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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Happy coding!



June 24, 2008

If you have a kid with an ex, the day will come when wires get crossed and communications get missed. Although it’s easy to get one’s feathers all ruffled, as long as everything works out… let it go and laugh about it, because odds are that in hindsight, it’s actually funny.

Today, Kate’s mom left the country on a one week vacation. I knew she would be leaving sometime between today and two days from now, but never got the final confirmation of the dates… To my surprise… today was the day. Thank God for Facebook, saw a wall post she left on a friend’s wall and that’s how I figured out she had left. Now, she might very well have sent me an email with the details, but it just so happens that my mail server went down a few days ago and took quite a few emails with it… timing has never been good to me πŸ™‚

A bit of running around after work and it all got sorted out. No harm, now foul.

Best Father’s Day gift EVER

June 17, 2008

Yesterday was Father’s Day (happy belayed Father’s Day to all the Dads out there). Kate made me breakfast in bed which consisted of a bowl of Cherios with a 1/4 of All Bran (she knows what I like). I also got a beautiful card and a little clay figurine of her (she made both).

But the best gift came in the form of hand made door knob hanger. It’s “do not disturb” sign so that Daddy can sleep in on weekends πŸ™‚ How cool is that?!?!

Game night…

December 7, 2007

Tonight was game night with Kate, yes, I put my laptop away and the two of us played games all evening. It was a great time. One of the games we played was a board game at which I sucked, she won hands down… that game was “Perfect Wedding”… How fitting… πŸ™‚

Has it been THAT long???

October 17, 2007

Well, seems like I’ve been away for a while now. I guess life’s been really busy lately with work and other more social thing. As a matter of fact, it has been so long that my admin interface for this blog has changed… Well time to get back to writing.

Came back to write a quick post here, because it stuck me how much our interaction with friends has changed in the past few year with Web 2.0 and all. I just found out that Kate’s mom is in labour, not by getting a phone call, email, or text message. Nope… I read her status on Facebook. I can’t help but giggle just a bit at the thought of a pregnant woman updating her FB status while rushing the father-to-be to pack the car and not forget the extra blanket πŸ™‚

Anyhoo, best wishes to Kate’s mom, hope it’s an easy labour and all the best to you and your new addition. Now to go and wish her well on Facebook too…

Good eats

August 23, 2007

Stopped in Mississauga today on my way back home to have dinner with my mom. We went to the Spoon and Fork for dinner, by the name, I fully expected a greasy spoon (and maybe fork too) joint. Turns out to be one of the best Thai and Viet restaurant I’ve ever eaten at and very reasonably priced with most main courses around $15. I had the curried lamb and it was absolutely yummy!

Thanks for introducing me to yet another good restaurant mom πŸ™‚

Generation gap

August 12, 2007

My mom and brother were over for lunch today. We got to talking about the Interweb as we sometimes do and I mention that Darth Vader has a Twitter account. I pulled it up on my laptop and after spending 5 minutes explaining Twitter to my mom, let the two of them read it.

5 minutes later, my mom looks up with a big smile on her face and says “I don’t get it, can you explain it again?”

It’s funny how extremely different our times are now compared to even 10 years ago.