Git(hub) in 3D with Craft Supplies

I’ve come up with an innovative disruption to the paradigm we use to imagine version control, leveraging tactile user experiences and a lexicon of familiar materials.

Psych! I made a model of Git and Github with pipe cleaners and K’Nex.

Git is an open source program used for version control. That means it’s used to track changes you make in individual files, and even rewind or fast forward to a particular change. It can be useful for writers and artists, but computer programmers are its main users. Github is a website where Git users can share projects, offer changes in improvements to other users, and let those changes be adopted, rejected or modified with a full history of the changes themselves and comments about them.

Git has a relatively low learning curve for simple tasks, but it’s notoriously easy to get deep in the weeds and mess things up … Read the rest

A Tech Explainer’s Pledge

I like helping people learn things that they weren’t sure they could understand. In tech culture, there sure is a lot of bluster, buzzwords and hand-waving. This is a pledge that I am making to myself and you to keep myself honest.

  1. I will always define terms using nouns, not verbs.
    1. It’s helpful to say “Blob.ly is a for-pay website that lets people store and retrieve big files.” It’s not helpful to say “Legu.me is a better way to find lentil soup recipes.”
  2. I will never define something as a “solution“, “platform“, or “framework“.
    1. Defining a thing as a  “solution” is the same as defining it with a verb. When you say “Legu.me is an enterprise recipe solution”, it’s the same as saying “Legu.me solves a recipe problem for enterprises, but I’m going to be coquettish about what recipe problem it solves, on
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Keeping you busy this weekend

If you didn’t have plans this Saturday, now you do. The Hacktory and the Prometheus Radio Project are offering a bilingual (English/Spanish) workshop to build your own radio transmitter, and Azavea is hosting an intro to Python for women and their friends.

At The Hacktory, staff and volunteers from the Prometheus Radio Project will be teaching a workshop on how to build a small radio transmitter that can reach across a room.  It’s an easy way to get music or speech across a short expanse wirelessly and it’s a great intro to basic electronics and soldering.  Here’s an interview that Tek Lado did with the instructors.

If that’s not your bag, you might like to try your hand at basic coding in Python, described as “incredibly intuitive.”  Python tends to be known as a simple but very accurate language that’s great for prototyping because you can build things quickly, … Read the rest

“Soldering is Easy!” Comic Book


There’s a great new comic about how to solder by Mitch Altman, Andie Nordgren and Jeff “Mightyohm” Keyzer . It’s based on a one-pager that Andie and Mitch made last year, and it’s totally cute and informative. It’s a fantastic example of friendly tech ed, and it’s shareable under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license.* Apparently the comic will be part of a book on microcontrollers for beginners that Mitch and Jeff are publishing through No Starch Press later this year.

Here’s the pdf, and check out Jeff’s site for copies in other formats and languages, and even a no-text version if you want to make your own translation.

* Thanks to Asheesh for his characteristically astute request for clarity on the type of CC licence.  Jeff says that folks “are free to teach with it, color it, modify it, share it with your friends, translate it, and … Read the rest