Liked A simple page builder app by @stefan@stefanbohacek.online (stefanbohacek.com)

There are many ways to make and host a website, and some of the tools even let you do that for free. This guide
will show you how to make a website with a simple drag and drop interface (you can still edit the code later!),
and host it for free.

Bookmarked Losing the imitation game by Jennifer MooreJennifer Moore (Jennifer++)

AI cannot develop software for you, but that’s not going to stop people from trying to make it happen anyway. And that is going to turn all of the easy software development problems into hard problems.

Losing the Imitation Game/ by Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore goes beyond the hype around so-called artificial intelligence to explain why LLMs are not the answer when it comes to developing software. The particular problem is that although they maybe able to provide snippets of code, they do not necessarily know, or understand, or comprehend anything about that data. They cannot do the heavy lifting associated with mental models. This can only be done by doing.

Non-trivial software changes over time. The requirements evolve, flaws need to be corrected, the world itself changes and violates assumptions we made in the past, or it just takes longer than one working session to finish. And all the while, that software is running in the real world. All of the design choices taken and not taken throughout development; all of the tradeoffs; all of the assumptions; all of the expected and unexpected situations the software encounters form a hugely complex system that includes both the software itself and the people building it. And that system is continuously changing.

The fundamental task of software development is not writing out the syntax that will execute a program. The task is to build a mental model of that complex system, make sense of it, and manage it over time.

To circle back to AI like ChatGPT, recall what it actually does and doesn’t do. It doesn’t know things. It doesn’t learn, or understand, or reason about things. What it does is probabilistically generate text in response to a prompt.

Losing the Imitation Game by Jennifer Moore

For me, this takes me back to a post from Richard Olsen, in which he explains why coding is so important in schools.

Moving beyond the usual explanations around workplace skills and the ability to build apps, Olsen suggests that coding is a core skill in the modern learning environment. Influenced by the seminal work of Seymour Papert, he asserts that it is coding and the digital workspace that allows students to learn real maths skills, to test hypothesis, to play with different situations. Going further, Olsen suggests that such a learning environment allows the following:

  1. Feedback-Rich Learning
  2. Reuse-Rich Learning
  3. Opinionated Learning
  4. Continuously Evolving Learning

A Response to @Richardolsen on Coding by Aaron Davis

Olsen’s post is one of those gifts of learning that comes up for me again and again, and is a reminder of the opportunities associated with connected learning.

This all has me wondering about the debate around prompt engineering and how that may miss the point.

“Doug Belshaw” in Language is probably less than you think it is | Thought Shrapnel ()

Liked Building a JavaScript guitar pedalboard (trysmudford.com)

I’ve just launched a new side project in the form of a JavaScript guitar pedalboard. It’s a handy crossover of my coding and guitaring hobbies. Try the pedalboard out for yourself!
The original intention for the project was to build a delay pedal, but after a Wednesday evening of hackery, I had …

Liked GitHub – pyscript/pyscript: Home Page: https://pyscript.net (GitHub)

PyScript is a Pythonic alternative to Scratch, JSFiddle, and other “easy to use” programming frameworks, with the goal of making the web a friendly, hackable place where anyone can author interesting and interactive applications.

“Clive Thompson” in Clive Thompson on Twitter: “Python in the browser, people: https://t.co/ZeyVgesJr4” / Twitter ()

Replied to

Richard, can’t help but be reminded of what we discussed all those years ago

I really love the idea of a space/platform where people add their own pieces and it grows over time, not exactly sure what that is though.

Replied to Liked: Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex by john john (johnjohnston.info)

Kids in school can have this sort of fun too, perhaps helping in maths and in skills like problem solving, working together and practical skills. Scratch and micro:bits can be a a lot of fun in a primary classroom.

John, I enjoyed Vannini’s push back on coding. It reminded me in part how Seymour Papert put it, that coding is ‘hard fun’:

How do we make writing become hard fun? One way is to develop for kids “writable” activities that they love to do. The building of robotic devices acquires “writability” because it lends itself to stage-by-stage description. Its writability is further enhanced by the use of word processors and digital cameras. But beyond technology there is the attitude in the learning culture. An example of what I mean was brought up by a teacher who objected to the idea that children should be allowed to write about what they liked. “When they go to work they’ll have to do what they are told.” Therein lies a source of many kids’ failure in reading. Of course we should teach children the skill of self-control needed to carry out orders. But mixing up learning that skill with learning to write defeats both purposes.

Bookmarked The Healing Power of JavaScript by Craig Mod (WIRED)

For some of us—isolates, happy in the dark—code is therapy, an escape and a path to hope in a troubled world.

Craig Mod talks about the meditative nature of coding and its abolity to provide some control in moments when the world seems to be spiraling. “An escape with forward momentum.”

Break the problem into pieces. Put them into a to-do app (I use and love Things). This is how a creative universe is made. Each day, I’d brush aside the general collapse of society that seemed to be happening outside of the frame of my life, and dive into search work, picking off a to-do. Covid was large; my to-do list was reasonable.

Therein lies part of the attraction: moving through that jumble — with all of its perverted poetics of grep and vi and git and apache and .ini — and doing so with a fingers-floating-across-the-keyboard balletic grace, is exhilarating. You feel like an alchemist. And you are. You type esoteric words — near gibberish — into a line-by-line text interface, and with a rush not unlike pulling Excalibur from the stone, you’ve just scaffolded a simple application that can instantly be accessed by a vast number of humans worldwide.

Although coding maybe therapy, I think the other challenge is finding an itch worth scratching.

The challenge to me is to go beyond the question of instruction and understanding of different languages. Beyond debates about fitting it within an already crowded curriculum. Instead the focus should be on creating the conditions in which students are able to take action and create new possibilities. Maybe this involves Minecraft, Ozobot or Spheros, maybe it doesn’t. Most importantly it involves going beyond worrying about training or competency, as Ian Chunn would have it, and instead embracing the world of making by leading the learning.

Mod also provides some background to the process behind writing the piece.

Liked The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML by @edent (shkspr.mobi)

I’ve told this story at conferences – but due to the general situation I thought I’d retell it here.
A few years ago I was doing policy research in a housing benefits office in London. They are singularly unlovely places. The walls are brightened up with posters offering helpful services for p…

Replied to Why “no code operations” will be the next big job in tech (blog.usejournal.com)

For an early stage startup, building solutions like this can be a superpower.

This is why I think “no code operations”** is the next great job in tech. If I were thinking about how to break into a startup right now, I would start building with these tools immediately. Even better, I’d start my own business on the side with only these tools. How far can you get with Airtable, Zapier and a website? Go for it, and develop your go-to-market chops and business building prowess along the way.

I enjoyed this piece Ben. I feel have achieved so much just within Google Sheets, including collecting together information, organising responses and generating a timetable.
Liked 100 FORMAT (11HHELLO WORLD) by Jeremy CherfasJeremy Cherfas (jeremycherfas.net)

What I would absolutely love, and might even be prepared to pay for, would be to have a live human being explain some basic ideas to me. There are tons and tons of online tutorials, as I know, but most of them start from a point that is already beyond me. I’ve spent all my spare time over the past three weeks trying to get there from here, and I am finally prepared to admit I cannot do it.

Bookmarked Verse by Verse (sites.research.google)
Google’s experiment using AI to create poems in the style of past poets. This reminds me of Ian Guest’s debate about poetry versus coding. I imagine some would worry that this might be considered as ‘cheating’, however what interests me is the opportunity to easily create and then deconstruct the structures associated with the text.

Another example of AI generated text is Mark Riedl’s Generating Parody Lyrics.

via Clive Thompson

Listened 052 | Something In The Water And The Bones – Rebel Code, Rebel Code,052 | Something In The Water And The Bones – Rebel Code, Rebel Code | People First – All Else Follows from peoplefirst.fm

John Philpin unpacks the question, should everyone learn to code? His response is nuanced. He suggests that learn to code if you have a love and interest, but do not feel that it is an occupation that is guaranteed to make a lot of money. Instead, choose something that you are passionate about, understanding that appreciating how technology works is an important part of any business.

You wouldn’t think about running a business if you didn’t have the fundamental understanding of law and accounting, why would you assume that it is ok not to understand technology.

For me this comes back to Douglas Rushkoff’s message: program or be programmed.

Rushkoff’s discussion is broken down into ten modern day commandments:

  • Time and the push to be ever present.
  • Place and the disconnection with the local.
  • Choice and the pressure to forever choose.
  • Complexity and the ignorance of nuance.
  • Scale and the demand of the global spread.
  • Identity and the digital self.
  • Social and contact as king.
  • Facts and the demand to tell the truth.
  • Openness and the importance of sharing.
  • Purpose and the power of programming.

This reminds me of something I wrote a few years ago:

The challenge to me is to go beyond the question of instruction and understanding of different languages. Beyond debates about fitting it within an already crowded curriculum. Instead the focus should be on creating the conditions in which students are able to take action and create new possibilities. Maybe this involves Minecraft, Ozobot or Spheros, maybe it doesn’t. Most importantly it involves going beyond worrying about training or competency, as Ian Chunn would have it, and instead embracing the world of making by leading the learning.

Replied to Google Sheet Karate Moves for Swapping H5P Video From YouTube to Kaltura (cogdogblog.com)

The challenge was, Spreadsheet Kid, from a BCcampus Kaltura URL, can I devise something that will take that and extract that mp4 URL?


I explain below, but for those who want to cut to the chase, you can make a copy of my spreadsheet and explore/play/criticize.

I really need to dig into the world of xpath.