About Me

My photo
I usually talk about video games, TV shows and music. I also give advice and reviews. Have fun!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Great resources for learning Python!

A few months ago I talked about learning how to code with Python. Since then, I've accumulated a nice list of helpful links that will help you learn Python (and computer programming in general), whether you are a completely new student or have dabbled in it for a few months. feel free to add to this list in the comments. After all, the more people learn, the better!

This was the first site I used and the most interactive and easy-to-use for me. You can keep track of your progress if you sign up and there are loads of nice features, like a Q&A section or a sandbox for messing around with your new knowledge. And you're not just limited to Python - you can learn so many other coding languages like PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, etc. Plus, there are lots of lessons and achievements that will keep you motivated! Definitely a go-to for eager learners.

Computer Science Circles
This is sort of like Codecademy in that there are interactive bits where you can practice and try new exercises. However, it goes more in depth with concepts and what's going on behind all the fancy code. It starts off very easy and approachable and you will be on your way to learning very fast! Popular concepts like recursion and methods are explained as well with loads of "homework" to make sure you've grasped the lesson. Check it out!

6.00x: MIT's Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

One of the best ways to get a move on when learning how to code is to sign up for an online course. They are very in-depth and more like  areal class than just self-teaching on the internet. In fact, if you get a passing grade in this course (12 hours/week), you will get an honor code certificate from MITx! It is definitely worth a try if you have commitment and enough time on your hands. MIT has established itself to be the best university for computer science and programming and learning directly from them is an incredible experience.

And finally... your Python Bible
This is not really a course, but more like a reference guide made by the creators of Python! It has all the functions, constants, and types that are in the Python language. You know, the ones that you never bothered to learn (and that's totally fine, because there are hundreds to memorize!). Bookmark this site and constantly refer to it if you are confused, or want to figure out a faster way to do something. Never let go of this Python bible!

That's all I have so far, but I hope that I will be able to add more and more to this list as I learn more programming. Best of luck to everyone!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Comedy Gems

I found myself hooked on two spectacular shows recently. Luckily, they are both available on Netflix for my US buddies! They both contain this dry, sophomoric yet extremely well-built sense of humor that will evoke more than a chuckle from you. The main characters are both voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, a spectacular voice actor. Give it a try.

You know you want to.

Let me know in the comments if you've run into any great shows that are often under-appreciated. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

To This Day

I'm going to step aside from talking about the Harlem Shake and instead talk about the next best thing: the To This Day Project by Shane Koyczan. It is a 7-minute long video in which Shane Koyczan recounts his bullied childhood and how it affected him. In addition, he reflects on numerous other cases with classmates and friends, and how confronting bullying is such a hard thing to do, yet it is so important to accomplish. This is an amazing video illustrated by a myriad of art mediums and narrated by a poem that Koyczan himself wrote. I was awed by the simple beauty of this video and the profundity of the message that follows.

If you were as touched by this video as I was, please share it! 
The awful truth is that out of the millions who watched this video, a good chunk would have been vulnerable to its message. After all, the majority of us have been both the bully and the victim at one point. Or a subtle action or a few words might have hurt someone way more than we intended. However many of us could relate to this video, it is really hard to change people and the way we behave towards others. I would love to live in a utopian world where bullying and the like don't exist, but that simply isn't possible. People (including myself) take too much comfort in being safe and unnoticed by the bullies by the overarching shelter of pack mentality. It is really hard to step out of your comfort zone, walk up to a "bully" and say, "hey, stop that", even when we have played it out again and again in our heads.

I merely hope that this video- even if only for an instant- lets you come to terms with how seemingly "okay" actions might have affected someone, and you wouldn't even know it. Maybe it doesn't hurt to smile at some of your classmates or colleagues more, or ask how they're doing.

Hope you guys enjoyed this video and how it was beautifully rendered. Thank you!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

TED talk reviewed: "Your body language shapes who you are"

My mom's been infatuated with TED videos lately. She sent me this one a few days back and said I should definitely watch it. I obligingly did, and it was one of the best TED talks I've seen. 

The speaker in the video, Amy Cuddy, is a highly qualified professor and researcher at Harvard Business School (source: ted.com) She studies how "non-verbal behaviour and snap judgements affect people from the classroom to the boardroom", which she referred to immensely in her TED talk.

Cuddy discusses how body language is  one of the strongest indicator in confidence or insecurity. If you're feeling particularly powerful, you might have your chest out, feet apart and facing outward, chin up, etc. Sure, we've all heard this before. But what makes Cuddy's case so intriguing is that the relationship between body language and self-confidence works both ways. She observes that putting your body in a "power pose" for a couple of minutes will increase testosterone (upping your confidence) and decrease cortisol (lowering your stress levels). Accordingly, positioning yourself in a low-power pose (shoulders hunched, body caving inward  arms together) for a few minutes will have the opposite effect on your testosterone and cortisol levels.

Cuddy advices that before a stress-inducing event such as an exam or a job interview, you should place yourself in these power poses (discussed in the video below) as it will noticeably improve your self-confidence. Personally, I found this to be a fascinating link between our physical bodies and the way our brain works. It is incredible the sort of research Cuddy has done and I definitely hope she and other researchers further their experiments to find more relationships between body language and our psyche.

Feel free to check out an earlier post of mine regarding a TED talk on "The art of choosing"! It is another amazing talk that you can't miss. 
Happy watching!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Good old fashioned..

...music updates! Haven't done these in awhile. Also, happy (very belated) new year! Can you believe it's almost February?

Anyway, here are some of my favourite tracks as of now.
I guess a common theme would be that these songs are good for just relaxing and/or studying.

Hope you guys enjoy it! Feel free to recommend or suggest any of your favorite songs. I'm really sorry I haven't updated for a long time. I have been drowning in work recently but I'll get my break soon.

P.S. How many of you guys have kept up with your New Year's Resolutions? I sure haven't. *gulp*