Teaching your kids to program

March 8, 2010

About a couple of days ago I came across Microsoft’s SmallBasic (on Scott Hanselman’s blog). It looked like a great way to introduce my 10-year-old to the world of programming. She’s been bugging me for a while to teach her how to code and I’ve always struggled how I would do that using the languages I normally use (i.e. C#, Ruby, JS, etc.) Those languages aren’t really good for a 10-year-old.

SmallBasic’s simplicity and the speed with which a kid can get something up and running is impressive. I sat down with her today to play with it for the first time and the results were nothing short of awesome 🙂 She had never written a line of code in her life and in less than 2 hours she (with my help, but she did all the typing) built a command line calculator. We then spent another hour in which she designed (purely in code) a calculator UI.

She’s really excited to keep going and is already thinking of a slew of features she wants to add to her calculator. Once we’re done with that, I think we’ll move on to building a simple game 🙂

I was so proud of how quickly she picked this stuff up!

If programming is your passion and you have a kid between 10 and 16 years of age that want to learn to program… I would definitely recommend that you take SmallBasic for a test drive. You can also “graduate” your program to Visual Studio (only support VB upgrade) so that you can help them take their coding to the next level 🙂

Happy coding!


Startup Drinks Waterloo is on!

September 23, 2009

startup-drinksThe first ever Starup Drinks Waterloo is now a go 🙂 Come out and share a pint with other startup folks. A chance to meet new people, catchup with old friends and talk about what you’re up to, what you might need help with, or anything that crosses your mind…

Where: McMullan’s on King, 56 King St N. Waterloo, ON (map)

When: Oct 6th, 2008 (Tue) starting at 5:30pm to 10pm

Facebook event open to all can be found here. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can always reserve a ticket here. It’s all free!

Please spread the word to anyone that you think would enjoy this event.

Hope to see you there!


NHibernate and nvarchar(MAX)

November 27, 2007

Been using NHibernate on my most recent project and the team and I have spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to get around the fact that NHibernate generates all strings as nvarchar(255) by default. We’re also using Attributes for our NHibernate mappings (NHibernate.Mapping.Attributes). The solutions is actually quite simple.

private string _myString;

[Property(length = 4001)]
public string MyString
{
get { return _myString; }
set { _myString = value; }
}

Setting the length to anything over 4000 forces NHibernate to generate the DB schema with a DB type of nvarchar(MAX).

I’ve only tested this with the SQL 2005 dialect (Dialect.MsSql2005Dialect)


asp.net on Rails?

September 21, 2007

Came across this today: Subsonic It’ll build your entire DAL (Data Access Layer). So you end up with a typed object representation of your database. Really cool and could save lots of time. It also has Ruby on Rails like scaffolding built right in. I’m about to start using it and will post once I’ve had a chance to put it through its paces.  In the mean time, my praises go out to the Subsonic team for putting together what I think has been a long needed addition to .net.

If anyone has used this already, please let me know what your experience with it has been like.