(How I am) Learning To Program

Over the course of the next couple months or however it takes, I will try to learn Python. I got the idea from @Ihnatko on Twitter giving someone advice on how he should go about coding. My coding experience stems from my front end web design experience; HTML, CSS and some Javascript. Mostly design stuff and not the nitty-gritty coding. 

Python is a general-purpose coding based language that can be used for just about anything; web development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and scientific computing.

I have tried using Codeacademy before and I just never stuck through with it because I would get impatient and give up when things got hard. I’ll be sure and take my time with this book method. Also, coding is just math in disguise and I am the worst at math.

That being the case, if I can do it, anyone can. I may do the Swift playground after I get the hang of Python so we’ll see how that goes.

I like writing about technology or at least how we consume media which requires technology and coding is something that is a big part of it.

I bought this book after hearing about it on Daily Tech News Show from a listener who also gave advice on how he got into coding.

I don’t see myself making a living on coding. It’ll be more for hobby reasons.  Maybe tinker with Rasberry Pi.

So far I have done 7 lessons in the book. I had a hard time dealing with Powershell. After that, I have gotten the hang of it. Printing is something that has become a big deal with Python.

I have moved and been settling down in the Austin area. Along with my computer doing this:

screen

I had fallen off the book for a month. Now I have gotten back into will be learning. I am currently on exercise 10.

Contact me on Twitter on my progress (@fka_dan), this will be the only time I write about my learning of Python.

 

 

 

Is Game Of Thrones The End Of “water cooler talk” Around TV shows?

We are approaching a streaming bubble with every network/company thinking they have to put a streaming service. It diversifies people’s taste and people’s wallet. We don’t know yet who will come out on top as the best streaming service. As far as content is concerned, HBO is king. Netflix started this revolution so we can see them as a pioneer for this kind of trend. Disney+ is the one that’ll peak with all this. After they get all their subscribers, then the dominoes will fall and you’ll see services cave. They are doing it right as well. They have announced a plethora amount of content along with all the back catalog that they will have from the past.

Game of Thrones is a staple of this generation in terms of TV shows. It’s up there with Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Friends, etc. It’s sad that the writers botched the last couple of seasons, but that’s another article for another day. It’s the most popular show on right now and you can hardly find anyone who hasn’t seen it. Networks are trying to find the next Game Of Throne whether it be Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Prequel or HBO repeating and making adapting Watchmen into a great series. The problem is, with every company coming out with their streaming service, how can they know which show is the best one? No matter how good a show is, people wouldn’t subscribe to the service just for that one show. HBO loses subscribers after Game Of Thrones ends, but people who subscribe regularly to HBO will tell to keep subscribing because of shows like Barry and Silicon Valley.

So with every network coming out with their own streaming service, it will be interesting to see if there is THAT SHOW to heavily discuss with everyone not having to subscribe to each service.

 

Media Literacy

It’s been going on for too long about “Fake News”. But what is being done to stop the fake news? Have Facebook implement people to monitor what is fake? Blame Donald Trump for the term? No and no. Facebook can’t be monitored at the scale that it is at which is 1.5+ billion plus people. The people running Facebook can be held more accountable but they are not solely the problem. Even one percent of that is hard to monitor. Donald Trump didn’t coin the term “fake news”. Fake News has always been around. He simply popularized it by being a person who is in the spotlight of being president. Using it to get where he is today has made that popularization even worse because other people have dismissed facts as being fake news.

What needs to be done is training the people who read the stuff to be better aware of the content that is going on. To be able to recognize the fake from the real. To be more…media literate. The only question that comes from this is, how important is media literacy. Well, it expands beyond just recognizing fake news. People complain too much these days about others being on their phone too much or they put in front of a tablet/phone too young. Parents can’t be held accountable. Throwing blame at one person or another is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Good has come from Facebook that you simply can’t dismiss them altogether. The same can’t be said for Trump but you can say that he has brought this awareness to people and that something should be done about all this. We as humans are wired to dismiss/throw away anything that we deem dangerous or when change has happened upon us. It’s part of the reason we have survived this long. You regulate the technology, not throw it out.

Have you ever considered switching?

 

Have you ever considered switching phone OS’? I currently own an Android device. I would like to switch with my friend who says he “wants” to switch to a Pixel but I tell him not to. Not because he wouldn’t like it, but because he should stick to what he knows. He has had an Apple device since forever and switching to something like an Android is taxing to learn since Android is complex (not on purpose) and Apple is simple by design. I’m biased against Apple and I’ll admit but it is because I want to stay platform agnostic and Apple doesn’t allow that with its products. You have to buy an iPhone to work an Apple TV. What if I wanted an Apple watch for my Android phone…HA! not in a million years.

Microsoft is seen as a services company. So it’s easy to be pro -Microsoft and have an Android device because they (Microsoft) make a lot of apps that help be comfortable in the Microsoft ecosystem. The most I have ever seen customizable on an iDevice is Microsofts keyboard and it worked well. I only used it when I had an iPhone SE so it may be different by now but it did make texting with one hand a breeze with the curved keyboard so you could reach across all letters with ease.

So is there any benefit to switching if you are accustomed to an ecosystem? Only if you are tired of what you have and want change. I can’t see any real benefit. You got what wanted in the first place because that’s what drew you to that platform. For iOS it may be iMessage and Android, it may be that you are able to customize your device.

 

The Twilight of Cryptocurrency

The idea of cryptocurrency has intrigued me. I thought by now that we would be on the fast track of having a tap to pay like we do with Apple or Google pay but on a permanent digital basis with blockchain being the universal standard. I know, blockchain is part of everything these days, but the promise of having the ledger that is readable from being passed hand to hand is the most valuable thing blockchain has to offer. Money has had the social illusion of having a value, its what the digital number in your account that matters. People use less and less cash these days and some countries don’t even accept cash.

So imagine having a device like they did on the show “Almost Human”. They carried around a device that they just tap to pay for everything. Passing money, transactions, etc. Very simple and convenient.

Like everything else, maybe bitcoin and this notion of cryptocurrency is just the start of what is to come later down the road. Railroad companies went bankrupt at first building railroads around the country.

What makes Bitcoin attractive, is not Bitcoin itself but the underlying technology, Blockchain. If you do a search of Blockchain, you will see tons of uses and forced uses for it. Other countries are starting to adopt the idea of blockchain for their currency. I wouldn’t expect the US to give this a chance, since we have valued the dollar for so long, and like I have said before in my previous posts’, the US government is slow to adapt to the digital world. Heck the US is still slow to adapt with the chip and pin at the register that other countries have adopted for years.

So the problem with all this is the privacy and the security of it. Blockchain is very hard to hack but any security expert will tell that anything can be hacked in due time. When blockchain is able to prove itself and be secure, I think it will be a cornerstone for better currency.

 

What is the future of music?

A problem I find today with technology is the silos that tech companies have created. An example of this is me buying a lot of apps on one platform (Android) and not switching properly to another platformif I please like iOS because of all the apps that I have purchased.

That is a topic as a whole is for another day, but to get specific, what is the future of music? As much “digital” as we have gotten, vinyl has made a comeback. This is for the music enthusiast and there is something about owning a physical copy that makes it better. The early days of Pandora seemed promising with curated radio. I remember being on stumbleupon and coming across Spotify before it came to US. Now with every company having its own service (Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, and now dead, Microsoft’s “Groove” service). One has to wonder what is the future of Music?

But how did we get here? Back in the Napster days, when all the musicians were having a fit over pirated music, they thought what Napster was doing was hurting the music industry. But others that I agree with will say that this helped the music industry grow. It helped with music discovery. Rhapsody tried to do it the legal way but ultimately failed because there was no incentive to fully pay for an album at the time. The music business needed innovation. Then there were two pioneers. Pandora for free listeners and iTunes for the ninety-nine cent per song model. The rest is history and here we are with a plathora of choice with music listening.

There was a streaming bubble for a while. Services like Tydal and Pono were good attempts but they didn’t catch on because they weren’t tied into your OS or have the same or better service that Spotify does. They tried to get people with exclusives and sound quality.

You have to keep in mind that these music streaming services are a money loss. The music labels can raise the streaming prices that these companies have. For companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon which music streaming isn’t their main business, they can afford to lose money from these streaming services. Spotify has had to slightly pivot by buying podcasting media companies and having celebs host podcasts on their platform.

So what are the problems that we face today in music? One I would say is music sharing caused by the silos. Youtube seems to be the middle ground to share a song. If you can think of any others, write a comment or let me know what streaming service you use and why?

 

 

What Would an Ideal Social Network Be?

We can all agree that at some point Facebook was an ideal social network and some might say that it still is by definition; it’s where all your friends and family can be contacted. There have been other social networks that are “better” but didn’t top Facebook in users because the people you know aren’t on it. Facebook lost it’s way because, like any business, it has stockholders to appease. They’ve had to pivot in ways by copying technology from other tech companies (which didn’t work) or acquire companies and integrate them into Facebook (which has worked). Then you have the multiple data scandals. Instagram brought promise at first of people being more visual and telling more stories with pictures and photos, but it too has its way with Instagram influencers and the celebs selling teas via the platform. A proper social network would have a good way to communicate via text as well, which Instagram doesn’t.

Twitter is a viable option but just like Facebook, the people who run it have no good standing in the eyes of the public. As often as Donald Trump tweets, if he were to violate the TOS, I doubt Twitter would shut down his account because he brings so much traffic to the service. There are others I could go on that shortchange the meaning of an ideal social media platform but I digress.

There are too many problems when curating a good social network. You have to monitor technology properly. Facebook as of right now, has over two billion users, almost 2.5. It’s impossible to police that many people. Even 1% of that I would say is hard to keep track of. When Google+ was at its peak, I thought it was great. The conversations I had were better than the ones I had on Facebook. My friends and family weren’t on it but that wasn’t a bad thing in my opinion. For a network to thrive it has to maximize userbase.  The problem with the “Facebook effect” is that a network gets too many users and it becomes toxic.

For now, something like Mastodon would be ideal. Mastodon itself has a complex learning curve and would never catch on to the masses but having an open source network that connects people in some way is the way to go. How would it be monetizable? We tried the Facebook way. A company can be as transparent as the public wants, but without proper data laws, that won’t fly. Once online ads become better and they show what people actually want, then use that strategy. People will not mind if it’s products they want to use.

Theoretically, I think an ideal social network is going to be something innovative. Facebook wasn’t innovative, it rode on the coattails of Myspace and became bigger. At its core, Facebook is just a glorified forum. Whether it be a new technology, a new internet, or a new system of operations, it hasn’t been thought of yet. I just know that it’s business and underlying tech will have to be more open than the ones in the past.