Sunday, June 3, 2012

Daily Thoughts 06/03/2012

Silhouette, Perham Wilhelm Nahl, 1921

Daily Thoughts 06/03/2012

I spent a little bit of time updating the Facebook and Twitter page for the library.  I also started reading The Great Divergence America's Growing Inequality Crisis And What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah. This book is focused on economic history and has a lot of statistics.  It includes comparisons of why there is more economic inequality now than there was between 1945 and 1973.  So far, it has also described how there is more economic opportunity currently in many European countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Germany than the United States.  Timothy Noah has also provided statistics on how we are more likely to rely on inheritable wealth for our fortunes than in the past in the United States.  A lot of the writing focuses on the shrinking middle class.

I read a little bit more of Visual Quickstart Guide to Javascript this afternoon.  Then I watched a bit more of the Javascript class.  Now about half of what I am looking at looks like gibberish, which is an improvement.  I also did some more exercises for Javascript on Codecademy.  I think I will eventually get there, but it won't be easy.

There is an argument floating around that everyone should learn to program among the tech community.  It has a kind of slightly righteous tinge to it.  Codecademy was based partly on this idea. There are reasons to make coding and computer programming much more accessible to the average person.  I am not sure saying you must is the best thing. An article-- You Need to Learn How to Program. 

There is of course a counter argument.  Please Don't Learn to Code. It has some humor in it.

The truth is that there are jobs for programmers right now, especially in startups.  This is a better reason than saying it is an essential life skill.  Understanding computers is not necessarily the same as programming them.

I actually have some pretty good reasons to learn markup languages.  This blog is available in a view as HTML and it often is useful to be able to look at plugins to see what they do.  I on occasion have made adjustments using basic HTML.  If you want to use Wordpress, it includes CSS modules so it helps to know some CSS if you want to do anything with  Also the library website is powered by Drupal.  The Drupal editor shows itself as HTML markup language.  HTML and CSS are the standard language for creating websites.  HTML, Javascript, and CSS are used extensively in programs like Dreamweaver used to make websites.

If I want to understand how some e-books work which I am interested in, it is good to know HTML5 and EPUB3.  These are markup languages.  Some magazines are converted directly from InDesign or Adobe PDFs into tablet computers.  When I visited some of the conferences, some of the electronic magazine vendors asked me if understood InDesign. People often use Photoshop for images on websites as well as for use in InDesign.  It is useful to understand how e-books and electronic magazines work.  It is a good reason for me to learn this.  Also HTML5 is in the process of replacing Flash. 

I would be bewildered if I could find a reason to know Python or even C.  I am not sure how it would be useful to me.  Learning Ruby on Rails would probably be an equally odd thing for me to do.  Some of the rhetoric is a bit odd when people say everyone should know a server side language.  Maybe, there are not enough server side programmers to fill positions in technology companies..

However, if I am following my profession closely, learning about keywords, digital slideshows, metadata, digital imagery, and digital conversion of both microfilm and paper and other objects could be very useful.  You heard the word other objects.  I saw it myself at NY Cultural Tech.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art is doing an experiment where they take pictures of art objects, turn them into 3D images, then print copies of them using Makerbot. 

There is another argument which is floating around about what you need to know to survive in the new digital publishing world.  This is an article from Guy LeCharle's blog, Loudpoet..   It says some things about survival in terms of technology.  He is absolutely correct about learning how things like ebooks, tablets, and other technology work.  I still have not gotten myself to get a tablet.  He recommends signing up for Codeyear.  It was not him that made me sign up for Codeyear.  I was at a meetup of ASIST,  American Society for Information Science and Technology, and one of the speakers said learn code, Codecademy is a good thing to do.

No comments: