Thinking of homeschooling?

Peter Kim of CollegeAtHome.com has put together a neat infographic highlighting the differences between home schooling and the public school system in the USA. Seems pretty convincing. I wonder what the equivalent numbers might be here in the UK? Graphic included with permission.

“Decisions, Decisions” a great presentation about software design

Following a recommendation from Jon Woods, I just checked out Decisions, Decisions, a recorded QCon presentation. Well worth watching, and thinking about, and putting into practice. I don’t want to spoil it, as he has a fun, interactive, style of presentation, but if you have any experience in software development you will get his point …

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Build pipelines with Jenkins

Continuous Integration is a great idea, and usually pretty simple to implement for simple projects. However, these simple projects don’t really exercise the “integration” aspect of the idea. As he build and test process for a project grows in complexity, it almost always grows in duration, too. Typical enterprise Java projects, for example, might fetch …

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TEDcember Day 08 – jaw-dropping poetry

I can honestly say that I was astonished by this. A continual, unrelenting, stream of rhythm and rhyme for over two minutes which weaves in and out of a fantasy scenario of mockingbirds as recording devices while making references to a slew of TED talks from the same conference. Of all the talks I have …

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TEDcember Day 07 – 3 things I learned while my plane crashed

Definitely back to the kind of talk which TED is famous for: Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed. Ric gives a razor-sharp view of his near-death experience, and the things he took from it. They are the same kinds of things that often occur to people facing their end, but it …

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TEDCember Day 06 – Ze Frank’s nerdcore comedy

This was a bit of a surprise. Among all the worthy talks I didn’t realise that there are also comedy routines, songs and other stuff in the TED archive. I found Ze Frank’s stand-up routine pretty funny, although not really as “nerdcore” as it could be be – there is typically more nerd comedy in …

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TEDcember Day 05 – The neurons that shaped civilization

I’ll admit I am doing a bit of catching up here, having missed a day or two, but I’ll be back on track soon. For day five I chose VS Ramachandran: The neurons that shaped civilization. This talk introduces the idea of “mirror neurons”, elements of the brain which trigger when observing other people’s behaviour, …

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TEDcember Day 04 – Adam Grosser and his sustainable fridge

Today’s talk was another short one, this one about 3.5 minutes. The idea was interesting – a relatively low cost cooling unit that “charges” itself in a cooking fire, then can be used to keep a big drum container cool for 24 hours. Pitched at storing vaccines away from power, and also preventing food decay …

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TEDecember Day 03 – Building the musical muscle

Another pretty much random choice of a talk to watch, this one Charles Limb: Building the musical muscle) surprised me because it was not what I expected. From the title I expected something a bit more about the psychology of music or the brain’s perception of music, but what I got was a fairly detailed …

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TEDcember DAY 02 – Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal

So, pretty much at random I chose another TED talk video to watch. This time it was John Bohannon: Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal. I found the talk interesting, thought-provoking, and decidedly tongue-in-cheek (the reference to Swift in the title gives that away). Although the apparent premise (use dancers instead of powerpoint) has many …

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TEDcember Day 01 – Try something new for 30 days

One my video site I have just completed Vlomo. Vlomo is one of the many “every day in November” challenges, along with NaNoWriMo, NabloPoMo, Movember and so on. The end of November can be a bit of a let-down, though. One way or another the challenge is over. While discussing this with a colleague recently, …

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ql.io – a SQL-style way of mashing-up web APIs

The guys at ebay have released ql.io, which seems to be a way of using SQL-like queries to fetch and join data (typically in the form of JSON, it seems) from multiple web APIs to generate quick “mashups”. See ql.io. I can’t help thinking that there are a lot of hidden issues around API compatibility …

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TODOs, FIXMEs and a ‘window fixing’ wall

Agile software development places a lot of emphasis on prioritisation of work and elimination or deferral of anything which is not needed right now. An obvious advantage of this is that important stuff gets done quickly, but a less obvious disadvantage is that deferred work can pile up like snow before a snowplough. For a …

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Zero-downtime deployments

It’s a common pattern, an enterprise software solution has a body of code, managed by version control, verified by continuous integration and eventually delivered to some deployment system. If that were the whole picture things would be relatively straightforward. Tests pass? deploy it! Unfortunately there is often also a database in the mix. This complicates …

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