8bit Tribute

Sometime in November 2011, after some contemplation i decided to buy http://dsouza.im, then i after much dawdling i finally uploaded version 1 somewhere in february. My main intention of buying the specific domain is for using domain name hacks making my personal site having a url: http://kenneth.dsouza.im Very existential.

So version 1 was just something i pulled online without giving much thought. When i got shortlisted to NID second round, i decided to code a portfolio using deck.js and uploaded it.

Essentially, i havent yet done anything much on the domain that i would be proud of i.e., until now. Work has been hectic and in between 12 hour days and work on Saturdays i somehow got a Sunday for myself and spent it reading manga. Sunday evening was when i decided to code something new onto the domain.

I like pixel art. I use Gmail’s High Score theme. I grew up playing cartridge video games. The love for the 8 bit is ingrained in me. So here’s my personal tribute to video games.

First, i stole background images from Gmail for use. Please be excusing my plagiarism. So i coded up a design that had been growing in my head.

Then i needed a pixel font. So i went ahead and tried out using @font-face for the first time.

Finally. A video game tribute would be incomplete without having a Konami code* reference. So a quick google found me a library which was widely used to recreate konami code.

So now with that out-of-the-way, i finally release http://kenneth.dsouza.im on this blog. Please head down there and then enter the Konami code for the pixel version that i am proud of.

*Konami Code: ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A Start(Enter)

Fonts used: My Logo: Pacifico, a Google Web Font. The Text is Silkscreen via fontsquirrel.

Being Social

Pair is the latest app/social network that is creating a buzz in the west and most people would be wondering why anyone didnt think of it first ?  Actually they have but none have been successful.

A social network targeted at couples and especially at those maintaining a long distance relationship is quite a well thought fork to the idea of social. The Y Combinator backing they have is also giving them the essential technology press so that they will need to sell an idea that has been thought of before but never well executed enough to survive.

Pair also has some unique features like the “thumbkiss” which will surely be the next “poke”. Monetizing this app also would be simple and easy.

However i wrote this post not to share this app with you but because i was pondering on the unique negative scenarios that this app would produce  if it became the next big thing.

  1. An app can be installed only once in a phone, therefore would this reduce cheating ?
  2. Could this app actually help people cheat ?
  3. In case of a breakup, would an option of deleting the app signify an end to the relationship ?
  4. How about a new relationship ? would that mean that you would have an option to start using Pair from scratch ?

Also you should have noticed by now that the idea of social is shifting from the “have more friends”(Facebook) to “share with close friends”(Path) and the emphasis being on your “friends” being a very close knit group. This is the future of Social networking. Privacy concerns are the reason for this shift and come on, you wouldn’t really want to share many of the parts of your life with your entire network. That is why when i realized that, i stopped updating this blog in a diary like manner and its become more of a article like blog. Because you never know who’s watching.

2012: The Year of Online Learning.

If you have been an avid reader of Hacker News these past few months, you would have noticed a host of startups launching around the idea of teaching learning to an everyday person. Codecademy was one of the first out of the stable. The people of Codecademy introduced many of us to the world of Javascript for the first time. I was overjoyed about Codecademy but eventually realised from their usability that it was intended at a reasonably computer literate user. Their problem was that the forgiveness that they employed when teaching the programming novices was not very intuitive. I dont consider myself to be the dumbest guy out there but i was befuddled by the fact that their UI was not responding to an answer that was right but not in the way they had instructed us to code. Still they are getting there slowly, CodeYear was a great way of pushing ahead[1].

At around the same time, the Stanford online classes started off. Prof. Thurn who started the  ‘Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class’ gave up his tenure at Stanford and started a new online university called Udacity. I was not very interested in the first session but now i have enrolled for a class[2]. Lets see how that goes. MIT also decided to jump onto the bandwagon.

Then the trickle turned into a torrent which flooded the internet. Some of the websites i came across include

Ruby
RubymonkTeamTreehouse, tryBloc, tryRuby, RubyLearning
Clojure: tryClojure
Web Design/Development:Beginner’s Guide, TeamTreehouse, Codepupil.
Design: Method of Action

I also came across these two Reddit pages filled with resources. And last but not the least, I love the work Salman Khan is doing with his Khan Academy.

If you know of any interesting learning resources, do let me know in the comments below and i shall update this post.

Update: Another list of Learning resources includes Coursera.

Update 2: Knight Center is offering courses in journalism (They have courses on information visualization). Also adding Stanford’s Venture Lab.

Update 3: Now there’s uReddit, where anyone can set up a MOOC.

Footnotes:

  1.  Codecademy recently started out CodeYear to get more people to start learning. NYC Mayor Bloomberg is one among the many who has vouched to code this year.
  2. I have signed on for the ‘Human Computer Interaction‘ class which will start on 30th January 2012. Check out the entire Winter semester course list here.