My first Javascript sketch

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-12-15-30-pm

I know it doesn’t look like much, but I’ve been looking around for a way to learn Javascript and I’ve just been plowing through all these different learning sites and suggestions. I did CodeAcademy, which was nice, but there can be super steep learning curves from section to section and sometimes I would make it through a lesson only to wonder if I was just a trained pigeon, pecking squares.

Then I did Lynda for a while and that was nice too, but sometimes it was so dry that I’d swear I was paying attention, writing down notes and then realizing I had no idea conceptually what just happened.

Did WW3, Codepen Tutorials and Random Whispery Youtubers, all without much effect.

Then I found Coding Rainbow, I love this guy ( Daniel Shiffman) because his teaching style matches my frenetic, concept-hopping learning style and all of his whiteboard scribbles, cheap green screens, tangents, malfunctions, distracting asides, etc., add up to a way of learning that sticks in my brain. I pledge to Patreon him when I make it through a couple courses. I just wish the Intro to P5.js was in focus, it kind of offends my prissy video production assistant sensibilities.

function setup() {

createCanvas(800,600);
background(155,200,112);
}

function draw() {
noStroke();
fill(155,213,100);
rect(100,100,500,400);
fill(140,213,100);
rect(110,110,400,300);
fill(140,213,100);
rect(120,110,350,250);
fill(145,33,100);
rect(130,110,300,200);
fill(150,83,100);
rect(140,110,200,100);

//fill(120,111,40,45);
// ellipse(130,130,200,200);
}

Robot Classes for Adults

small, plastic white robot in front of a computer screen with computer code displayed.
Finchy the Robot contemplates his sub routines.

I recently presented a class on using Finch Robots, those slightly unnerving looking wunderkinds from the folks BirdBrain Technologies. The robots are a fun way to learn how sensors and servos work in conjunction with Snap. Boy-o-boy do I love Snap. It’s an interface that scales up or down depending on the age of the user. I’m a crotchety Gen Xer and I love using level 4 just to play with stuff.

Anyway, my students were particularly interested in programing the robots to interact with each other using the sensing blocks. They also enjoyed programming the little guys to respond to keyboard input to make the robots “fight” each other.

I made a little movie of a fun exercise that shows how to program simple Javascript concepts like “Else” and “If Else” statements

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CSS and HTML for Total and Absolute Newbies

CSS-and-HTML
These two languages go together like peanut butter and jelly!
Learn about the history of HTML as a tool to build the framework of the web and how CSS can be used to style that content. In this 90-minute class you will be given a brief overview of learning resources and some introductory tips to get you started.

  • Participants will learn how to create and style a document
  • add a page title
  • insert a photo
  • make a list

Registrants must have basic computer knowledge such as mouse, keyboarding and directory navigation skills.
Space is limited, so sign-up by registering online. Ages 16 & Up

Creating Content for an Early Literacy App

On set with the actorIn order to shoot clean, audible clips, I have a solid equipment list that I go to time and time again. My favorite piece is the boom microphone set up. Folks get active on set and can produce quite a bit of rustling if they have a mic on them. The best solution is using a well-pointed  PAA 350, a dynamic mic made by Peavy. I place it so it doesn’t cast any unsightly shadows and in a place that I can use a matte to remove it in post production. It is sensitive enough to register low talkers and produce a strong signal that can be shined up in an audio editing software like Adobe’s Audition.

I quick scan of the internet proves that this was probably purchased many moons ago, but the traits to look for in a replacement would be : solid metal construction, dynamic range and directionally mountable. I can’t wait to get this footage into After Effects and start adding the fun animations.

PAA 350, Peavy

 

Adventures in teaching when you have no idea how to teach

photoThings I have learned from my students.

Last night’s “Newbie’s Guide to HTML and CSS” class went much better than the first one, which is to say, I didn’t feel like apologizing profusely to the students as they walked, bleary eyed and slack jawed to the door. That was last time, when I fell prey to Librarian Information Expansion Syndrome and kept piling detail upon detail on them. This time, I glossed over details but tried to give a big picture overview of what these 2 languages do. This is a 90 minute class and that is just not enough to make experts out of beginners. So, I tried to impart concepts and then a few important examples, a little time for them to try it on their own and then I gave them resources to help get them started, like my fave, codeacademy.

They seemed to take pretty well when, at the climax of the class, I showed them how to link their CSS stylesheet to their HTML page and VIOLA! The future!…*nothing happens* cough, cough…THE FUTURE!…*still, nothing*. So painful. So, I know to test little things like that even though I’ve made that link a thousand times….

Teaching Beats to New Producers Using FL Studio

Something I’ve noticed since the opening of the library’s audio recording booth is that many people who are very talented rappers have very rudimentary audio production skills. This is a shame because many times I see people recycling the instrumental beds of other, more established recording artists like Drake or Lil Wayne. This is unfortunate because it is limiting to  musical artists who want to claim their songs as their own and post them to social media sites that prohibit posting copyrighted material. Freestyling over mainstream beats is also the sign of amateurism in some circles and it is hard enough to stand out in the music world as an individual with a unique sound without a unique instrument bed.

This is my opinion and I decided to try some programs to address that situation. I have planned a twice monthly program utilizing an inexpensive Digital Audio Workstation that is installed onto 6 of the computers in the library. I have access to an overhead projector that allows me to walk students through the various windows and interfaces that aid in the creation of some phat beats.

At first glance the tool bar is pretty confusing, but I use a Powerpoint that only I can see to guide my students through the step sequencer, playlist and effects windows. (Dj Cafe). I use the Pharell Song “Happy” as an example of the different parts of songs. This song contains easily identifiable Verses, Choruses and Breaks and it is pretty tame content wise.