In-Depth Blog Post #3

I have had 2 meetings with James so far. In the first meeting, we discussed my plans for in-depth and how he could aid me along the way. I showed him my contract and we slightly altered my initial schedule. Besides the plan or how I’m going to get to my product, he said that the final goal was both challenging and doable for me. However, to get the skills of building a calculator, game, or website, I need skills that I have to build. We discussed several ways I could do this:

  • Codecademy
    • This is an online tool to learn the basics of a language or anything else related to coding.
    • Although I would learn various skill to do certain tasks, my mentor reasoned that it doesn’t teach you how to apply those skills. For example, it could teach me things like how variables work in python, but it wouldn’t tell me how to apply it in a calculator.
  • Online classes
    • I found a udemy class online and showed my mentor. He said it was a great place to get started as not only will it teach me the necessary skills to code in python, it also teaches how to apply those skills, albeit not for a calculator. But learning skills of application for something can still transfer over to something else.
    • The course is about how anyone can automate something they do on a computer. Instead of doing something repetitive for a job, the course teaches you to make a program that does it for you.
    • Right now, the course costs money but when I bought it during the holidays, it was free.
  • Books
    • We didn’t talk a lot about books since they are hard to work with. With online sources, not only do I have access to it anywhere, but it’s also much easier for my mentor to keep track of my progress. I can send him screenshots of where I am in my lessons. Also, with books, I either have to buy them or borrow from the library. They can get pretty expensive sometimes and borrowing from the library means I either have to renew it or return every few weeks.

 

My mentor helped me install python on my computer, which wasn’t too hard to do. However, he strongly recommended that I use the command prompt to practice and do exercises for whatever I learn. This is because command prompt is like the overlord of your computer. It makes looking for files very easy and it can also perform other administrative tasks on your computer. We pathed the command prompt to where I had my python program installed so I could freely use that on command prompt for easy access. He does that at work and he said that starting with this helps in the long run. We also discussed other benefits of starting with Automating the Boring Stuff with Python. Automating anything can be useful in any job. For example, if I was an accountant, there might be a lot of repetitive work I have to do with things like putting information into Excel. With python, I can program the computer to put things into Excel without me having to do anything. So this can benefit me whether or not I get into Computer Science.

So for the past weeks, I have been making my way through the udemy course, learning stuff like variables, ordered and unordered lists, file managing, all with python. I didn’t have too much trouble going through the program because it explain everything pretty clearly. I also have an ebook as a reference so that helps me as well. My mentor and I discussed in our second meeting how I was going to start my first big project: the calculator. This is something fairly simple to make but what makes it difficult is the front-end of the code, the thing that the viewer will see. Python can manage everything to do with the back-end or the thinking. For the front-end, my mentor said that I might have to learn a bit of another program to and know how to draw buttons and stuff, just to show what it happening.

A couple months ago, I was reading my mom’s psychology book. It talked about when having a discussion with someone, it is better to face the same direction they are facing than facing across from them. They are more likely to agree or see your thoughts better. This was helpful for me when talking to my mentor because it allowed for a more fruitful discussion and less contrast of conflicting ideas. Being side-by-side also made sure that he could see my computer during the meeting so that was another bonus. During the discussion, we were more so casual than formal which allowed for more candid and open discussion.  It allowed us to talk more which I think, is important. Considering that I have known my mentor for a long period time means that we have more than a mentor-mentee bond. We know each other from taekwondo so there were instances where we would talk about that in times of silence. A factor that I see impeding on our relationship in the foreseeable future is the absence of my mentor from March 27 – April 11. Sometimes, over Discord, I messaged my mentor about a small problem, usually dealing with personal preference. One example is the dir command on the cmd. In that period of time, he cannot help me. To overcome this obstacle, I can check Stack Overflow for answers. My mentor recommended this website for times when I have a question because you can see the credibility of the person who answers.

By our next meeting, I hope to have made my way through the makings of my calculator program. Next meeting, as my mentor and I discussed, will focus on inputting programs like the calculator into a https server so I use that for my base for my other projects.

 

In-Depth Blog Post #1

My in-depth project for 2020 is going to be programming. Which sounds kind of boring, I know. The idea of sitting in front of a computer for hours and writing a bunch of lines of text that most of the time don’t do anything doesn’t strike me as “exciting”, either. However, I hope that after sitting in front of the computer for a long enough time, I’ll be able to produce something exciting.

I think the reason why I was drawn to programming is the fact that it’s such a diverse topic and there could be so many products that one makes. By the end, I want to have finished about 3 or 4 of these products to show on the night of in-depth. I have a rough idea for what I want to do for these projects but what they are will depend upon what language I will be learning and my mentor.

Speaking of mentor, I have already found who that is; James is a professional programmer that I know from the Taekwondo place that I go to. I know his last name but I don’t know the spelling so I’m not going to type it up. Just in case because if I get it wrong, I’ll be disrespectful. At his workplace, James uses Python 2 for their projects. Although Python 2 is very good as a language, I want to learn Python 3. They are both very similar; however, Python 2 will not be receiving support after 2020. This is important for me because, I hope to pursue programming in the future. If I have expertise in a language that is further supported in the future rather than a dated one, it will be more useful. On the other hand, Python 2 is the language that my mentor knows best so it might be more practical. I have talked this little dilemma over with mentor and he says if I choose Python 3, it shouldn’t be a problem.

On the side, I am also going to use third party sources like YouTube and books to get information and to also learn or fix something. To get started, James recommended a website called Codecademy. In our first meeting I hope to gather information about tools I will be needing and how I can acquire them.

I will meet with James every other week on Sundays because that works with both of our schedules. We have decided to meet at the branch of the New West library on 6th Street because it’s close to where he lives and it is an easy transit for me.

Overall, I am really looking for to start in-depth for this year!

Eminent 2019 Introductory Blog Post

Sure, my friend, insane I am
Such is my plight.
I visualize words
but hear the visible.
fragrance I taste
and the ethereal is palpable to me.
The things I touch–
the world denies their existence
nor knows their shape

260px-Mahakavi_laxmi_prasad_devkota

Laxmi Prasad Devkota was a legendary poet who made creative use of the Nepali language to forever change literature in Nepal. He is the greatest poet of Nepali history for his contributions are matched by none. I chose him as my eminent person for 2019 because of this, and also for the fact that I share my last name with him.

He was born on Laxmi Puja, the day where Nepali people celebrate the goddess of wealth. He was named Laxmi Prasad (which means, a blessing from the goddess of wealth), however, he was poor all his life. His family was a middle-class family; however, their financial status was not very stable. During this time, the Ranas were ruling Nepal. They were known as “iron-fisted” rulers who thought that common people should not be educated. So, his father was the one who taught him basic education. His father was a scholar as well as a priest. After much struggle, his family got him admitted to the only school in Kathmandu Valley where he studies English and Sanskrit. He was only admitted because of his family’s high rank in the caste system. The discrimination of people due to caste was often a topic Devkota addressed in his epics, poems, and other works. These kinds of works often got him in trouble with the Ranas and is part of the reason why he is seen as the hero of the people. Another time, when he was 22, he and a couple of his friends tried to open a library in Kathmandu, after seeing some in India. He was in India because of a scholarship to continue his studies after he got his Bachelor of Arts. He was amazed that the common people had access to libraries in India and wanted the same for Nepal. When his group of friends sent a letter to the Rana prime minister asking for permission to open a library, they were sent to jail. Events like these occurring in his and other people’s lives allowed him to protest against the Ranas in the form of writing. His poetry and stories often reflected the issues that were prevalent in the country at the time, a topic others were afraid to address. Issues like poverty which he faced himself as well. Because he had little money, after his schoolwork, he tutored others and sold his poetry for money. One of his greatest works, Muna Madan, is a story about someone who gets saved by someone who is poor and of low caste. The main character learns that “a man is said to be great not by caste or race but by a heart full of love and humanity” (Muna Madan). Works like these made him famous as time went on. He used the Nepali language in an innovative style and his works were usually compiled in short lengths of time which was one of his strengths. For example, his first epic, Shakuntala, was made in a mere three months. Others after that, like Sulochana, was written in ten days. In the 1930s, Devkota went through a series of events that made him mentally sick. The death of his father, mother, and two-month-old daughter over the years made him go crazy. He was admitted into a mental asylum in India where he tried to recover. Not all was doom and gloom though, as he was also inspired by his “crazy” phase and composed many poems about it.

 

Laxmi Prasad Devkota is an inspiration for me and all Nepali people. Even though our societies we live in differ, I can still try to see from his perspective and empathize. This will probably be the biggest barrier between us, the things we were allowed to do simply because of those who governed us. Below I have listed some similarities as well as differences.

Laxmi Prasad Devkota Prabigya Devkota
Male Male
Nepali Nepali
Born and raised in Nepal Born in Nepal, raised in Canada
Love of poetry and literature Likes poetry and loves to read
Cares not about the appearance, or social standing in society, or anything that’s out of their control but the nature of people and what comes from within Yes
Believes in equality Believes in equality
Scholar Will graduate high school and is planning to go to university
Traumatic experiences that changed his life Is living a happy-go-lucky like with no traumatic experiences
Chain-smoker Will never smoke

After a long battle against cancer, Laxmi Prasad Devkota died in 1959, however, the fire that he lit for Nepali literature and the good of Nepal will not fade for years to come.

Independent Novel Study: First Response to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The way Christopher handles the situation both surprised and impressed when he gets arrested. Acts of him punching the police and staying calm in that situation solidifies him as peculiar character that always sticks to their morals. When the policeman “[takes] hold of [his] arm and [lifts him] onto [his] feet,” Christopher hits him (8). It shows that even thought Christopher has been taught “that it is wrong to hit a policeman”, he does it anyway because the principles that define the way he behaves, control his thoughts and actions, far more than rules imposed by the government (17). Simply “[not liking] [the policeman] touching [him]” was enough of an incentive to break the law. It highlights Christopher as a stubborn person as well; he listens to little of what others tell him to do. It doesn’t matter whether it is the law or his father, he will do what he wants unless forced to otherwise. Having the audacity to say that “it wasn’t an accident” when he hit the police officer shows that he fears nobody (18). He does not stray from his ethics of honesty even to get out of a serious situation regarding the law.