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Where to set up a development environment for personal projects?

I'm working on some personal full-stack projects and trying to figure out what my options are for setting up a development environment. For work stuff, I'm used to deploying a dev environment on a machine inside the corporate firewall and then either VPNing or SSHing in to work on it remotely, but I'm not sure what the best choice is for personal projects. [more inside]
posted by asterix on Jun 25, 2013 - 7 answers

Help me find a website: mash your keyboard and lines of code appear

That's about it - it was a one-trick website with a programming version of Guitar Hero, where you would mash your keyboard and lines of code would appear in that rhythm. Help?
posted by sixswitch on Jun 22, 2013 - 3 answers

Small Erlang: An answer looking for a problem

What are some practical, small (meaning not necessarily enterprise scale) uses for Erlang? [more inside]
posted by ignignokt on Jun 18, 2013 - 5 answers

Endgame tools for a cyclist trying to bike down every street in a city?

For the past year I've been trying to bike down every street in St Louis. In the beginning this was easy and wide-open and fun. The middle has been less so. Now, sitting at ≈65% completion [map: zoomable | 1.5mb png | GPX] my current approach has become overwhelming and tedious, and is no longer working; I need to get way smarter about this. How would a programmer, a mathematician, or a GIS/transit specialist approach this endgame, and what tools/software would he/she use? [more inside]
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj on Jun 13, 2013 - 10 answers

A change of scenery would be nice

I'm in a pretty miserable job and I'm trying to get another gig. A yearlong job hunt hasn't really been fruitful, so I'm trying to branch out. What else should I be looking for? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 12, 2013 - 9 answers

=== JavaScript is actually not that ugly. ===

I'd like to learn basic CoffeeScript for a one-off project, but most of the books I've seen come from the perspective of the JS developer making the leap to CS. JS is ubiquitous and will no doubt come in handy in many more situations. What is a good pocket library of 3-4 books for someone new to JS and front-end web dev stuff, but not new to programming concepts? (For example, my C pocket library is K&R, Deep C secrets, and C: A Reference Manual. I know that the front-end web world is a lot richer than C-world, but do what you can to help me.)
posted by Nomyte on Jun 12, 2013 - 5 answers

Where do I start with iOS/Android native app development?

Currently a Microsoft developer looking to expand my horizons into the world of mobile native application development. I've ready quite a bit regarding the debate between native and non-native apps (PhoneGap vs. native iOS vs. native Android vs. Titanium vs. other frameworks). I'd like to take a stab at getting my feet wet with Objective-C and iOS first. Where do I start? [more inside]
posted by MMALR on Jun 10, 2013 - 6 answers

What should I bid to implement a fairly simple Python scheduling system?

Tomorrow morning I'm meeting with someone to talk about implementing a local scheduling/database application. Most everything I know about the project suggests it's something I could do in my sleep. Thing is, I desperately need the money, I don't know how much to "bid," and I have a long history of undervaluing my work. How much should I ask for? [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 10, 2013 - 21 answers

Finding an over-the-phone "tutor" for ASP.NET

Does anyone have any suggestions about finding an over-the-phone "tutor" for ASP.NET -- someone whom I can bug throughout the day with simple 5 minute questions e.g. "what's the best way to update multiple tables on insert from an ASPxGridView?". [more inside]
posted by tomargue on Jun 6, 2013 - 8 answers

Extracting Data from SEC's EDGAR system: How (w/o XBRL)

Trying to run some value-investing analyses, and running into a huge roadblock. I want to extract SEC filings (via the EDGAR database) on a daily basis and have the data inserted into a MySQL database. I'm basically looking at forms 10-Q, 10-k, DEF-14a, and forms 3, 4, and 5. After the initial set-up, I'd only need to d/l forms that have changed (via change of timestamp, I'm assuming). [more inside]
posted by NYC-BB on Jun 4, 2013 - 6 answers

tech recruiter for a phd?

I'm lacking direction in my job hunt. Can you recommend a specific tech recruiter? [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on May 28, 2013 - 5 answers

How does one become Tony Stark? (the Engineer, not the Iron Man)

If you were starting with no applicable background, no engineering degree, nothing except for a lot of free time and a moderate amount of money to spend, how would you become Tony Stark? No limits on time, whether it's 6 months or 60 years, how would you go from Joe the VCR clock programmer to Tony the Engineer? [more inside]
posted by walka on May 26, 2013 - 21 answers

I want to analyse a lot of satellite imagery at once.

I want to analyse a whole bunch of satellite imagery at the same time, and I'm not sure my usual tools (GDAL, R, Python) are adequate for the job. [more inside]
posted by stinker on May 26, 2013 - 7 answers

Have Users Change a Running Python Script's Variables over the Web?

I'm writing a simple simulator with python and I would like to be able to have my users log in to the simulator over the internet and change their own set of variables. [more inside]
posted by millerizer on May 22, 2013 - 14 answers

What is a good programming tool for developing RPG games?

I want to develop an RPG game based on a non-popular, out of print tabletop RPG - the game I'm developing will be for PC/Mac/(possibly mobile). So far, I'm looking into RPG Maker, which seems to be able to fit the bill most appropriately. I've also looked at Titanium for developing mobile games, but this seems like it's not necessarily a good fit for just hitting the ground running. Any ideas are welcome - priorities are that the system is flexible for development and is easy to begin with (I'm cool with advanced features, but don't want to have to hack the system in order to merely start bringing my ideas to fruition).
posted by jibberish on May 19, 2013 - 6 answers

PL/SQL resourse for folks mostly familiar with C-based OOP languages

I feel like the best way for me to improve my very basic understanding of PL/SQL would be a book or website designed for an audience of programmers who know Java or C# or VB.NET. Is there such a thing? [more inside]
posted by kitcat on May 16, 2013 - 6 answers

Outlook and VBA

How to make Outlook automatically change the "From:" field when replying to certain emails? [more inside]
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man on May 13, 2013 - 5 answers

Looking for examples of beautiful programming cheat sheets

I have an urge to make a series of cheat sheets for a project that currently lacks them (the Grails web framework, if anyone's interested) and am looking for design inspiration. It's easy to find cheat sheets online, but most of them are (perfectly functional!) variations on zebra-striped tables. Googling for "well-designed cheat sheets" and similar gives results that contain cheat sheets for designers - I am looking for examples of well-designed cheat sheets that use color, typefaces etc. in a way that's information-dense but also pleasing to the eye. If anybody has links to examples of cheat sheets (for programming languages or otherwise), please leave a comment.
posted by primer_dimer on May 10, 2013 - 4 answers

I can FizzBuzz! Where do I go from here?

I am teaching myself how to program. But there seems to be a big gap between intro courses/resources (CodeCademy, O'Reilly books, Learn X the Hard Way) and Actually Doing Things. Help me figure out a road plan? [more inside]
posted by Phire on May 6, 2013 - 16 answers

The Travelling Programmer

I'd like to travel the world for a few years and work on some iOS app ideas at the same time, with the hope that if one of 'em makes enough money I can keep doing it forever! However, I reckon hostels probably aren't the most productive places in the world. Have any of you ever done something like this? What's the best approach for getting in the zone and being productive when you're on the go and surrounded by people? Are coffeehouse programmers as common in Europe as they are in the Silicon Valley? What about work-life balance -- is it possible to maintain a healthy hostel social life while also getting stuff done? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you!
posted by anonymous on May 5, 2013 - 10 answers

Lost in the loops

Programming question: I'm looking for recommendations for some kind of visualization tool to help me stay organized within complex nested loops and if statements. [more inside]
posted by Cat Pie Hurts on Apr 25, 2013 - 12 answers

What are the prerequisites to learn HTML5?

I am a beginner in information technology, and I need to learn HTML5. For me to start learning HTML5, I need to know what languages/codes that I should know to start working in HTML5. I know HTML5 are used for webpages, mobile, games, and others. For example, I knew that I should be familiar with CSS3 So what are other basic information and skills needed to learn before starting with HTML5? Thanks
posted by omaralarifi on Apr 25, 2013 - 9 answers

Should I list my freelance programming work on my resume?

I'm applying for jobs as a programmer and I'm wondering whether to list the freelance programming work I've done. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 22, 2013 - 9 answers

What are all these programming languages good for?

Ruby, Python, PHP, JavaScript, etc! Help me bring my very outdated coding skills back from the grave! Can anyone either explain or point me to a good resource that explains concisely why I'd want to use one programming language vs another? [more inside]
posted by Guernsey Halleck on Apr 18, 2013 - 29 answers

Managing Multiple Versions?

I'm looking for best-practices for managing multiple versions of the same C# code which are *almost* the same, but not quite. [more inside]
posted by AzraelBrown on Apr 16, 2013 - 9 answers

Talk to me programmers!

Is it worth changing careers, getting a masters in CS? [more inside]
posted by nel on Apr 12, 2013 - 17 answers

GPS: Common knowledge?

Are there any published studies / figures about what percentage of smartphone users know what GPS is (i.e., do smartphone users know GPS determines your precise location)? Bonus question: do they know it's a battery drainer? [more inside]
posted by Vampire Cat on Apr 10, 2013 - 5 answers

What is the best programming language for the job?

For a personal project I'm working on, what would be the best programming language if I wanted the user to be able to input some text and image choices and have them receive the information back in an eBook? I've used PHP before to store and retrieve that information, but I'm not sure it could handle the conversion to an ebook. [more inside]
posted by Dynex on Apr 9, 2013 - 6 answers

Should I attend App Academy?

Should I attend App Academy? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 29, 2013 - 8 answers

Is there a strategy game with a ret-conned API to it?

For basically my whole teen-to-adult life I have wanted to write AI for video games as a hobby. Mostly games of the overhead strategy type, think Red Alert, Warcraft (not World Of), Starcraft and so forth. [more inside]
posted by RustyBrooks on Mar 27, 2013 - 6 answers

Advice for a female getting into programming as 2nd career?

I'd like to help my friend look into a career in programming. Best way to do it? [more inside]
posted by lattiboy on Mar 21, 2013 - 25 answers

Help me create a 10 hour coding project to assess contractors for hire

I'm trying to hire a full time coder for my business. I build, maintain, and remodel my own portfolio of websites (PHP, JS, WP, HTML, CSS, MySQL, etc). Once I have a few candidates I would like to assign them all the same small (paid) project so that I may assess their abilities. What should the test include? All candidates will be US-Based. $6000/mo budget cap. [more inside]
posted by Th!nk on Mar 20, 2013 - 5 answers

What programming language should I learn in order to freelance?

This Fall I will be starting a PhD in the social sciences. Because of my research interests/subfield, I will have to know the ins and outs of statistical software like R, Stata, and SAS. Can this knowledge enable me to freelance for some supplemental income or should I being learning another programming language? [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Mar 19, 2013 - 13 answers

Using grep to extract x characters of text after a predictable pattern

I'm trying to work out how to use something like grep or sed or awk (or maybe even some Perl) to extract a string of characters which appears in a predictable place in a series of text files. Help/advice/tutorials very welcome! [more inside]
posted by infinitejones on Mar 15, 2013 - 8 answers

Attribute trouble when instantiating a class in Python 2.7

I'm having maddening problems creating objects in Python. Details inside [more inside]
posted by COBRA! on Mar 13, 2013 - 2 answers

How do I go about hiring someone to build a mobile app?

Where and how can I hire someone in the U.S. (or India or any other country with these skills) to write a mobile app for me? I'm aware of websites like elance and odesk where programmers bid for work. What's the cost range for this type of quality work? [more inside]
posted by KimikoPi on Mar 5, 2013 - 8 answers

What is the current status of Django?

Is Django still widely used by software developers? [more inside]
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth on Mar 5, 2013 - 9 answers

Help a programmer take care of her eyes, please.

I just started my first developer job. I squint at the computer screen all day. By the end of the day, my eyes are red and bloodshot. I can't deal with small text, but I can't make it all bigger - for instance, I can change the size of the code in my IDE, but not the debugger. I've reduced the brightness of my monitors dramatically. The only time my eyes don't hurt is when I'm so absorbed in my work that I don't notice. By the end of the day, I don't want to focus my eyesight on anything; it's even killing me to type this. Even watching tv bothers me. I seriously don't know how to take care of my eyes. Can you please offer some advice, and even give me a few horror stories about what happens to people who don't learn to take care of their eyes? [more inside]
posted by kitcat on Mar 5, 2013 - 31 answers

developing a new document format: how to start?

i have a need for a new document format. This document format would be novel, bringing together various kinds of media (text, code, vector and raster image formats, and maybe others) together in one container. These pieces would all have specific relation to one another, as defined by the creator of the document. I know that no document format exists to do what I want to do, and I'd like to develop it - by myself, at first, until I get a handle on the basics of the problem. [more inside]
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike on Mar 5, 2013 - 9 answers

Summer (Winter?) of Code

I'm hoping to find short (2 month-ish to 6 month-ish) full-time, in-person programs that teach practical computer programming skills (Ruby, Python, iOS, PHP, R, Matlab, etc.) [more inside]
posted by carolinaherrera on Mar 4, 2013 - 5 answers

Please explain to me how Drupal's API works

I'm trying to build a form in Drupal 7 using examples like this but all I've been able to figure out is that I make my own module and... then what? How does the module actually become a form? I feel like I'm missing some huge part of the concept here and Drupal's documentation is either too simple or too advanced. What am I not getting? Thanks MeFi! [more inside]
posted by reductiondesign on Mar 4, 2013 - 8 answers

What's the deal with programming author Yashavant Kanetkar?

This comment in a Hacker News thread introduced me to Yashavant Kanetkar. Apparently his C programming books are the worst of the worst. Yet somehow, the Indian education system uses his books pervasively. I tried to find out more about this guy and the controversy around him, but web searches turned up a flat nothing. Anyone read his books or know about the story?
posted by scose on Mar 3, 2013 - 2 answers

How to store mathematical expressions as binary tree objects in Python

For a project, I need to store mathematical expressions as binary tree objects in Python, with each operator or operand being stored as a node. But I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around it; partly because this is my first real dive into the object-oriented pool and the specific nuts and bolts seem a little bit out of my reach. [more inside]
posted by COBRA! on Mar 3, 2013 - 17 answers

CompSci/CompLit: Anyone have links to interesting "poetry" generators?

I've found this (see more here), which seems to be defunct (links to the "generator" are 404), and this, which is less than satisfying. Here in the age of alleged "robot authors" I'm hoping to do better. Any leads, anyone? [more inside]
posted by Broccoli Bear on Mar 3, 2013 - 8 answers

I want to see what my code is doing

I am taking an entry-level college class in programming. We are using Javascript "playground" that works within a web browser. I am a visual learner and the textbook and exercises are useless to me. We're only six weeks in and I'm in the weeds. Is there a tool that shows what exactly is happening at each step in the Javascript code? [more inside]
posted by crosten on Feb 27, 2013 - 15 answers

Now you have n problems.

"Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll use %s' Now they have %d problems." How many variations on this joke do you know?
posted by ecmendenhall on Feb 26, 2013 - 19 answers

How can I practice coding? (PS How can I tell if I suck at it?)

I'm pretty much a Kindergarten level Python learner. Basically, I'm on Exercise 41 in Learn Python the Hard Way (and confused), and I'm in a 100-level class learning Python. I am not a math person, although I do like formal logic (if that means anything). My biggest problem is that I think I try to solve problems too creatively, i.e. I always try the most complicated/convoluted solution possible, which is usually wrong. [more inside]
posted by lhude sing cuccu on Feb 22, 2013 - 17 answers

Wanted: WordPress website tutorial

What are the best online resources to guide me in developing a website using WordPress? [more inside]
posted by braemar on Feb 21, 2013 - 8 answers

How do you know if you are a good programmer?

I was a comp sci major in college. That was 12 years ago. I graduated and as careers often do, I never programmed seriously again since... until now. I've spent the last 2 years teaching myself LAMP and jquery. It was like riding a bicycle. The data structures theory and other small things I managed to retain from my comp sci courses proved useful and in a very short amount of time I was able to rebrand myself a programmer. It's much easier and faster to create powerful, useful software these days than it was 12 years ago. Thing is though, and I imagine a lot of developers do this, the internet has made me more of a code aggregator than a programmer. I have 4 windows open at all times: coding window, app window, the jquery API and stackoverflow.com. Whatever I don't know how to do, I find very quickly on stackoverflow. I copy and paste the code directly and modify it as needed. Done. But I want to be better than that. I follow the general rules of good programming practice as much as I can... don't repeat yourself, be efficient, make your code neat, clean and easy to read. Without having a mentor or a guru around you, how would you know whether or not you are a good programmer or if you are a total hack???
posted by postergeist on Feb 19, 2013 - 19 answers

How to go from good software engineer to God of the Code?

(Java-flavored question) I have work colleagues who can explain how and when the JVM inlines code, or when implicit constructors are made / called based on the access level of global variables. They can think through code like the compiler thinks. How do I get to that level? [more inside]
posted by blahtsk on Feb 13, 2013 - 16 answers

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