Maz muses

Mar 23

Do yourself a favor. Learn to code. Here’s how.

boomeyer:

I’ve said this to my non-techie friends countless times. It’s no secret that being able to code makes you a better job applicant, and a better entrepreneur. Hell, one techie taught a homeless man to code and now that man is making his first mobile application.

Learning to code elevates your professional life, and makes you more knowledgeable about the massive changes taking place in the technology sector that are poised to have an immense influence on human life.

(note: yes I realize that 3/5 of those links were Google projects)

But most folks are intimidated by coding. And it does seem intimidating at first. But peel away the obscurity and the difficulty, and you start to learn that coding, at least at its basic level, is a very manageable, learnable skill.

There are a lot of resources out there to teach you. I’ve found a couple to be particularly successful. Here’s my list of resources for learning to code, sorted by difficulty:

Novice

Never written a line of code before? No worries. Just visit one of these fine resources and follow their high-level tutorials. You won’t get into the nitty-gritty, but don’t worry about it for now:

Dash - by General Assembly

CodeAcademy

w3 Tutorials (start at HTML on the left sidebar and work your way down)


Intermediate

Now that you’ve gone through a handful of basic tutorials, it’s time to learn the fundamentals of actual, real-life coding problems. I’ve found these resources to be solid:

Khan Academy

CodeAcademy - Ruby, Python, PHP

Difficult

If you’re here, you’re capable of building things. You know the primitives. You know the logic control statements. You’re ready to start making real stuff take shape. Here are some different types of resources to turn you from someone who knows how to code, into a full-fledged programmer.

Programming problems

Sometimes, the challenges in programming aren’t how to make a language do a task, but just how to do the task in general. Like how to find an item in a very large, sorted list, without checking each element. Here are some resources for those types of problems

Talentbuddy

TopCoder

Web Applications

If you learned Python, Django is an amazing platform for creating quick-and-easy web applications. I’d highly suggest the tutorial - it’s one of the best I’ve ever used, and you have a web app up and running in less than an hour.

Django Tutorial

I’ve never used Rails, but it’s a very popular and powerful framework for creating web applications using Ruby. I’d suggest going through their guide to start getting down-and-dirty with Rails development.

Rails Guide

If you know PHP, there’s an ocean of good stuff out there for you to learn how to make a full-fledged web application. Frameworks do a lot of work for you, and provide quick and easy guides to get up and running. I’d suggest the following:

Cake PHP Book

Symfony 2 - Get Started

Yii PHP - The Comprehensive Guide

Conclusion


If there’s one point I wanted to get across, it’s that it is easier than ever to learn to code. There are resources on every corner of the internet for potential programmers, and the benefits of learning even just the basics are monumental.

If you know of any additional, great resources that aren’t listed here, please feel free to tweet them to me @boomeyer.

Best of luck!

Feb 24

creativemornings:

"if your message is familiar, make sure your voice is new. If your voice sounds familiar, make sure your message is new."  — Chris Doyle
Watch the talk. →

creativemornings:

"if your message is familiar, make sure your voice is new. If your voice sounds familiar, make sure your message is new."
— Chris Doyle

Watch the talk. →

Feb 17

“At stake is the question of how artists are to produce relevant work about a society that is more saturated than ever with ready-made images, many of which are under copyright.” —

In an age where everything is a remix and a culture built on the fact that everything builds on what came before, the New Yorker considers whether copyright law failing to live up to the realities of art.

Also see what Duke Ellington teaches us about the gray areas of originality vs. plagiarism.

(via explore-blog)

Dec 31

“And so, to our year of bungles: the New Jersey waitress who received a homophobic comment on the receipt from a party she had served; comedian Kyle Kinane’s Twitter beef with Pace Salsa; the Chinese husband who sued his wife for birthing ugly children after he learned she’d had plastic surgery; Samsung paying Apple $1 billion in nickels…

…These all had one thing in common: They seemed too tidily packaged, too neat, “too good to check,” as they used to say, to actually be true. Any number of reporters or editors at any of the hundreds of sites that posted these Platonic ideals of shareability could’ve told you that they smelled, but in the ongoing decimation of the publishing industry, fact-checking has been outsourced to the readers. Not surprisingly—as we saw with the erroneous Reddit-spawned witch-hunt around the Boston Marathon bombing—readers are terrible at fact-checking. And this, as it happens, is good for business because it means more shares, more clicks.

This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed. BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti admitted as much when explaining, that, when he’s hiring, he looks for “people who really understand how information is shared on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and other emerging platforms, because that is in some cases as important as, you know, having traditional reporting talent.” Upworthy editorial director Sara Critchfield seconded the notion. “We reject the idea that the media elite or people who have been trained in a certain way somehow have the monopoly on editorial judgment.”” —

Luke O’Neil, Esquire. The Year We Broke The Internet.

Or as Ryan Grim, Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief, told The New York Times, “If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you’re the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it’s proved false, you still got those views. That’s a problem. The incentives are all wrong.”

The FJP’s thoughts on fact checking? You can find those here.

(via futurejournalismproject)

Oct 28

‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Mother of George,’ and the aesthetic politics of filming black skin -

ioanina:

medievalpoc:

Since there are some people who might be unfamiliar with what I mean when I say that the way works of art are lit and photographed are often racist, I’m going to take some pieces from this article in order to sort of illustrate more clearly what I mean.

For a bit of context: when I’m talking about “racism”, I am not talking about individual feelings or directed hate. I’m talking about racist structures divorced from intent; I’m talking about systematic and automatic devaluation in terms of aesthetics and the presentation of art.

In one of the first scenes of early Oscar favorite “12 Years a Slave,” the film’s protagonist, Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor , is seen at night, sleeping alongside a fellow enslaved servant. Their faces are barely illuminated against the velvety black background, but the subtle differences in their complexions — his a burnished mahogany, hers bearing a lighter, more yellow cast — are clearly defined.

[…]

The diversity of these films isn’t reflected just in their stories and characters, but in the wide range of skin tones they represent, from the deepest ebonies to the creamiest caramels.

The fact that audiences are seeing such a varied, nuanced spectrum of black faces isn’t just a matter of poetics, but politics — and the advent of digital filmmaking. For the first hundred years of cinema, when images were captured on celluloid and processed photochemically, disregard for black skin and its subtle shadings was inscribed in the technology itself, from how film-stock emulsions and light meters were calibrated, to the models used as standards for adjusting color and tone.

That embedded racism extended into the aesthetics of the medium itself, which from its very beginnings was predicated on the denigration and erasure of the black body. As far back as “The Birth of a Nation” — in which white actors wearing blackface depicted Reconstruction-era blacks as wild-eyed rapists and corrupt politicians — the technology and grammar of cinema and photography have been centered on the unspoken assumption that their rightful subjects would be white.

The result was that, if black people were visible at all, their images would often be painfully caricatured (see Hattie McDaniel in “Gone With the Wind”) or otherwise distorted, either ashy and washed-out or featureless points of contrast within the frame. As “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen said in Toronto after the film’s premiere there, “I remember growing up and seeing Sidney Poitier sweating next to Rod Steiger in ‘In the Heat of the Night,’ and obviously [that was because] it’s very hot in the South. But also he was sweating because he had tons of light thrown on him, because the film stock wasn’t sensitive enough for black skin.”

This is what I’m talking about when I discuss the way that these photographs of artworks are lit, and the way the photos are processed.

In the digital age, there is no reason that a photograph should look like this:

image

To try and show how deep this goes and how racism is built into the entire structure of too many mediums of artistic expression:

Montré Aza Missouri, an assistant professor in film at Howard University, recalls being told by one of her instructors in London that “if you found yourself in the ‘unfortunate situation’ of shooting on the ‘Dark Continent,’ and if you’re shooting dark-skinned people, then you should rub Vaseline on their skin in order to reflect light. It was never an issue of questioning the technology.” In her classes at Howard, Missouri says, “I talk to my students about the idea that the tools used to make film, the science of it, are not racially neutral.”

Missouri reminds her students that the sensors used in light meters have been calibrated for white skin; rather than resorting to the offensive Vaseline solution, they need to manage the built-in bias of their instruments, in this case opening their cameras’ apertures one or two stops to allow more light through the lens. Filmmakers working with celluloid also need to take into account that most American film stocks weren’t manufactured with a sensitive enough dynamic range to capture a variety of dark skin tones. Even the female models whose images are used as reference points for color balance and tonal density during film processing — commonly called “China Girls” — were, until the mid-1990s, historically white.

In the face of such technological chauvinism, filmmakers have been forced to come up with workarounds, including those lights thrown on Poitier and a variety of gels, scrims and filters. But today, such workarounds have been rendered virtually obsolete by the advent of digital cinematography, which allows filmmakers much more flexibility both in capturing images and manipulating them during post-production.

These biases are built into the very technology we’ve been using for a century or more. That’s why actively fighting the structures that are in place are necessary in order for changes to occur.

At Howard, Young says, “the question of representation was always first and foremost. . . . When bias is built into the negative, how does that affect the way we see people of color on screen? People like Ernest, Malik and A.J. [found] a sweet spot. There’s always an inherent bias sitting over us. We’ve just got to climb through it and survive, and that’s what’s embodied in the cinematography.”

THIS is what people mean when we say that racism is institutionalized. It’s not just an attitude, but an ingrained structure.

(via poc-creators)

millionsmillions:

“8. Don’t Use A Tape Recorder.  This is a sticking point for me. How do you accurately capture quotes without a recording device? Talese told the audience, “Don’t use a tape recorder, because then you have their exact words. You are a partner in the quotation. The quote is polished in your prose.” When prodded further, Talese said he would ask the questions again and again so that he could refine and get at what they really meant. The final quote, he told the audience, needs to be in your voice, with your tone, not the black and white words. Later in the conversation, Talese expanded on this by saying that he would include in his notes: “What they say, what he [Talese] says, and what they think.” His use of interior monologue was a tool Tom Wolfe complimented him on in his discussion of The New Journalism.”
Larissa Zimberoff, “The 10 Things I Learned From Gay Talese That Will Get Me a Job at The New York Times”

millionsmillions:

8. Don’t Use A Tape Recorder. 
This is a sticking point for me. How do you accurately capture quotes without a recording device? Talese told the audience, “Don’t use a tape recorder, because then you have their exact words. You are a partner in the quotation. The quote is polished in your prose.” When prodded further, Talese said he would ask the questions again and again so that he could refine and get at what they really meant. The final quote, he told the audience, needs to be in your voice, with your tone, not the black and white words. Later in the conversation, Talese expanded on this by saying that he would include in his notes: “What they say, what he [Talese] says, and what they think.” His use of interior monologue was a tool Tom Wolfe complimented him on in his discussion of The New Journalism.”

Larissa Zimberoff, “The 10 Things I Learned From Gay Talese That Will Get Me a Job at The New York Times

Oct 26

creativemornings:

laurenmanning:

Awesome @newyork_cm talk today by Darell Hammond, founder of Kaboom on #creativemornings global October theme PLAY :)

Resident sketch-notes-taker Lauren Manning is at it again. Here’s her recap from October’s PLAY-themed CreativeMornings/NYC.

creativemornings:

laurenmanning:

Awesome @newyork_cm talk today by Darell Hammond, founder of Kaboom on #creativemornings global October theme PLAY :)

Resident sketch-notes-taker Lauren Manning is at it again. Here’s her recap from October’s PLAY-themed CreativeMornings/NYC.

(via creativemornings)

Oct 15

[video]

Aug 29

coverjunkie:

Thursday Magazine (Oman)
Cover design from Thursday Magazine:the weekend supplement of the daily newspaper Times of Oman. Creative director Adonis Durado explains to me: In the Middle Eastern countries like Oman, the weekend holidays fall on Thursday and Friday — not Saturday/Sunday. The magazine is published on Thursday hence its name. The content is of generalinterest topics ideal for a weekend read.Creative Director: Adonis DuradoEditor: Chinmay ChaudhuriFeature Editor: Swati DasguptaAssociate Art Director: Waleed Rabin

coverjunkie:

Thursday Magazine (Oman)

Cover design from Thursday Magazine:
the weekend supplement of the daily newspaper Times of Oman. 
Creative director Adonis Durado explains to me: In the Middle Eastern countries like Oman, the weekend holidays fall on Thursday and Friday — not Saturday/Sunday. The magazine is published on Thursday hence its name. The content is of general
interest topics ideal for a weekend read.

Creative Director: Adonis Durado

Editor: Chinmay Chaudhuri
Feature Editor: Swati Dasgupta
Associate Art Director: Waleed Rabin

Aug 11

“Always re-examine and reflect on where you are in your career at least every two years. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your job, the exercise forces you to check that you are actually enjoying your work and learning on the job rather than just being comfortable.” — Successful founders share 4 must-have skills to bolster your career (via fastcompany)