Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Treadmill desk as a software developer - 3 month

So we've been going on three months now. I'm able to walk about 30K (~14 miles) steps at least twice a week without feeling too bad. I've killed my tennis shoes that I bought during the summer, so I guess one side effect is that I'll be going through shoes much faster now.

Things I've noticed:

  • There was an online conference, that I was watching while I was working. This was great, but given that I was already switching between 2 engaging contexts, I didn't notice that I was walking, and I over did it again (37K steps, 2 days in a row before I noticed what was happening - I guess that means I'm getting better endurance). 
  • On the day that my fitbit battery died, I wasn't motivated to walk until it was charged. Apparently I definitely want my steps to "count" 
  • Grading my class assignments is MUCH more enjoyable while walking. Previously I could barely get through 1 without needing a break, now I can do them all in one "sitting"
  • There is a nice pile of dust, crumbs, etc that ends up on the mat at the back of the treadmill. 
  • I hardly ever sit down anymore at work. Although I do still stop and stretch occasionally. As I try to hit 30+K once or twice a week. 
  • I keep a set of hand weights on my desk for meetings, where I don't have to participate or take notes. 
Overall I've lost 12 lbs (fluctuating wildly as we go through Thanksgiving and the holidays :))

Still nothing but good things to say about the treadmill desk.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What I learned about coding from 5th graders

So today I was mentoring / volunteering for Kolter's Hour of Code ( and I got to observe 3 different 5th grade classes come through to try to program a visual game like Angry Birds or Lightbot.

Just for context, both of these games involved sequencing directional puzzle pieces to perform a task. For Angry birds, you would move the bird towards the pig, and for Lightbot, you'd move the robot along a grid lighting blue squares.

Not surprising nobody read the directions or prompts before diving right in. The part that I found interesting, was that very few would try to solve the problem in small steps.

Nearly every pair (they were pair programming.... woot!) whether they read the prompt or not, tried to solve the entire puzzle before hitting play. It of course wouldn't work. Then they'd throw nearly the whole thing away and create another complete solution, which also wouldn't work.

One of the things that I coached them on was to test often.... put down one or two commands and see where you are on the sequence. Basically to get faster feedback.

So I'm curious as to where in life do we learn that we have to solve the whole puzzle at once?