Author - Web Developer - Educator
Found 2 results for tag "coding"
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Latest Code Project: Coder Ranking

Coder Ranking
Version 1 of the Mockup Site Design

While traveling over the Thanksgiving break, I encountered a sign for a "code school" along the highway. That got me thinking: why isn't there a code school that allows you to pick up classes?

I did some research on this "code school" that I saw an ad for, and noticed two things:
  1. They only do Software (Python, Ruby, C#, etc)
  2. They charge $12,000 for a 12 week course!

  3. I'll admit that $12k is a lot to shell out for a coding course, and their in-depth approach is nice, but most people (especially aspiring programmers) don't have enough to buy a new car with (including me).

    I did some more research on other code schools, such as Codecademy, Udemy, Coursera, Treehouse, and others, and found that they were all lacking some form of educational resource: in-person training, low cost, accreditation, full study specializations, basic training (ex: Java for an Android course), predictive course schedules, and a few others. So I thought about merging my Entrepreneural and Programming experiences to make one.

    That's where I came up with Coder Ranking.

    (The name is mainly the only .com domain that I could get.)

    What is Coder Ranking?


    Coder Ranking does three primary things:
    1. In-person Training: The "online education" doesn't fit everyone (I know it's a challenge for me), and helping students and getting help from emails and forums just doesn't help. Someone needs to be there to help explain it, or show it live so it can be better understood.
    2. Low Cost: Not everyone has a grand or so laying around for a course or two. Therefore, by offering the training at a low cost, it should be accessible by everyone.
    3. Courses are à la carte: If someone has some fractured formal education, and needs to catch up to the latest trend or at least round out their training, they shouldn't have to go through 2- or 4-year colleges to get the education for something they already know 50% of (see my example below).


    Coming from Fractured Training


    The last one is probably the best: the à la carte option. Since I was semi-formally trained in Web Development, I learned HTML (4), CSS, PHP, MySQL, XML/XSL, and basic JavaScript. HTML5 I had to learn on my own, and the jQuery library. However, the big issue here is that while I was trained in PHP, I was trained in Procedural Programming while other languages like Java and C++ use Object Oriented Programming, which PHP does as well. My training was acceptable, but trying to get a better understanding of OOP and implement it was like pulling teeth. After much, much research, I have found that OOP is better, and I should have been doing it all along, but the tutorials that I stumbled upon were either jumping around like the person that wrote it assumed the learner knew, or were too advanced to understand.

    Additionally, since I went to college, Java wasn't really a big thing, so I didn't think that a CIS Degree would help. So I went into Entrepreneruship. However, a few years after I graduated, Java is the big thing (Mobile programming, OOP-based training, code structures, etc), and a CIS/CS Degree would be needed for a fallback field in case I wanted to go anywhere. When I tried to take an "Android Development" course through Coursera, I thought that it would be nice to learn, since the instructions said "For beginner programmers, with little to no experience with Java." I signed up for it, and the first lesson was great. However, the 2nd lesson required an understanding and experience in Java. Otherwise, the lesson didn't make any sense. So I tried to get some education in Java, and (sans the Oracle training) there wasn't really much out there. I tried to pick up some odd courses and tutorials here and there, but nothing really made sense. After a while, I tried the Android course (again, without knowing it was the same course), and even with the little experience I had in Java, the 2nd lesson still beat me.

    So why wasn't there a place to get a Java education without a 4-year degree (and cost)? I didn't know.

    Badge!

    Extra Bonus


    Another thing I like about Coder Ranking is in the name: The students are ranked by their education material.

    By completing each course, a student will get a badge and some points toward their profile. Additionally, they will get a certificate saying they passed. As they get more education, they can get more badges and points (basic gamification).

    The added benefit is that they will also get an identifying code that will allow employers and the like to look up their public education record (limited to Coder Ranking) and see what they have done. No other coding school really does that. I have some certificates from some coding schools, but unless I take the certificate in with an interview, the only reference that my possible employer will have is a listing on my resume.

    Can I Test Out?


    Additionally, coders with experience can "test out" of a course" and just try for the certification. For example: I have plenty of experience, but I don't have many certifications in coding. Some certifications I can get are from odd 3rd party resources that will either charge me $200-$10k for a certification, and even then, it may require a class or two. I just want the sheet of paper saying I know my stuff!

    I'm hoping that I can get Coder Ranking accredited some how to make the certifications mean more than just a sheet of paper. It's in the works.

    I'll work on this a little more and get my entrepreneurial experience up and going once more!


Tags:#coderranking #gamification #badges #courses #coding

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Business Transition and Wedding Details

I thought this would be a good time to let everyone know about the recent changes/progress that have been going on. First, Shadow Development is going though a business transition (as mentioned in my previous post).

Shadow Development is transitioning from a "build websites for clients" to "designing, developing, and maintaining online services" (so, basically, a "software development company"), as the underlying reason since 2005 has been all along. Now, we're serious.

Shaking Egg...
I've replaced the main Shadow Development site with a shaking egg that I coded completely with CSS3


Out with the old office


As of August 31st, 2013, we have moved out of our office. Yes, the new office that we moved into in January, we have officially moved out. It wasn't because we were evicted or anything, it was just a combination of multiple channels combining their worst moments at once (we had half of our client base leave, invoices weren't getting paid to us, staff members were losing their motivation, increase in bill costs, etc). After crunching the numbers, it was better for us to leave the office and go virtual instead. The whole "working at home" thing is nice, but it has its drawbacks.

A "State of Shadow Development" press release should be released on the main site soon. Edit: Here ya go

code process


Over the past week, I've actually been doing a lot of work on code. I've revamped the Shadow Dev Beta Site, which has a whole new theme and concept versus its previous incarnations; I migrated the old Shadow Dev design to the Lunar Productions Beta Site, which worked out quite well, and I fluffed out some extra images to give the site some makeshift content to view; I worked on the wedding site a bit to get it up and going (I was inspired by WeddingWoo examples for a new concept, since the old concept was a bit...well, drab); and additional work here and there on various aspects.

Server Connection Confusion


Although, right now, I'm very confused at the main hosting server. Here's the rundown: last night at 3am, our legacy server at Website Source finally kicked the bucket (at our discretion), which means no more $200/qtr for hosting on a "maybe it's up, maybe it's down" kind of hosting environment. Although, about 5 hours ago, realized that the old legacy server was also handling the MX records for our mail. Once that was gone, well, so was our email accounts and forwarding. Therefore, I had to initiate a server system upgrade to the hosting files of the primary shadowdev.com domain in order to set up the new email accounts. (Yeah....that sounded like gibberish. - by the way, I updated the DNS records to have the MX records point to the new server, and I just received an email that was sent at 3:27AM today. 17 hours in limbo - wow!)

When I initiated a system backup to my local machine, my SFTP process stalled. I tried to connect via SSH, and I kept getting timeouts. I was furious since I basically had no "editing methods" for the server any more! After finagling for a few hours, I thought "what if I disabled the Wi-Fi on my phone and tried to SSH with that?" (from previous experience from a similar situation). I did so, and was able to SSH in no time! So, that just meant that the server wasn't accepting FTP (port 21) or SFTP/SSH (port 22) from my IP address.....again.

Basically, I can access the server via port 80, 8080, 10000, and others, but not 21 or 22, so I can't initiate a total system backup from my home, and I don't have any tunneling options since I only have access to 2 locations (my home and the server). So, I'm still chasing down a port 21/22 access error....

I've checked the iptables and even enabled a complete system access acceptance for my specific IP address. I made sure ufw wasn't enabled, as that was the problem before. I rebooted the server multiple times (that usually solves it). However, nothing was working. So, yeah, I'm still trying to figure that out.

The situation is as follows:
- The web server will not accept port 21/22 connections from my IP address, although the port is "filtered" (that's acceptable)
- Resetting my home router/modem does not work
- Restarting the web server does not work
- I can access the web server via port 22 when accessed from outside IP address
- I'm pretty lost with this situation

NMAP results

The Wedding Plan(ing)


To change up the tone a bit, I've been working on some wedding plans for me and Keat. With Keat in school taking 18 hours of classes (and working on homework every night), she doesn't have much free time, so I've been self-appointed with planning the wedding.....yay.... (for clarification, Keat is in her last year of school, so that's a little more important for her right now)
Save the Date

Here's what the plans are so far (and you can find more details at kk.shadowdev.com - the real domain will be acquired later, just so people checking it in September 2014 aren't cut off, and we aren't paying an additional fee for a year to have the site active for 2 months):

Rehearsal Dinner: Bogarts, August 30 (2014), 7pm
Status: We've been penciled in for 20 people

Ceremony: Lake Junaluska, August 31, 6pm
Status: We have talked to the coordinator, have the contract, now we are just awaiting "approval" from Keat's parents to move forward and submit the contract

Reception: Waynesville Inn, August 31, 7pm
Status: Everything is pretty much set, we just need to straighten out the food budget, get a quote on bringing in additional alcohol, and get the contract (again, Keat's parents)

Apparel:
- Keat has her ring and is paying for it
- I have placed an order for my ring, and should receive it in 3 weeks
- Keat and her mom are shopping for a dress (this is all her)
- My tux order has been placed, and I am paying it off
- Best Man has his own tux, but is getting some additional items
- Rest of Groomsmen need to be fitted
- Bridesmaids have been picked out, now for "Bride Discussions" (not my department)

Flowers:
- Quote has been received, and vendor has penciled us in for the day

Photographer:
- Quote has been received, details will be discussed in person in October

Music:
- Music selections have been selected, but waiting on professional opinion before finalizing (see next bullet)
- Musicians for ceremony have been ordered (friend of mine), quote received, details discussed this week
- Reception location is providing DJ

Print:
- Designed and received Quote for Invitations + envelopes, RSVP cards + envelopes, Thank You cards + envelopes, programs, road signs, Save the Date cards + envelopes have been edited. Need finalization from decisions and order placed

Guest List:
- After multiple, multiple versions, I believe we are at about 100 (115 with a 20% no-show rate, so 92-ish + party), however it seems to be a constant battle between her parents and us (my parents are okay, so far). Butter zone is between 100-125, as the Lake has 75 chairs +$3/additional chair, and the Waynesville Inn needs a minimum of 100 for the reception.

Budget:
- We are estimating a $12,000 total budget (let me explain: I am tracking the budget, which is split up in "Estimated" (what we expect) and "Actual" (what has been spent), and then it is sub-split into each party pay area: Keat's parents, my parents, and us. We're looking at $10k for her parents, $500 for mine, and $1.6k for the two of us)
- I'm also keeping track of all of the finances (what is expected, what will be paid, what has been paid, outstanding amount, additional fees, etc)

Travel:
- Quote received from local limo company, just need to inspect/place order and figure out payment system

Cake:
- Appointment is being made with local company for tastings (and possibly ordering, based on the high number of recommendations from others)

Gifts (what we will give the people in the wedding):
- Have been looked at and budgeted, but not ordered yet

Favors:
- Decision made, quote received, but not ordered yet

Officiant:
- Quote received
- Finalized on date
- Travel costs will be covered
- "Pre-marriage Counseling" has begin with a 126 question "Inventory" list (we both fill out questions about ourselves and each other, then discuss that with the Preacher)

Salon/Spa:
- Prices have been estimated, no decision has been made yet

Hotel:
- The Waynesville Inn is the plan, but one thing we did not expect to encounter was "higher hotel rates for the holiday." Yeah, big overlook on our part. The Waynesville Inn's "Group Rates" (if we can guarantee 10 or more rooms) would be $130/night. I'm hoping that other hotels around us can provide lower rates.

Wedding License:
- Will go in July 2014 to receive from the Haywood County Registrar of Deeds office. $60 flat, no physical/blood tests required.

Wedding "Day Of Schedule":
- Schedule has been planned, tentative timeframes have been scheduled, awaiting discussion from other parties and vendors of finer details

Dance Classes:
- Have contacted local dance groups/academies. Awaiting response

Website:
- Website has been redesigned (kk.shadowdev.com), new features available
- Online RSVP available
- Online donations set up/honeymoon somewhat planned

I believe that is it so far. So, yeah, I'm the "wedding planner" for this big event. I have absolutely no idea how the Bride is supposed to do all of this, as you better be damn well organized to keep all of this in order. I've been to some excellent weddings and some way-below-par weddings, and my expectation is for this day to be outstanding and (hopefully) I can recall it in 20 years (I barely recall my own high school AND college graduations since they were so hectic).

I'll post updates when I get some and can clarify a few things.


Tags:#wedding #office #coding #shadowdev #lunarproductions #dns #ssh