Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #736 - Making Code Tinker Friendly and Net Neutraility

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #736 - Making Code Tinker Friendly and Tinkering

Hi Mom,

Here we are again, Mom, in the continuing series of "material will present itself," the unplanned, new material that hammers out from the Internet like Cosmic Rays battering the rocket containing the soon to be Fantastic Four.

It all started on SLASHDOT with this link


I added SLASHDOT to my RSS reader (nothing fancy... I just add RSS feeds to my custom The Freed Dictionary page) after being at Penguicon. Self proclaimed "news for nerds about stuff that matters," SLASHDOT's main topics target Open Source projects and mostly computer related stuff (hardware, management, development, linux, mobile, etc), but the site also streams entertainment news (book reviews, game news) and science content.

Here's the "about" from the FAQ.


What is this?

This is Slashdot, a website based on and running the Slashdot-Like Automated Story-Telling Homepage software. You're reading the FAQ.

Who does this?

Slashdot was created in 1997 by Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda. Today it's owned by BIZX, LLC. Slashdot is run primarily by a handful of editors and coders, with the help of many others. As of April 2016, the Slashcode is wrangled and taunted by Drew ("SlashDrew") Kroft. The editors are Beau ("BeauHD") Hamilton, Manish ("manishs") Singh, David ("EditorDavid"), and Logan ("whipslash") Abbott.

What does the name "Slashdot" mean?

"Slashdot" is an intentionally obnoxious URL. When Rob registered the domain http://slashdot.org, he wanted a URL that was confusing when read aloud. (Try it!)


And because SLASHDOT writes about Open Source software it runs Open Source software itself.

That link to the Slashdot-like Automated Story Telling Homepage software goes to a git hub, but it's not easy to track. This link is better to see the Slash repo (from newbies, a repo is short for repository, it's a storage place for Open Source files.


SLASHDOT is itself running a news reader and filter system. For instance, check this out from the FAQ:

The Firehose

What is the Firehose?

The Firehose is powerful viewing tool for Slashdot content, from comments and journal entries to RSS feeds and story submissions. You can filter and interact with the Firehose in a number of ways. The plus/minus box on the left side of each Firehose entry lets you vote on that item. A context menu will appear when you click on the plus or minus, giving you the option of adding certain tags. You can also expand the submission if you'd like to add other tags, such as "northdakota" or "spaceflight." Voting and tagging are helpful; they inform other Firehose users, and help the editors decide which ones make it to the front page.

How can I filter the Firehose?

You can enter filter terms in the text field at the top of the firehose page. Sort for any particular type of entry by entering its type into the field and hitting enter. For example, entering "journal" there would sort for journal entries. You can also sort for story, comment, feed, bookmark, and submission. Putting a "-" in front of a type will exclude that type. For example: "-feed" would exclude all RSS feeds. You can also sort for things like "linux," "openbsd," or "riaa" to see stories with those tags or comments and submissions that mention them.

What do the colors mean?

The colors serve as a rough quality rating for entries in the firehose. You can sort for colors by using the color-picker next to the filter field. Red is the most popular, black is the least popular, and story submissions enter the firehose at blue. Your nods and nixes affect this, so the more often you vote, the more useful color sorting becomes. The lower your color threshold, the more content you'll see.


So, this all serves to get me thinking of different ways I can use the Internet to learn.

The FAQ is quite long, and I have not digested it all yet. I love any FAQ that has a section called "Karma, Thresholds, Abuse etc."

So, while exploring, I have found that I have not yet signed up for a SLASHDOT account, which I will fix now.

Okay, I'm in.

Gee, lots of news.



Glitch is an app builder community. It solves the problems of the inscrutable view source mode. An embedded video teaches users how to use Glitch in two minutes. You can create a new Node app or remix one, and it's FREE. There is resource sharing to be able to code with friends.

I like it's retro style and simplicity.

It's great to build your own Twitter bot as Clive describes in his article reprinted below.


Confused by indecipherable Javascript under the hood of the front end of your favorite web site?

Then hit up CODE PEN!

There's tons of articles, projects you can join, and so much more.

And they plug conferences, like this one - http://squaresconference.com/.

After hitting the GOOGLE IO last year -- Hey Mom #318 and Hey Mom #319, I became very interested in UX (User Experience), IE. the front end of the system. I am still interested in this area of computer science, even though coding is probably where I am aiming to end up (and probably the back end of things - data base code).

and there's......


Though not germane to this specific set of topics of an easy on ramp for Internet coding, in a related note, it's Net Neutrality Day.


You can tinker with a neural network.

Okay. this is what I get for copying pages with source code that I can't decipher.... just like I am writing about...

Stopping while I am ahead and this is at least somewhat readable.

Net neutrality day of action: everything you need to know

With net neutrality on the chopping block, web companies and activists have once again banded together in its support. On July 12th, over 200 groups — from Kickstarter and Etsy, to Vimeo and Netflix, to Pornhub and High Times — updated their websites with statements, banners, and spinning wheels to tell their visitors about the troubles that could come with an internet free from net neutrality rules.
Not sure where to start? Read this first:


Save the Internet from being FUCKED.

Join the EFF!




I have had to write about this before...


Here's the note I added to my letter to the FCC:

The Internet is the single most valuable resource since the invention of the sun and water. I mean, really? Why is this even an issue. The Broadband market is not competitive. A handful of corporations control access. I don't want to be held ransom by AT&T. Information needs to be FREE and that means free access, even for the things I don't like and the things you don't like. It's like nature. If you kill off all the predators, then the peaceful vegetarian animals do not thrive, they die off. They starve.





BACK IN YE olde days of the information superhighway, curious newbies had an easy way to see how websites worked: View Source.
If they clicked that option in the browser, presto! It would display the HTML and bits of Javascript that created the page. Cut and paste that code into their own domain and they could produce their own version of the site, altering and morphing it to their taste and learning along the way. That’s how many of today’s mid-career coders learned: They peeked behind the Wizard of Oz curtain.
But the world they enjoyed has nearly vanished. Websites have evolved into complex, full-featured apps; click View Source on Google.com and behold the slurry of incomprehensible Javascript. This increasingly worries old-guard coders. If the web no longer has a simple on-ramp, it could easily discourage curious amateurs. We don’t want the field to de-­democratize and become the province solely of those who can slog through a computer science degree.
So we need new tools that let everyone see, understand, and remix today’s web. We need, in other words, to reboot the culture of View Source.
The good news? A renaissance is approaching. This spring, New York’s Fog Creek Software launched Glitch, a site that hosts hundreds of simple web apps—everything from Tetris clones to databases and to-do lists—written using Javascript. The code for each is visible and usually helpfully studded with creator comments, so noobs can grok it. You can easily spin off your own copy of the app, tweak it, and publish it. (Full disclosure: I’m friends with Fog Creek’s new CEO and former WIRED columnist, Anil Dash.)
“As programmers, we’ve become a priesthood, and I wanted to smash down the walls,” says Daniel Moore, Glitch’s lead developer. The goal, he notes, was to make it as easy to publish a web app as a blog post—no need to wrestle with back end server code.
I think Glitch succeeds. I know a bit of Java­script and had always wanted to write a Twitter bot, but when online tutorials veered into the incantations for Node—Javascript for running server code—I stalled out. On Glitch, I found Twitterbot code by web developer Stefan Bohacek. In barely an hour I remixed it into a bot that tweeted haiku-like poems based on lines from poets like Sappho and Basho (“have i been here before? / i can almost hear your song / o planets”). Surprised by how easy it was, I started remixing video games and chat apps. After a couple of days, I realized that, whoa, I was beginning to absorb the logic of Node.
Glitch joins several View Source efforts that help people recombine code in useful ways. In Milwaukee, Chris Coyier has amassed roughly 1.1 million users for his CodePen service, which features about 12 million reusable front end demos. “I’ve been in plenty of rooms with Girl Scouts learning to code, and when they can see they can take a project, change a few bits of code, and see those changes immediately, it’s powerful,” he says.
And why stop there? I’d argue we need View Source tools for every phylum of software—like, say, the thicket of impenetrable mathematics that is machine learning. Google has taken a stab at this, creating TensorFlow Playground, a simple classification neural net in your browser. I spent an hour changing the features being fed into the net, adding or subtracting neurons, and watching the AI’s performance improve or degrade. I can’t say I became an expert, but I began to get an intuitive feel—an almost tactile appreciation—for these AI mechanics.
Hands-on tinkering works—as educators and hackers have long known. And as tech gets increasingly complex, we have to make sure tinkering is not only possible, but also encouraged. Let people twiddle the knobs, and you demystify the world.


Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 738 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1707.12 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.
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