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C'est la Z

A Quick Pinebook Pro update

Since posting about my new Pinebook Pro I've gotten a few questions as it pertains to teaching CS so I thought I'd give a quick update. In terms of software here's what I've actually gotten working: libreoffice (comes preinstalled) C/C++ toolchain (manjaro package install) Java (manjaro package install) Emacs (built from scratch and manjaro install) NetLogo (had to customize the startup script as per the NetLogo FAQ) Racket (had to compile from source) I've also heard the VSCode works with no issues.
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Pinebook Pro - an $200 Linux Laptop

I'm writing this on my new Pinebook Pro - a $200 ARM based Linux laptop. The Pinebook Pro comes from the Pine64 project. As you could figure out, they do the Pine64 which is similar to a Raspberry Pi and they've got some cool projects. In addition to the Pinebook pro they've also got the Pine Tab and Pine Phone and more. Now, you're not going to be able to go to their site and say "I need 30 of these for my class" - at least not for the Pinebook pro but it is a pretty cool proof of concept and hobbyist machine and it shows that we could have affordable devices for our schools and less afluent students.
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Teachers and Police

Teachers and Police It's been an ugly few days but perhaps in some ways a hopeful few as people have been making their voices heard like never before in my lifetime. We've seen and endless stream of videos of peaceful protest and far too many instances of police officers overstepping their bounds. I keep hearing about violent protesters but those videos seem to be avoiding my feeds as are the videos of law enforcement going after the looters who are a separate group from the protestors.
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Before condemning try walking in their shoes

I've got some CS Ed stuff I want to write but can't bring myself to writing about it today. I rarely post outside of my wheelhouse - CS, Education and the intersection of the two. I don't really think I'm qualified to say much about the current crisis. The out of control police, racism, class warfare, a failed government not only at the federal level but also in New York city and state but maybe I can share something worthwhile from my narrow experiences.
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Pro Version Or Education Version

I woke up to this tweet by Mark Guzdial today:#pro-version-or ed-version.org# An indication that CS Ed in US high schools is about vocational training: 2 (of 5) recommended sessions at the @csteachersorg conference are on Github and Agile. Is @CSforAll a Silicon Valley jobs program? https://t.co/n8ugnmTU84 — Mark Guzdial (@guzdial) May 28, 2020 This led to a lively discussion throughout the day with lots of likes and lots of comments.
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Future consequences of today's grading policies

How are we going to deal with grades? This has garnered a lot of attention since COVID-19 struck. Over on the AP side people wonder if colleges will give credit? Do the tests mean anything? What about the material they won't be testing? We also have had standardized tests canceled and a variety of grading policies. I'm going to stay away from AP this time around - you all know my feelings about the college board.
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Zoom alternatives that aren't from MicroGoogle

As we scrambled to move online in March we used what we knew, what we heard of and what we were allowed. This usually meant Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. I settled on Zoom. It worked and worked pretty well. There were a few things I felt they could improve on but given that Zoom wasn't designed as a teaching tool I've been pretty happy with it. Now that the emergency rush has passed we have time to see if there are some better alternatives.
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Using Emacs 72 - Customizing Elfeed

I made this video write after I made the openwith one so even though I don't mention anything in this video, I wanted to share some updates on dired and openwith. I got a lot of suggestions on alternate ways to achieve the workflow I was seeking - being able to open a file using an external viewer. One person noted that under newer versions of Emacs, the W key is bound to the command (browse-url-of-dired-file) which does exactly what I wanted.
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More thoughts on debugging

Yesterday's post on errors led to some interesting discussion over on Facebook. Specifically on teaching students to use a debugger. My contention is that while it's easy to demonstrate a debugger it's hard to get student buy in. In my CS0, we start with Thonny which has a great integrated debugger. In my CS1 I also show and use gdb. Regardless of my approach the subset of students who actively end up using the debugger has remained both constant and small.
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Errors Are Hard To Find

Programming is amazing. You get the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It's a great feeling when you write something and it works - even it it's small and simple. It also feels good to hunt down, discover and eliminate subtle bugs in our code. On the other hand, I'll frequently feel like a bozo when I pour over my code for days only to find a super silly error.
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