Posts about Technology

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.


5 Michigan Companies that use .NET

August 4, 2016


At Grand Circus, we know that people want to know where they’ll be able to use their skills once the bootcamp is over. One of the awesome things about learning .NET at Grand Circus is that there are lots of local companies that use this framework every day right in our own neighborhood. Here’s a brief sample of a few companies that use .NET where bootcamp graduates could possibly work.

Quicken Loans

Located just down the road from Grand Circus, Quicken Loans is an online mortgage lender that employs hundreds of developers. Quicken Loans was recently listed as one of the top 5 places to work in America by Forbes. The company has a large development team, so there are tons of seasoned developers to learn from as bootcamp graduates grow in their careers. Dozens of Grand Circus alumni currently work for Quicken Loans in a variety of positions—everything from interns to software developers!


My Top 5 Tools for Building Websites

April 7, 2016

You know that a website is made with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Maybe you even know how to write in all three of those languages and put them together into a site, but something’s missing. Developers are supposed to be lazy, right? If all you’re using is plain old HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build more than the very simplest of projects, you’re doing too much work. Tools help us use solutions that already exist for common problems every developer faces. They let us strip out a lot of “coding overhead” and get down to the nitty gritty of actually writing our apps.

5 tools for building websites

Five great tools for building websites:


Preparing For Your First Tech Talk

January 5, 2016

We’re taught to believe that there is a logical progression when it comes to our careers, that there are just certain things you can’t do in entry-level positions. One of those things is undoubtedly speaking at conferences. Conference speakers, in this collective narrative, are subject matter experts with years and years of experience under their belts. They know their stuff better than just about anyone. I’m here to tell you that, at least in tech, this isn’t always the case. You can start speaking like a developer quite early on in your career!

Aisha Blake Speaking at a Conference (more…)

From Apps to Board Games: Useful Resources for Teaching Kids to Code

December 29, 2015

It’s never too soon to teach your kids to code! Introducing basic programming skills can be challenging if you yourself are new to coding. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources both online and off that parents can share with their kids to help them begin learning about programming. Learning to code won’t just benefit your child’s future, it will also teach them skills like problem solving, strategy, creativity, and cooperation that they can use right now. Plus, it’s fun! The following resources are for preschoolers through teens and they will all get your kids thinking about the type of logic used in coding and the basics of programming. So check out these resources to teach your kids to code!

Kids learning how to code


LEGO Mindstorms – This series of kits contains hardware and software to build customizable, programmable robots targeted at middle school aged kids but also popular with adults. Perhaps the first toys ever to teach kids programming basics. (more…)

5 Reasons to Be Excited for the New Windows 10

November 23, 2015

After a long wait, Windows 10 came to save the day! The controversial Windows 8 design decision of eliminating the Start Menu made many long time Windows users unhappy. Windows 10 designers put it back along, with many more new exciting features. Wondering what all the hoopla is about and why you should download the update? Why am I excited about Windows 10?

Here are five reasons to be excited about the Windows 10 features:

1. The Comeback of the Start Menu:
The iconic Start menu is back in Windows 10 to its rightful place, the lower left corner, as we got used to before Windows 8. Now the start menu is way cooler than before, as it incorporates desktop applications, Live tiles, and other shortcuts to popular PC software, and the good thing about all of this is that it is customizable!

Return of the Windows Start Menu

Courtesy of Windows


Code Retreat: A Day to Practice Clean Code

October 14, 2015

One of the ideals we strive for and try to impart to our students at Grand Circus is clean code. Clean code is a broad topic deserving it’s own series of posts, but in brief, code is clean if it exhibits all of the following characteristics:

  • Passes all tests (you are writing tests right?)
  • Is as simple as it can be (KISS)
  • Does not repeat itself (It’s DRY)
  • Focused (functions and classes do one thing only)

Our Front-End Bootcamp practicing clean code at our coderetreat

That’s a lot, I know. As I said, clean code is a big topic. That’s why we spend a lot of time talking about refactoring code to a cleaner solution. Often your first pass at a solution is ‘sub-optimal’ which is a polite way of saying it smells. But that’s okay, writing code is like writing an essay. You make a first pass then you start editing (or refactoring in our case). Labs and projects are not always the best places to practice refactoring in a focused way because the stated goal is to get something working and having something that works is not always the same as having a solution that is clean. (more…)