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By lynda.com | Monday, January 12, 2015

Code Drives the World. Learn It on lynda.com.

Code is a new form of literacy in today’s world; it powers more and more of what we interact with each day. Learning some coding isn’t that difficult, but you may not realize the ways that programming can make you better at your job.

Find out how a little coding knowledge could enhance what you do this year, by exploring the infographic below. Below it, you’ll find lynda.com courses to get you started.

You’ll be surprised at how easy—and helpful—it is to add a bit of code savviness to your resume.

By Starshine Roshell | Sunday, January 04, 2015

Fitness Resolution for 2015? Learn While You Burn!

fitness resolution

It’s a fact. New year’s resolutions fall into two categories: want to and have to.

We want to do fun things like create stuff, tackle projects, pursue our interests, and master new toys. But we have to make time for the basics—like exercise.

The clever lynda.com fans you’re about to meet have all found a way to combine those two things: to check off the unavoidable have to of exercise while indulging in the gratifying want to of learning.

And some of them have even lost weight doing it.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Code Clinic Tackles 2 Top Programming Skills

The latest Code Clinic focuses on recursion and sorting

Want to work for Google? The company recently published a list of programmer skills it thinks are basic requirements. The list included “Develop strong understanding of algorithms and data structures,” including sorting algorithms—and that’s what the newest Code Clinic is all about.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Code Clinic: Program a Musical Instrument

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If you want to learn to program, you can’t do better than watching an expert coder at work.

Code Clinic is a series of courses from lynda.com that gives you a front-row seat to watch a panel of expert authors solve computer challenges—and this fourth Code Clinic challenge is deceptively simple:

Create a musical instrument using the mouse.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Code Clinic: Learn Code with the 'Eight Queens' Problem

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Every rock star knows a few Chuck Berry guitar licks. Every jazz musician studies the works of Miles Davis. Every classical pianist can play at least one Bach concerto. Eventually, every musician realizes that learning a musical instrument requires studying the masters.

Learning to code is no different. Dissecting well-known pieces of code is a great way to learn time-saving techniques. But many coders simply don’t know what these masterpieces are, or why it’s important to re-code classic problems that have already been solved.

Now, in addition to the wealth of lynda.com programming courses geared towards all levels of experience, we’re diving into computational thinking with our unique Code Clinic courses.

Code Clinic is six courses, each with a different lynda.com author solving a different real-world problem. And each author uses a different programming language to do it.

This month, we’ll examine one of coding’s masterpieces – The Eight Queens Problem.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Code Clinic: The Second Challenge

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What is programming really like?

Code Clinic is a series of courses from lynda.com designed to help you understand the process of programming—something called “computational thinking.”

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Code Clinic: 6 Problems in 6 Programming Languages

CodeClinic

“Learn to code!” It’s the latest buzzphrase. Everyone from Barack Obama to Will.i.am is talking up the importance of learning a programming language—which is good. But it’s only part of the story.

Successful programmers know more than just a computer language. They also know how to think about solving problems. They use “computational thinking”: breaking a problem down into segments that lend themselves to computer solutions.

Our Developer content at lynda.com already provides a wealth of programming courses geared towards all levels of experience. Starting this month, we’ll also delve into computational thinking—with a unique new set of courses called Code Clinic.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Green computing starts with your code

Is a paperless society really an energy savior?

Manufacturing office paper consumes more energy than producing food, and at nearly 8 percent of US energy going to paper, even more than steel. With these statistics in mind, it’s easy to believe a paperless society would conserve massive amounts of energy. Consider: An electronic memo doesn’t consume paper, doesn’t use ink, doesn’t require a printer spinning motors, and doesn’t require a delivery truck. Some bright folks calculated the savings for sending an electronic memo over paper is about .36 kilowatt-hours (kWh), or an energy-spend equivalent to microwaving three potatoes.

The Internet has a carbon footprint

But hold on a minute—that savings assumes an electronic memo uses no electricity, which is false. According to one estimate, moving one megabyte across the Internet costs .006 kWh, or the energy contained in one very small bite of a chocolate chip cookie.

We move a lot of kilowatts across the Internet. Different groups will provide different estimates, but Cisco estimates[CA3] traffic will pass the zettabyte threshold by 2017. No matter how you run the numbers, all those .006 kWh chocolate chip cookie–sized bytes of data have an impact. Google alone used 2,259,998 megawatt-hours (mWh) in 2010. When you’re consuming this statistic, keep in mind 1 mWh can sustain 1,000 homes for one hour. Another interesting tidbit: Google estimates an Internet search consumes one-third of a watt-hour or .0003 kWh (if you’re keeping track in cookie similes, this is about a cookie crumb).

Moving data isn’t the only thing computers do; they also store data. As an example, services such as Amazon EC2 charge by demand based on processor time, and a majority of that payment goes for electricity. According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, at this rate these server farms will account for about 10 percent of northwestern electricity by 2030. Code costs money to run. Inefficient code costs more money to run.

Your code is the solution

So why is the content manager for the Developer segment at lynda.com bringing this up? What does this have to do with programmers? Other than turning off lights and computers, what can we do?

Plenty. Our code drives the microprocessors that use all this power. Our code makes calls to APIs that spin up central processing units (CPUs) that create thermal load that require cooling that devour electricity.

Mobile devices bring this issue into sharp focus. Unnecessary code chews up precious battery life, reducing the time between recharges. Apple banned Adobe Flash from the iPhone because of excessive battery usage. Interestingly, this battery drain seems to be related to code, not hardware. Imagine the difference if Adobe had been able to reduce the power consumed by Flash with more efficient programming.

Tips for writing efficient code

Your office has power-saving features: lights controlled by timers, setback thermostats, and paper recycling. Why not write code with the same intent? Cache data from the server and reduce the number of queries. Optimize SQL calls to produce only the results you need. Once we start looking for ways to reduce load on the Internet, we’ll see many more options.

• Profile your code to reduce unnecessary cycles. In Drew Falkman‘s PHP 5.4 New Features course, profiling is discussed and examples are provided on how to write more efficient code. Take a look at the third movie in chapter one titled Using the High Precision Timer.

• Write closer to the CPU. Instead of writing a mobile web app, consider creating a native app using Objective-C, C#, or Java. Your application will run faster, and require fewer conversations across the Internet. For more guidance, consider checking out Objective-C Essential Training, C# Essential Training, and Java Essential Training.

• Write efficient HTML. Optimizing HTML pages not only improves the performance of your website, but will also reduce the number of hits on the server and the associated load. Look at Google Webmaster Tools, or check out Bill Weinman’s HTML5: Local Storage and Offline Applications in Depth to learn more about ways to store data locally, instead of on servers.

In closing, consider this: Programmers used to fret about available memory when 16 kilobytes of ram was a big deal, and they learned to be efficient. Over time, memory has become cheap and programs have become larger, but now we face an energy shortage. Why not start considering energy conservation to be the next big programming challenge?

Your thoughts?

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