For the past week and a half, I’ve been working with an awesome Bloc cohort, guided by the awesome (sorry for the dearth of descriptive adjectives, here) Hani Sharabash. I read about Bloc for the first time from a post on Jared Tame’s Posterous that appeared on Hacker News, and I’m glad that I ventured to read it.
As it has turned out for me, Bloc has been much more than learning to program right.
Bloc is a promise: a promise to yourself and a promise made to you.
The promise to yourself is that you are committing to 8 weeks of self-empowerment, of realizing a dream, while learning to see through a project from beginning to end. And when I say beginning, I mean the very beginning. Some people in Bloc start off thinking of “programming” as still being the schedule of shows in the TV Guide (ok, perhaps a slight exaggeration).
The promise made to you is this: while you are at Bloc, you will learn to program. And you will do so in a context that is relevant to you. Each Bloc member must come up with a passion project at the beginning of the course, a “one idea” that keeps you up at night, whose current lack of existence drives you so mad that you want nothing but to make it exist from pure volition alone. And Bloc gives you a firm push toward making that happen. Not a slight push where you stumble a few steps forward - we’re talking a push where you’re on a razor scooter at the top of Lombard St and once you get going, you better stay on your feet or you’re eating shit in grand fashion on a precipitously sloped San Francisco road.
I am beyond grateful for the people at Bloc. Immediately upon my acceptance to the program, I was being talked to on Twitter by fellow classmates, emailed by instructors who weren’t even leading my cohort, and contacted by people who weren’t a part of the course but were interested in learning about the kind of success that Bloc offered.
And that’s the real value of Bloc: realizing, from the get-go, that you’re part of a community. If you’re having a rough time understanding something, you have your instructors and your classmates at your side. You have 1 on 1s with your mentor when you need them the most so you can trudge through a sticky spot in understanding. You have an obscene array of resources at your disposal: books, documentation, posts from classmates, and online quizzes & exercises, aggregated and curated by your Bloc instructor, reaffirming all of the techniques you’re working through daily. Bloc reminds its students about the people behind programming. Because at the end of day, when you’re staring at your computer screen and wondering why you’re working so hard, you’re reminded that you’re doing this to share something awesome with others, too. You want to create and empower people with your creations in the same way that programming is slowly but surely empowering you to do awesome things, too. Bloc offers you context, a holistic understanding of building a web application.
It’s a Bloc Party, y’all. And the people at the party are some of the best I’ve met.
All of the news regarding the potential 4 inch display on the new iPhone reminded me of this post from Patently Apple that I read awhile back. The patent describes a use for a “smart bezel”, in which the bezel of the iPhone acts as a secondary/auxiliary display, potentially to add extra controls for gaming and/or productivity purposes.
If you look at the current iPhone (4S), this kind of functionality would be limited because the bezel is comparatively very small. There is not a lot of room for auxiliary buttons. If you’ll notice in the mockup above, there is considerable room above the home button, definitely more than that which is on the current model of the phone (photo below for comparison). Apple’s surprise factor has been significantly reduced in past years with increased contacts by media to suppliers in order to get ahead on predictions of hardware. But what if they have something in mind that could really throw a curveball? Some people, such as Marco Arment, have discussed (on his show Build and Analyze) how the extra screen real estate wouldn’t be particularly helpful to remedying some of the largest constraints of the iPhone’s screen, such as it’s ability to display and navigate photos. For that, argues Arment, it would need both a longer and wider screen to accommodate more space to show off photos. (Back to my views) But then it runs the risk of getting into the ridiculous sizes of some of the Android phones, in particular phones like the Samsung Galaxy note which is basically a mini tablet marketed as a phone.
I think Apple has bigger plans for this longer screen, assuming it does become a reality. It would accommodate an intriguing patent such as this, and throw a curveball into their design reasoning that I have yet to see mentioned in the tech press. I’m interested to see if the 4 inch display happens, and if so, what ends up being the benefit to its existence.
“UPDATE: I’m not sure what Businessweek’s headline means, though: “Apple, the Other Cult in Hollywood”. I think they’re comparing Apple to Scientology, but who the hell knows.”
(Source: The New York Times)
Hilarious descriptions of archetypal instagram photos. Sure, it’s mocked the fuck out of types of photos I’ve taken, too. But I mean, what doesn’t get skewered on the internet these days. Plus, these are hilarious.
John Gruber, commenting on why he thinks the Android may still be showing a “greater market share growth” than the iPhone
I love when Gruber’s a dick