Learn To Code

There was a time when nobody knew how to write lit­er­ary prose. The geniuses who invented it shared their spe­cial tool with a few friends, and they rel­ished in their pri­vate, elite com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Even­tu­ally monks, politi­cians, and aca­d­e­mics joined the club. Now, we judge a society’s over­all level of intel­lec­tual advance­ment by the lit­er­acy rate: the per­cent­age of peo­ple who have learned to read and write.

Long ago, it would have been ridicu­lous to assume a whole soci­ety could be judged by its abil­ity to read and write prose. It feels ridicu­lous now, to assume that we might use com­puter pro­gram­ming as a sim­i­lar bench­mark. Yet it may happen.

Daniel Jalkut - Learn To Code.

The new definition of literacy

Suzi Stef­fen pointed me to this post by Doug McLen­nan ear­lier. I like it. Doug writes,

I think the new lit­er­ate goes beyond words, and beyond mak­ing video and image and sound. I think code and meta-data are the new lit­er­acy, and that in turn leads to a new lit­er­ate­ness. Infor­ma­tion and ideas are multi-dimensional. Those who can take dynamic infor­ma­tion and mash it up and mix it and find cre­ative ways of pre­sent­ing it in ser­vice of ideas have the pos­si­bil­ity of com­mu­ni­cat­ing in more com­pelling ways than with just words or video or image.

He’s spot on. It reminds me of some­thing Matt said ear­lier this year in a Q&A ses­sion with Mem­burn. He said,

Script­ing is the new lit­er­acy, and the abil­ity to learn and exe­cute on your ideas with­out rely­ing on any­body else is going to be invalu­able as you iter­ate and exper­i­ment on build­ing some­thing. It’s good to build for your­self first, because in the worst-case sce­nario where no one else likes it, at least you will.

That type of individual-driven cre­ation and pub­li­ca­tion is some­thing schools still strug­gle to grasp. Our school sys­tem must move quickly to adopt new ideas of lit­er­acy beyond what’s traditional.

I par­tic­u­larly like that Doug pointed out it’s more than the act of cre­ation that makes for lit­er­acy. You need to do more than write, record, or pho­to­graph. A cre­ative form of pre­sen­ta­tion is an inher­ent part of his def­i­n­i­tion. Your abil­ity to use, mas­ter, and build those tools deter­mines how much you con­trol your path.


Just when I think I’ve wrapped up the changes to my site I real­ize that there’s a half dozen CSS and con­tent changes still left. It’s a process.

Post formats in WordPress

Ian Stew­art, of The­matic fame, gave a ter­rific pre­sen­ta­tion at Word­Camp San Fran­cisco about how to use post for­mats in your Word­Press theme. The video is now online and posted over at Theme­Shaper.

He’s also made all the slides avail­able to down­load if you want to save them for later reference.

If you’re look­ing to make your site more flex­i­ble and bet­ter able to han­dle var­i­ous types of con­tent I highly rec­om­mend watch­ing this all the way through. Great stuff.

Post for­mats sig­nif­i­cantly changed how I write and made a dig­i­tal com­mon­place book pos­si­ble. If you’re not using them on your site right now you’re really miss­ing out.


I was going to com­ment with Word­Press theme and code tips on a blog post today. Instead, the only option was Face­book com­ments with no fall­back. It makes no sense to me that you’d con­trol pub­li­ca­tion of your con­tent while simul­ta­ne­ously mak­ing inter­ac­tion with it con­tin­gent upon a sin­gle, cor­po­rate platform.

More photos and a reading list

I’ve meant to set up a photo blog for a while now. I made a quick photo theme a while back but it was really just a dirty hack of this theme and I never got around to set­ting it up. This time I decided to eat my dog food and set it up on WordPress.com.

This way I can use the iOS app even more and maybe ham­mer on post by email some as well. I got that set up last night so head on over and take a look.

I also have wanted to start track­ing more infor­ma­tion through my domain. I started off sim­ple by just writ­ing a basic read­ing list fea­ture into my theme. It’s a dig­i­tal book­shelf stream of sorts.

I’m hop­ing things like length of time read­ing and page count will, in aggre­gate, show some cool data after a year. I still have to fig­ure out how to track length with Kin­dle texts though.

There are some rough edges, author and genre pages for exam­ple, but I’ll clean up the loose ends and then make it all avail­able on the exist­ing Github project.