Session #0101

How long do you think it would take you to count to 1,000,000, out loud? How long do you think it would take your little mighty mouse Raspberry Pi to print out the same? It’s race time!

Ok, so do this — grab a stopwatch and count as fast as you can to 10. BUT someone else has to listen to you and actually understand each number you said. So you can’t just say an unintelligible stream of gibberish and call it a day. Alright, do that three to four times. Record the time it took you in seconds each time. Now average those four numbers together — that is, add up all four and then divide that number by four if you’re not big on averages… What’d you get? Mine’s around 1.2 …


On a cool, dark, salty-aired early morning of January 31, 1961 an intrepid space explorer approached his Mercury Redstone rocket ship near the gentle crashing surf of the beaches of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Through the fog of his breath on his bubble astronaut helmet, he eyeballed the interstellar vehicle up ahead waiting for him — smoking, humming and vibrating as if it were alive and breathing; ready to tear from Earth’s futile gravitational grip.

His spaceship glistened against the backdrop of the dark sky, lit in the distance by enormous flood lights like a glowing white monument to the exploratory drive of man. …


The “Maker Crew”

Yours truly has been on hiatus… A bit too long, admittedly.

After our first Code Crew class concluded, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year, family travel, catching what must have amounted to The Plague (I’ll spare you the details…) and a new work fiscal year all happened in what felt like a few days. Our first Code Crew wrapped near the end of October, and I’m still a few sessions behind to catch up on finishing up those blogs; write-ups that I truly hope to complete before our next Code Crew kicks off mid-April — The Maker Crew!

So here’s a quick recap of our last Code Crew…


Code. Create. Love. Repeat.

Mission

Support The Crew. Give.


Last Saturday, my trusty adventure sidekick Evelyn and I had the pleasure of hanging at “Everemanor” — the super rad, ever chill, maker-lair of the ATL’s one and only, Evereman. Wow, I just realized that’s a lot of “E-V”s…

The Evereman was hosting a production party where friends could lend a helping hand to churn out some new pieces he’ll drop around ATL-town 4U to find. If you don’t know who (or what?) an Evereman is exactly, then you might want to check this out first.

After helping cut, fire-brand and paint little Everemen all afternoon, it finally dawned on me if anyone had ever done a “drop” of one of these little robo-looking dudes in a virtual world. Specifically, I’ve been experimenting with Python programming in the 3D landscape of Minecraft (a very popular building-block game for creating just about whatever structure you can literally imagine) to construct creations not manually by hand, but with scripts of code to do it for me — automagically. …


Session #0100

When I was in high school at Satellite Beach, about 300 yards from the Atlantic Ocean on the central east coast of Florida, I was in a physics class with Jay Silver. Our physics teacher, Mr. Rogers (and yeah, he often wore the same kind of sweater jackets that went along with the name), was a pretty straight-laced guy. Suffice it to say, not a lot of jokes in our class. But Jay, the joker as much as the genius, would raise his hand and ask questions like: “Mr. Rogers, within the universe if the law of the conservation of energy says that energy is neither created nor destroyed—only transferred — then what happens when Jesus ascends on a cloud up into Heaven?” …


Session # 0011

By our third class, session # 0011, it was time to figure out what the heck binary numbers were all about, with all their nebulous 1’s and 0’s… Or as one gentleman asked me before, “what are all those X’s and O’s about anyway that run a computer!?” ☺ He was on the right track, but instead of a big gigantic game of tic-tac-toe, a computer operates a lot more like a billion little light switches all working in unison. Enter: BINARY NUMBERS.

In the video below, motor head James May (of legendary TopGear fame!) explains in a very official and convincing British accent how computers compute numbers that you and I know in our “base ten” system (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). Computers calculate those numbers from the only counting system they can understand; known as “base two.” A computer only understands two signals at the lowest level in the machine — an ON electrical impulse and an OFF electrical impulse; just like a light switch. An “on” signal represents to the computer a “1”; an “off” gives it a “0”. It then strings these 1’s and 0’s together and computes the resulting number by doing “base two” math as we’ll see below. …


Session # 0010

If you noticed, our first Code Crew session blog number was # 0001. This, only our *second* session, is now # 0010 (but not “10” as in “ten”). Rather, you read it out loud as “zero-zero-one-zero.” As the old nerdy joke goes, “There are only 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don’t.” If you don’t yet, don’t despair. More on this in our third session, # 0011. Then you’ll be the one of the 10 that does understand binary!

During our time of pizza and drinks at the beginning of the Code Crew (pizza is definitely a bonafide coders staple during some late night hacking sessions), we introduced the kids to the “Do Something Box.” The caution on the front ominously reads “WARNING: Contents awesome…


Session # 0001

Sweaty palms. Dry mouth. Racing heart. And nervous talk. That usually about sums up my physiology just before I have to talk to a group or present a session as a speaker at a work conference. Only this time, I was in way over my head, and I knew it…

I’ve never worked with youth before (I remember a little bit about being one quite a long time ago). What do I know about kids who live in Vine City? Oh, and I’ve never actually taught a programming class before either. …


(aka The VC3)

It’s hard to know where to start telling the story that unfolds even now called the Vine City Code Crew. It’s been said that any good story has a beginning, a middle and an end, though not necessarily in that order. Our end is yet to be written; we’re barely in our middle. So in this case, I think the beginning is a fitting beginning.

Last fall, almost a year ago, I heard one of the most poetic, moving and inspired visions for a historic, resilient and rightfully proud—albeit, under resourced—community in the heart of Atlanta known as Vine City. Nestled in the western shadows of the Georgia Dome, Vine City was one of Atlanta’s many neighborhoods with a rich historical heritage. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Joseph Lowery lived in the community during the Civil Rights movement. …

About

Jeremy Harms

Husband, dad, Crimson Tider and The Vine City Code Crew.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store