Adopt-a-Hydrant — Code for America

Adopt-a-HydrantOverviewAdopt-a-hydrant allows citizens to claim responsibility for shoveling out fire hydrants after heavy snowfall.


Adopt-a-hydrant allows citizens to claim responsibility for shoveling out fire hydrants after heavy snowfall.


Live http://adoptahydrant.orgCodebase Ruby on Rails with Postgres databaseRedeploy Use the code in the Github repository or DOBT’s hosted Adopta.Contact us to deploy this appIn the midst of winter snowstorms, buried hydrants cause dangerous delays for fire fighters. But having City of Boston employees check and clear thousands of hydrants would be a timely, costly and burdensome process.Adopt-a-Hydrant lets governments look to community members for help. This map-based web app allows individuals, small businesses and community organizations to volunteer in shoveling out specific hydrants.

via Adopt-a-Hydrant — Code for America.

Computer Programming Is a Trade; Lets Act Like It – WSJ

The most intensive schools, like Seattle-based Code Fellows, are so sure they can get students work they will refund a students tuition—$12,000 for 16 blitzkrieg weeks to get a person from zero to trained—if that person doesnt get a job.Whats going on here isnt complicated: There is an enormous mismatch between the supply and demand for computer programmers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020, one million programming jobs in the U.S. will go unfilled. And traditional institutions, which largely treat introductory computer-science classes as barrier courses designed to weed out all but the most committed students, are demonstrably not meeting the need. This year, the University of Washington could accommodate only a quarter of the qualified students who applied to its computer science major. And this is happening at schools across the country, most of which have seen hockey-stick growth in applications to both be computer-science majors and to take individual courses in recent years.Fortunately, it turns out that a computer-science degree isnt necessary to get a job in programming. Fourteen percent of the members of some teams at Google dont have a college degree, and 67% of the programming jobs in the U.S. are at nontech companies where other kinds of industry experience are more likely to be valued.Computer programming, in other words, has become a trade. Like nursing or welding, its something in which a person can develop at least a basic proficiency within weeks or months. And once budding coders learn enough to get their first jobs, they get onto the same path to upward mobility offered to their in-demand, highly paid peers.Take Facebook FB -0.87% : The first thing that happens to a new engineer there is six weeks of intensive classes, many of which are—you guessed it—programming classes. This is in part because university courses in computer science favor theory over programming, which is a mishmash of skills ranging from practical knowledge of in-vogue programming languages to how to work on projects that involve dozens of other programmers and thousands or even millions of lines of code.Coding schools, online and otherwise, let everyone from recent high-school graduates to career switchers skip straight to the part where they learn how to make the things companies actually care about—websites, services and apps.That is not to dismiss the value of a computer-science degree or even a college education—if a student can afford it. But now that student-loan debt in the U.S. has swelled to a record $1.2 trillion, many clearly cannot.

via Computer Programming Is a Trade; Lets Act Like It – WSJ.

Is Coding the New Literacy? | Showing Kids the Why of Learning to Program

Adopt-a-Hydrant after cutbacks slashed his budget, and now Honolulu has Adopt-a-Siren, where volunteers can sign up to check for dead batteries in tsunami sirens across the city. In Oakland, its Adopt-a-Drain.

Sounds great, right? These simple software solutions could save lives, and they were cheap and quick to build. Unfortunately, most cities will never get a CFA team, and most cant afford to keep a stable of sophisticated programmers in their employ, either. For that matter, neither can many software companies in Silicon Valley; the talent wars have gotten so bad that even brand-name tech firms have been forced to offer employees a bonus of upwards of $10,000 if they help recruit an engineer.In fact, even as the Department of Labor predicts the nation will add 1.2 million new computer-science-related jobs by 2022, were graduating proportionately fewer computer science majors than we did in the 1980s, and the number of students signing up for Advanced Placement computer science has flatlined.Code.orgTheres a whole host of complicated reasons why, from boring curricula to a lack of qualified teachers to the fact that in most states computer science doesnt count toward graduation requirements. But should we worry? After all, anyone can learn to code after taking a few fun, interactive lessons at sites like Codecademy, as a flurry of articles in everything from TechCrunch to Slate have claimed. Michael Bloomberg pledged to enroll at Codecademy in 2012. Twelve million people have watched a video from in which celebrities like NBA All-Star Chris Bosh and pledged to spend an hour learning code, a notion endorsed by President Obama, who urged the nation: “Dont just play on your phone—program it.”

So you might be forgiven for thinking that learning code is a short, breezy ride to a lush startup job with a foosball table and free kombucha, especially given all the hype about billion-dollar companies launched by self-taught wunderkinds with nary a mention of the private tutors and coding camps that helped some of them get there. The truth is, code—if what were talking about is the chops youd need to qualify for a programmer job—is hard, and lots of people would find those jobs tedious and boring.

But lets back up a step: What if learning to code werent actually the most important thing? It turns out that rather than increasing the number of kids who can crank out thousands of lines of JavaScript, we first need to boost the number who understand what code can do. As the cities that have hosted Code for America teams will tell you, the greatest contribution the young programmers bring isnt the software they write. Its the way they think. Its a principle called “computational thinking,” and knowing all of the Java syntax in the world wont help if you cant think of good ways to apply it.

via Is Coding the New Literacy? | Mother Jones.

The Guy Behind Garbage Pail Kids Has Been Cartooning With Code for 20 Years | Design | WIRED

John Pound lives in Eureka, California. He’s either 62 or 63–he can’t remember at the moment–and he’s been a cartoonist his whole life. The first half of his career was traditional,

insofar as any career in weirdo art and underground comics can be traditional. He sketched and inked and colored by hand. He made the annual pilgrimage to Comic-Con, back in the days where it was still concerned with comics. In 1984, he collaborated with comics legend Art Spiegelman on the first run of Garbage Pail Kids cards for Topps, painting 40 gross characters in 40 exhausting days. But in the late 1980s, the purchase of his first computer, an Amiga, set Pound’s artistic pursuits on a slightly different course. He started checking out other people’s computer art and got to wondering what his new machine could do for a cartoonist. Eventually, he became smitten with the idea of creating a program that could automatically generate comics for him. The dream has kept him busy for the better part of three decades. Today, he’s generating striking, randomly generated compositions by the hundreds, none of which look anything like what the art we’ve come to expect from computer code.

via The Guy Behind Garbage Pail Kids Has Been Cartooning With Code for 20 Years | Design | WIRED.