212: TZ Discussion – Where the Hell is My Heisenmachine?

Justin and Jason discuss how to make progress when you have too much to do, an update on running the audio job board, hiring someone to keep you on task and tricks to reduce the cost of context switching, why Jason thinks Justin will regret taking a three-week trip to Europe,  the latest on Catalyst Coder (the in-browser educational IDE), Justin’s domino method of teaching and the nightmare of explaining the for loop, some hacks for simplifying Javascript and the possibility of writing a new language called “KidScript” that transcompiles to Javascript, new stylistic conventions in Node.js, the idea of creating coding games and a simplified graphics library for Catalyst Coder, tracking who bought your politician, exposing massaged economic models with ShadowStatshow the returns of angel investors are better than previously thought, why PC obsolescence is obsoletethe best way to find aliensNikola Teslahis patents and his Tower of Power, why the possibility of being in a simulation is driving Justin crazy, what’s realistic and what’s not about aircraft carriers in space and how the modern carriers are sitting duckshow Tesla’s Supercharger network has gone live in six California townsthe rise of the rocketship school, setting up an AnyFu Paypal account and what’s going to happen with the show while Justin is in Europe.

  1. Stanislaw Pitucha says:

    If you just want to add nicer functionality to JS, maybe macros are enough – sweet.js has been released lately and could help you there (http://sweetjs.org/). In Python same thing could be done with a custom loader using the ‘compile’ and ‘ast’ modules. Any of them should allow a “repeat(…)” to be created.

    Justin, are you planning to visit any tech meetups in Europe, or is it a completely private trip? It would be cool to say “hi” if you’re going to be somewhere close by.

  2. Pascal says:

    sweetjs was the first thing that came to my mind, as well. Before you write a whole new compiler, you should really take a look.

  3. Re: The Audio Job Board

    Keep in mind that it generally costs a company in the realm of 3 – 6 months Salary to have a recruiter find candidates. So for a few hundred dollars, if Uber media got one good candidate, it’d be a bargain.

  4. Chris Lorenz says:

    Why don’t you teach them for loops using while loops. Much more logicial. Then as a shortcut you show for loops. Write your name 5 times. Ask them to do it using a while loop. They will have to come up with something like
    int i =1;
    i = i+1;
    Very logicial. The only reason for the for loop in the first place. You complain about the semicolon but it is just taking these lines and putting them in more of a readable format.

  5. Andrea says:

    You could do VBScript in the browser if they use IE however since Microsoft has run away from VB it’s probably not worth it.

  6. Paul says:

    Are you aware that there are several web-based IDEs that you can use with the Catalyst kids
    (instead of writing a new one…)?

    The one that supports the most languages is cloud9 (at c9.io), and it has a free plan.
    Python is included, of course.

  7. @Jason & @Justin – Thank you 🙂

  8. Aleksander says:

    Do people in the US really go to a bank to make a money transfer? That’s so weird! That’s like going to the post office to send an e-mail. 😉

    For me it’s logging onto a website, providing 4 data pcs (recipient name, account num, bank name, money amount) that I’d usually copy-paste from an e-mail or an invoice pdf and it’s done! Shouldn’t really take more than 60-90 seconds. 😉

    Maybe there are some European banks in the US that provide a better service?

  9. +1 for Chris Lorenz’s comment – I’ve also learnt while loops first, and then had the for loop explained to me as syntactic sugar/shortcut.

    Understanding the distinction between while & do-while was confusing though

  10. Jason says:

    @Stanislaw Pitucha & @Pascal – You guys are right, sweet.js looks very cool and will probably give us most of what we need. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. 😉

  11. Jason says:

    @James Robert – Good point. It’s going to be interesting to see if the audio job board experiment works.

  12. Jason says:

    @Chris Lorenz – You’re right, a while loop would be easier to explain than a for loop. Guyon mentioned that to me at least a few times (and probably Justin, too), but somehow it didn’t stick and I only had for loop on the brian. Oh, well, lesson learned. 😉

  13. Jason says:

    @Andrea – Yeah, I don’t think I’d want to force the kids to use IE, which would just be plain mean. 😉

  14. Jason says:

    @Paul – Cloud9 is indeed very slick, but it’s a bit too much for 8-11 year olds. The UI needs to be greatly simplified to keep kids in this age range from becoming distracted, frustrated or intimidated (or all three at the same time). One thing I’ve learned is that if there’s a button, they WILL click it. 😉 But also I’m integrating programming games into the IDE, so it’s definitely a custom programming job.

    One last thing – did I mention that I have the madness?!!!! There’s no talking me out of it now. 😉

  15. Jason says:

    @Aleksander – I don’t think you have to go into a bank to do a wire transfer. Did one of us say that on the show?

  16. Jason says:

    @Udi Mosayev – No problem! 😉

  17. Ignacio says:

    Came across something that you guys could use as inspiration for catalyst coder maybe.
    It’s a javascript visual parser: http://jsparse.meteor.com/

  18. Jason says:

    @Ignacio – That is really effin’ cool! Thanks so much for the link. 😉

  19. Paul says:

    @Jason – There might be some simplifies cloud9s out there, but can’t argue with the madness. I know it too well.

  20. Justin says:

    Just a quick note to all today thanks for continued support and and comments here, and also to say hi from York in the UK!

  21. Jason says:

    @Justin – Hey, slow down there on all the comments, we wouldn’t want you to pull a muscle or anything. 😉

  22. Doug Martin says:

    When’s the next podcast gentleman? They do have Internet in England don’t they? 🙂

  23. Jason says:

    @Doug Martin – Now that you mention it, I think they might. 😉 I’ll check with Justin to see what his temperature is about doing a show this weekend. I’d like to because my list of things to discuss is growing without bound!

  24. iSoftwareMaker says:

    @Doug Martin +1