Posts about Technology

What Are You Building? Project Ideas for GC Alumni

April 1, 2019

When you’re learning how to code, at Grand Circus, we like to say that the most important thing in your control is the hours you put in for fingers-to-keyboard problem solving. Usually, this is where a lot of students and alum alike will nod in my direction and say “yeah, but WHAT should we be typing for all these hours” as in…give me a project to do.

Well, well, well….the day has come. Project ideas galore, coming your way:

Stuff to Get Practice Hours In:

These projects might not make it all the way to a portfolio site or be highlighted on your GitHub account for employers, but if you need more practice thinking through your problem-solving strategies, this is a good place to start.

  • Find a problem in your daily routine and solve it through code. Pretend you’re programming a robot to do that thing. Bonus points for adding in some audio that plays in a spooky 2001 A Space Odyssey kind of way.
  • What was the worst/hardest part of your last job? Improve it with code.
  • Build tic-tac-toe.
  • Build Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.
  • What’s your favorite app? Rebuild it just to see if you can.
  • Are you into Fantasy sports? Use some APIs to build the site for your league this year (even if it doesn’t get used).
  • Are you into D&D? Make an app to help your Dungeon Master keep track of all the things!
  • Make your own application for flashcards so you can study (or give it to someone so they can enter their own data and study themselves).
  • Build a Cypher to encode top secret messages!

Silly Things to Have Some Fun:

These projects might be a little funky or a little out there, but will give you an opportunity to break up the serious code monotony. They probably won’t make it to a portfolio site or be highlighted to employers, but will give you a chance to stretch those coding skills in a lighter direction.

  • Make a character generator for your favorite show.
  • Remember that game Bop-It? Make a code version of it that users can interact with. Bonus points if you can have multiple users play against one another.
  • Do you remember how in Space Jam the ultimate basketball players from various teams played against the MonStars? What if you used an API that pulled in sports player information and built a fantasy league to let users play against the MonStars? And based on certain information from that API and which players you chose, your likelihood to beat or lose to the MonStars changed? Just sayin’….
  • Make an application for karaoke-at-home – complete with scrolling text, playable audio, and the ability to choose your dream song. Make is spicy with some sort of challenge built in – maybe a song randomizer? Maybe text only and no backup tunes? Maybe tunes and only 50% of the text? Spicy!
  • Horoscopes are cool. What if you made a horoscope generator? Or a “best horoscope finder” that let you sift through several horoscopes until you found the one you liked the best?
  • Remember e-cards? What if you made an e-card generator that celebrated all those fake holidays (like National Pizza Day) and you could customize it with random pictures and actually send it to a friend?

Alright, buckle down now: The Good Stuff:

Beefy project starters that, built right and built well, could make it to your portfolio or GitHub for sharing with employers.

  • Rebuild your final project with a different framework.
  • Rebuild your final project with no framework. (WHAT?!?!)
  • Find a non-profit and solve a problem for them through code.
  • Contribute to something open sourced.

If this still wasn’t enough and you’re hankering for another jump – some more places to get those practice hours in:

Start Learning to Code for Free with Grand Circus

March 26, 2019

This blog post was guest written by Amanda Littleton, a digital marketer in Greater Grand Rapids.   

If you’ve been hesitant to learn code because you thought courses would be like stepping onto the set of Silicon Valley, then set that fear aside. There are no coding sprints where everyone in the room is frantically writing JavaScript against the clock. Grand Circus offers a free workshop that offers an encouraging learning environment for beginners. There’s no judgement, competition or intimidation at all.

At the Grand Circus Intro to Coding Workshop, staff does a great job of providing a relaxed atmosphere that makes beginners feel comfortable and equipped to learn. Regardless of experience, anyone that attends this workshop will walk away with knowing the fundamentals of code. (more…)

Introduction to GitHub (Video Series)

July 31, 2018

If you’re excited to be a programmer, you’ll need to know how to use version control.

Don’t know what version control is? Check out this blog post to learn more.

You’ll also want to learn the latest and greatest tools available to make you a more effective developer. Git and GitHub have transformed web-development workflow and made it a lot easier to collaborate. (more…)

Why Learn Programming?

March 14, 2018
Yasmine Grand Circus

Yasmine, a Junior JavaScript Instructor, shares her insights on why it’s important to learn programming

As a developer, I often get the question: “Why programming?”

During my days as a teacher, I rarely looked at a computer during the day, let alone actually use one to solve my daily problems. I found I was encouraging my students to be creative and make things every day, while not having the skills or ability myself to do the same.

When I became a programmer, I was finally able to gain the skills to be able to create things that tangibly solve problems people run into on a daily basis. Being able to create something from nothing is why I became a programmer, but there are many more reasons why someone should consider the career. Here are my top three reasons why you should! (more…)

Metro Detroit Companies Using Unity3D

December 4, 2017

Michigan’s augmented and virtual reality industry has a ton going on. The industry is changing the way we engage with customers, train manufacturing employers, interact with cars and so much more. We caught up with some of our friends in the industry to talk about what they’ve been working on. As we approach the early application deadline for our Unity3D bootcamp, we want students to get a real understanding of what’s possible with this technology. Check out this amazing work:

Five Michigan Companies Developing in Unity

Chameleon Power

Project by Chameleon Power

Chameleon Power specializes in using visualization software for businesses and consumers in manufacturers and retailers. From web tools to mobile apps, the company offers an array of services to companies such as Angie’s List, Empire Today, The Home Depot and more.  (more…)

What’s Up with Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality

September 7, 2017

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) don’t exist independently of each other.  Rather, both are points (or ranges) along a continuum. Augmented Reality is at one end (with low immersion, or high inclusion of physical reality) and Virtual Reality at the other end (with high immersion, or complete exclusion of physical reality).

Enhanced Reality

We may see the terms “Augmented” and “Virtual” Reality go away as more people gain experience with these technologies, and witness the overlap and connections between the two; we may see a term such as Enhanced Reality come into being as the entire spectrum with specific technologies clustering at different points along the spectrum.  Already some devices offer support for both, including the Michigan-based Immy Inc. whose headset includes an LCD panel to block vision for VR, or goes clear for Mixed Reality. (more…)

Virtual Reality vs. (or with) Augmented Reality

August 9, 2017

Virtual Reality and its relatives Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality are exciting, powerful technologies that have all gained a lot of attention in the past year. The question is, what do they all mean?

What are Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality?

Many people have not yet had an opportunity to try one or more of these technologies. There’s much overlap in these terms as well, which can make the learning process more confusing.

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Resolving Git Conflicts from the Command Line

September 8, 2016

One of the most challenging yet common activities development teams run into with Git is resolving merge conflicts. This happens when multiple developers are making changes in a repository at the same time.

This post provides a walkthrough of how to get through two typical Git conflict scenarios. To set the scene, Grant and I are two developers working on a simple web page. We’re starting out with two files, index.html and styles.css. Our repository is hosted at GitHub, and in this case we are both working directly on the master branch.

(more…)

7 Keys to Unlock Your Full Gmail Potential

September 2, 2016

These tips will make you the master of your inbox

Do unread messages make your skin crawl? Does the thought of setting up email filters make you break into a cold sweat? Did accidentally hitting ‘reply all’ send you into a mental tailspin? If you replied ‘YES!’ to any (or maybe all) of the above, you’re not alone.

With nearly 1 billion active users around the world, it’s safe to say that Gmail is one of the most popular email services out there. Google’s email powerhouse is relied upon by businesses, universities and everyday people. What is the reason for such widespread popularity you ask? With a killer mobile app and sensational plugins, features and settings, Gmail allows users to create an inbox experience that is unique to them. But true Gmail masters are few and far between. Such a feat takes years of careful practice, preparation and a borderline obsessive amount of labeling. No matter if you’re looking to become a Gmail deity or just looking to add a little extra productivity to your day, here are a few tips to help you tackle your inbox.

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