Category Archives: Uncategorized

Google Mobile Web Specialist Certification and Codelabs

Well, this looks interesting: Google Mobile Web Specialist Certification

Certification has gotten a bad rap at times, but I think there’s still value in pursuing certification. There’s no substitute for on-the-job experience with technologies, of course, but the curriculum and certification gives one an idea of the skills and knowledge needed in a subject.

Google Codelabs are small projects that provide hands-on experience with various parts of the Google Cloud and other technologies. Some of them look a bit obscure (well, compared to my interests), but a few look like must-sees, like Your First Progressive Web App or YouTube in Your App.

BoingBoing – ‘Myers-Briggs personality test deemed expensive and silly’

BoingBoing amusingly introduces a Digg article by Merve Emre by saying

The Myers-Briggs personality test is the internet’s sorting hat, beloved of twittering nerds, Tumblr addicts and Facebook oversharers alike (I’m in House ESFPI)…

Emre’s biggest criticism of the MBTI cult is one I share – the idea that the MBTI type is fixed and immutable, rather than a useful description of your preferences and mindset at the moment you’re taking the test – excuse me, the “indicator”.

Amtrak links

After my recent rail trip to Michigan, I’ve been more aware of stories about Amtrak.

I ran across an interactive map from the Brookings Institute showing Amtrak routes, ridership, and profitability. The takeaways: short routes == full trains, long routes == (nearly) empty trains, full trains make money, and empty trains lose money for Amtrak.

I found the above ridership map from a Slate magazine story on the Northeast Regional train crash earlier this week. That’s not the only good Slate story about Amtrak, either.

One of the Slate stories (on Amtrak boarding) referenced a story on another site regarding Amtrak’s locomotives. They’re built heavier than locomotives in other countries (perhaps because American railroads have been dragging their feet on implementing Positive Train Control).

Happy Birthday, Windows!

Microsoft Interface Manager – excuse me, Windows 1.0 – was introduced to the world on November 10, 1983.

Version 1.0 wasn’t actually released to users until 1985, but Bill Gates showed the first version two years earlier at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

In 1983, I was still trying to be the next great bicycle racer. By late 1985, I’d quit bicycle racing and started to ask myself what I would do next. I decided on electronic music (I should have gone back to college then, instead of waiting a couple of years) and bought my first keyboard (an inexpensive consumer-grade Casio) that year. I bought an Akai AX-80 analog hybrid synth and an Atari ST 520 in 1986, and started getting involved in the local Atari user group.

I bought a Zenith all-in-one PC that ran MS-DOS from floppies in 1988 (1987? 1989?), but I did a lot more with the Atari. My earliest memory of Windows was the announcement of Windows 3.0 in 1990, which happened at the same time as a tech show in Austin where our Atari user group set up a multiplayer MIDI Maze game. (MIDI Maze was an early “first-person shooter” (FPS) game that used the built-in MIDI ports on the Atari ST to network multiple machines)

I didn’t actually work on Windows machines until I started work at Dell in 1995. I started training in tech support the week before Windows 95 was released on August 24, 1995 – but I and the other first-level techs in my class didn’t get to use Win95 until 1996. My first Windows was Windows 3.1.

Doctor Who fans have a saying – “You always remember your first Doctor.” Similarly, I will always remember Windows 3.1 (but not fondly).

Business Insider has a retrospective on Windows through the years – that unfortunately neglects to mention Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. It’s as though the first part of my tech career never existed.