First Day of the Spring Semester 2017

You’ll have to forgive my cover photo indulgence. I gave my mom my iPad Air 2 and bought her some things like a keyboard, a case, styli (she has long fingernails and needs those), a 6 ft charging cable. She was so thrilled that I was thrilled. I wanted a picture and she said, “Yo, bitches I got my iPad”. Ha!

So I started the spring semester yesterday. Both my professors are cool. Both are behind the technological times, opting for some convoluted systems where I needed to install anti-virus and VPNs to submit homework. Most other profs use GitHub. And I was super annoyed about this. I don’t install certain anti-virus software on my Mac. I have a special app for managing threats and it wasn’t listed for the required anti-virus. Bullcrap. But it was required.

Java Programming with Tim Hoffman

For all the complaining I did about the software, our instructor, Tim Hoffman, is probably the best instructor at explaining difficult subjects to novices. I explained references to an object in memory that point to the same object (shallow copy) and in another part of memory that makes another copy of the object (deep copy). This is something I knew about but was fuzzy on. But the way he explained it made perfect sense.

He also bucks the trend of not letting students do their homework over before it is due. He wants us to succeed and learn. His colleagues often ask him why his 401 CS class has such a high grade rate. He told them because I let them make mistakes and learn from them. Isn’t that how you teach? Brava.

Web Dev with PHP and MySQL

We are doing more server stuff this semester in Intermediate Web Dev. I am working on my cousin’s e-commerce site that uses PHP. I had some problems installing Composer on my machine for his site and Zencart. I upgraded PHP and installed Composer which worked.

I also needed Composer to host my class apps on Heroku. The Heroku docs have instructions on how to host apps with MySQL and PHP.

I don’t know how many apps you can have on Heroku with the free plan but I’m hoping I don’t go over the limit[note]You can have 100 apps on verified account for free and 1000 hours of free dyno quote if verified, 550 if not. If you are not verified you can only have 5 apps. To verify, add your debit card, though you will not be billed[/note].

Looking Forward to the Challenge

Last spring I had a nervous breakdown right a the beginning of the semester. I am much better now and things are getting better and better all the time. I am up for the challenge and with Tim Hoffman as my guide, this semester should be a success.

Outdated Java Tech at Uni


So talking with Alex Gwartney, Nick Queen, and Joe Dayvie on Developer Soup podcast about my journey to becoming a web dev. We all discussed the technologies we were using; Alex and I were using JavaScript and Nick and Joe, Ruby.

Somehow we started discussing school as Alex and I are both students. We talked about Java in an academic environment and how they teach outdated tech. I half didn’t believe Alex– who wants to believe they are taking out loans to learn that you’re not getting up-to-date tech?

I went to school and we were talking about doing string concatenation with the + operator. When asking around on Twitter about it Craig, a guy in Pittsburgh who works as an engineer, showed me an article that states that using + to concatenate strings in Java is outdated (surprise!) and comes at a speed cost. I discussed this in my Code & Supply podcast segment.

This was talked about on Twitter among local devs. Seems it’s a good way to introduce a student to string concat, but that other ways are discussed as you move forward in schooling. But what about JavaFX for GUI apps? According to Alex, they don’t teach that. I’ll just have to wait and see.

First Week of Pitt, Learning Java, and My New Podcast Site


My first week of University was stinking hot. Seriously, a sweat soaked TA came to teach us absolutely nothing because it was our first day. She does our recitation.

We didn’t get into too much Java last week– it was just setting up our environment and learning about programming and the computer in general.

Seeing that I’ve been programming for a year plus it is slow going for me right now. I’m probably not in the right class but I needed to take it for the other half of my math credit coming over from CCAC. College algebra at Pitt is only 1.5 credits and the CS 0007 class fulfills the other 1.5. So I’ll stick with it.

Here is one of the first programs we wrote, actually today:

// This is a sample Java program

public class Simple
   public static void main(String[] args)
   System.out.println("Programming is great fun!");

Quite simple, really. Looking forward to our first project. We have smaller activities we must do to build up to the whole.

On another note, I will no longer be posting podcasts here. I have a new site you can find here at This Developer’s Journey.

More updates coming.