Friday, July 5, 2013

Not off the Grid


The fourth of July passed. We have already started summer and I can barely believe how far into the year it is.

I haven't stopped writing, I am just working hard on learning right now. And I am learning the things that cannot be shortcutted.  That's probably not a word.

I have been learning to code. And it is hard. Thankfully there is an abundance of places to learn how to code. And for free no less. MIT has a bunch of open courseware on computer science. Codecademy is a site dedicated to teaching people to code.  Mozilla has a coding project known as webmaker. W3C has courses. And on and on.

So I am going to try to learn. And I have been doing this now for several weeks.  The biggest lesson that I have learned so far is that I am not very good at this.  Unlike politics or economics, there aren't broad concepts that yield the minute answers. Rather it is learning a language--there is a complex structure full of codes and syntax that must be learned the old fashioned way.

And that is good. And bad. It is really hard and will take a while.

Why am I doing this? I want to build that comment system I have been talking about. I truly believe that an app like this could be used to radically alter how people interact with their communities and government.  There are similar products out there. Tons of tools that do x or y. But what I have in mind is slightly different from what I have seen so far.

I need a system that allows self-policing a la Wikipedia, admin management a la traditional comment systems, and data richness a la google/NSA. The NSA was a topical joke fyi.

So I am learning to code.  And I am not very good. Yet. But I will get better.