Saving Money by Filling Up on Expensive Gas?

Driving these days has become somewhat of a necessity for some people, unfortunately. With the gas prices going upwards to about $4.17 here in Seattle, it’s definitely a burden on one’s wallet. So being able to save money on gas is rather important. So when you see two gas stations kiddy-cornered to one another, one with $4.17 (the cheapest between 87, 89, and 92) and the other being $4.03, your first instinct is “Hey, let’s go to the one that’s $4.03 because I’d save $0.14 a gallon”. Right?

But is this really the case? If I were to see a Chevron for $4.17 and an Arco for $4.03, I actually would hesitate to go to Arco. I’ve actually told people to not go to Arco lately because of the logic I’m about to write here. Let me explain…

Continue reading Saving Money by Filling Up on Expensive Gas?

Korea United FC

Here’s a great article from ESPN’s Soccernet with regards to a team from Switzerland, FC Basel, and two of the members of the team: One of them being a South Korean, and the other a North Korean. It’s quite an interesting story, as the politics from their countries do have an impact on their footballing careers. Yet, they still can go above that and work together.

Could the NFL end due to concussions?

Here’s an interesting story. Could the growing rate of concussions in football (American, not association) result in eventual end of the NFL? ESPN’s Grantland writers tackle the topic. (This isn’t the first time ESPN writers have brought it up.) But it will be something of concern in the years to come as more and more concussions happen, as well as what would happen to cities across the U.S. if the NFL were gone.

OK Go – Needing/Getting

I’m not a huge fan of OK Go’s music as I am of some of their music videos. However, this might be one of the most creative music videos I’ve seen. It’s just jaw-dropping what they did. If only they could have played it during half-time and not point people to the video, it could have won a lot more acclaim (or at least I think it could have).

Oh. And if only they used something other than a Chevy…

Why Real Madrid will continue struggle against Barcelona

In the time that Jose Mourinho’s been at Real Madrid, he’s won only once versus Barcelona, that being the Copa del Rey final where they won 1-0 off a Cristiano Ronaldo header. That might not seem bad, except that they’ve eight times now. Three times in the Copa Del Rey, three times in La Liga, and the two legs of the Champions League last season. Now that’s a problem if you’re a Real Madrid supporter. But what is to explain for their struggles against Barca? Continue reading Why Real Madrid will continue struggle against Barcelona

“Code Year” and Programming (in JavaScript)

So it’s 2012 now. And we all have our new year’s resolutions. Work out more, eat healthy, be on Facebook less. It’s all stuff we want to improve on… Or at least say we’re trying to do. But how about trying different endeavors… Like programming? Codecademy has a concept that surely will interest some people. And it’s worth trying, whether you’re a nerd or not.

A friend sent me a link to this new programming course called Code Year. Basically, it’s a one lesson a week course that started earlier this week. It teaches people how to program in JavaScript. And if you’re curious, it’s actually a useful programming language… You’ve probably used it while surfing the web. In any case, you get a lesson plan that teaches you some basics and you follow that up with a little “challenge” or application to what you’ve learned.

I decided to try it out myself since I’ve always wanted to learn JavaScript (but just been too lazy to actually buy a book and read up on it or ask my buddy Benji to borrow one of his books). One of the first things that stood out is that it starts users with a console instead of just an empty area to write a block of code. This allows you to see immediate results from what you’ve coded. It also makes finding errors a breeze. Try finding an error in a block of code as a beginner, to only find out you were simply missing a semicolon.

In any case, the early lesson plans are suited for the beginner. So for those with programming backgrounds, it’ll be somewhat boring and quick to complete. You go through the basics of what a programming language is capable of doing and then proceed to learn the syntax and other capabilities of the language. Afterwards, you get the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned through writing your own first application (and thus facing the arduous task of reading and writing a block of code). However, it’s worthwhile and pretty fun to complete.

Code Year definitely opens up an avenue for many people who haven’t even considered with free programming lessons for the masses. But it also opens up even more than just the ability to program. Farhad Manjoo of Slate.com wrote this in his article of Code Year:

But knowing how to code will improve your life even if you don’t ever program anything useful. I learned the Basic programming language when I was a kid, and then I sharpened my programming skills in high school and college. I am by no means an expert programmer, and I rarely take up coding in my job, but I learned enough to alter the way I approach problems. And that’s the most interesting thing about taking up programming: It teaches you to think algorithmically. When faced with a new challenge—whether at work or around the house—I find myself breaking down the problem into smaller, discrete tasks that can be accomplished by simple, repeatable processes.

I think he is accurate on this. I know when I took programming classes in high school, it made me think more “algorithmically”, that is, looking at a problem logically and attempting to solve it in a specific way. In essence, it helps improve our ability to approach problems that we might encounter, whether around the house to a specific task on the job. It makes us think differently about how we see those problems. I don’t just go about things in a guess-and-check methodology these days. It’s analyze the situation and work through it step by step. It also improves your efficiency as well, which is crucial in a day and age where you can’t be wasteful with your time.

Overall, Code Year definitely provides an opportunity to learn to code and does a good job of it for the person that has never touched programming in his or her life. Code Year won’t make you an expert programmer and get you a job at Google after finishing it by the end of the series (though that would be awesome). But it does allow you to think differently and enables people to learn how to program. For some people, they might find their calling and actually enjoy programming. From there, learn Python, Java, C#. Then you potentially get a job at a huge company like Microsoft or Google. Who knows? Anything’s possible right?