50 for the structured course, so I’m not sure that I will do it, but what I like about the gigaom article is that through the comments and the text you can find other, cheaper and even free options to try.

As a software engineer myself, I think I’m going to go back to trying Small Basic, but maybe I’ll find that using Minecraft’s plugins to do things might get my kids interested.

What have you done to get your kids interested in programming?

Generic Point used via Standard Restrictions at stock.xchng. Tyker Screen shot from gigaom article.

How-We-Love-Our-Kids_thumbI’m always open to reading books about how I can become a better parent. Shocking, I know. I mean, as a teenager we all pretty much believe that we have it all figured out, and that we have all the answers.

The arrival of our fifth bundle of joy this past February made me realize that there’s always something that I can learn, and How We Love Our Kids: The Five Love Styles of Parenting was a book that I was interested in because of the Christian authors and the fact that I believe that we can always improve how we show our love to our kids.

The book starts out with a set of parenting styles, believing that the key to understanding how to love our kids is by understanding how we were loved as a child. One of the best things I gleaned from the book is that it is my job as a parent to not only identify who my child is and what his triggers are, but to help them identify them and how to cope with them. This must start with an honest evaluation of yourself.

Continue reading