This is an intro post

I’m Rebekah. I’m a 17-year-old programming nerd; I’m about halfway through my AAS in Programming, after which I’ll switch to a 4-year college. I want to have a job in the CS or IT field… I’m not sure I particularly care what it is, as long as it’s interesting. I’d awfully like to make money off of writing and fixing Linux programs for a Linux-based company, or maybe I can find a job as an IT consultant. That’d be cool. I also aspire to work on open-source software, although what I’ve seen around looks far too complicated for my current skill level.

The reason I made this blog is that the Microsoft Overlords have sunk their claws in awfully deep here. So far, I’ve taken:

-two classes in VB (yuck)

-a terrible intro-level web design class that quite frankly I could have taught better since I’d already read the Head First book on it (it got me free college credits though)

-a Java class (which was pretty cool, but not very in-depth), and

-a handful of dorky intro-level classes. For example, Intro to Programming Logic, which is basically superfluous if you already kinda know another programming language. Personally, I think it’s superfluous anyway; why teach pseudocode when you can teach Python? Python’s so high-level that it’s almost pseudocode-like in its syntax, and you can actually run it and make sure it works. /rant

Right now I’m taking C#, which I like well enough, and I’ve got a Linux course later this semester that I’m feeling good about, because I started flicking through the textbook preemptively and it actually cites the Jargon File and distinguishes between “hacker” and “cracker” in the first chapter. Eeeee!

I’ve tinkered a bit with tutorials on Ruby and Python, and I own a hard copy of the lovely Python book produced by Zed A. Shaw; if you’re looking for a Python book to learn from, the Internet version can be accessed via this elegant and finely-crafted link, and the hard copy version is $30 from the aforementioned web site (it’s $5 cheaper on Amazon if you’re really pressed for cash, but if not, I recommend buying from Mr. Shaw directly, both to support him and because I believe you do get some extras for buying straight off his site).

My biggest problem-solving technological accomplishment to date is a digital signage solution proposed to the college. It’s just a system of monitors hooked up in different places around the school, and there’s some kind of mystical back-end hardware that was being leased to the school and their support could go “poof” any day. Nobody’s really been maintaining the system. It’s just kind of been collecting dust. The higher-ups in the IT department just kinda tossed the problem to the students, and I came up with the favorite solution. Which hasn’t been implemented yet, because the current signage program hasn’t gone poof yet and the administrators are more skilled procrastinators than the students.

My solution was just to hook a Raspberry Pi up to each of the monitors (cheap, and small enough to hide in the acoustic ceiling tile or strap on the back of the monitors), hook it up to the school’s wireless, and stick a simple little hack into Raspbian in order to make it boot on a schedule and straight into Chrome in Presentation Mode. The web page it would boot to would be a school-maintained site which simply displayed a slideshow of whatever signs the school wanted to put up. Particularly, I was going to alter WordPress and make a theme to do that so the college folks could use WordPress’s nice, friendly interface–but it turned out someone had already done that, so I didn’t have to. I came up with the concept and my older brother did a lot of the legwork; figured out what needed to be changed, figured out how to change it. Got around resolution problems and hooking up to wireless networks automatically, stuff like that.

I offered to personally code the RPis to the school’s monitors. If they procrastinate so long that I’m out of school by the time they finally implement the solutions, they’re gonna be -1 solution that’s a third as expensive as the only other proposal (it’s only like ~$50/monitor with network cards and cables accounted for).

I’m pretty proud of that. But I want to get to the point where I don’t need my brother’s help to do stuff like that, and I want to get to the point where I can tell other people about the solution and offer up a code snippet that will auto-detect their monitor’s resolution and set it up for them, so people who aren’t terribly tech-savvy can still figure it out. Moreover, so that other geeks who’ve been presented with this solution by their equivalent higher-ups don’t have to reinvent the wheel, OR try to parse my or someone else’s garbled instructions on how to do it. If they need to do something different with the resolution, the code that automatically sets the thing up would probably explain things better than I could (at least if it’s sufficiently commented).

Hmm, maybe that can be my first project. I’ve been looking for something to tinker and learn with, so maybe this’ll be it. This blog sure was a good idea! Talking to myself always seems to generate new ideas.

Oh, speaking of reinventing the wheel. I almost forgot to mention the other main goal of this blog! It’s so that other programming nerds who want in on the magical world of Computers That Do What You Tell Them To don’t have to fish around on the Internet just to figure out how to set up a VM that runs Lubuntu or whatever. That’ll probably be my next post.

I should go eat, and work on C# assignments. Laters.

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