Finding Motivation

I’m still working on preparing for my first position as a software engineer. I don’t feel like I know enough to land a job as a developer so I’m trying to study and practice. I’ve found that some weeks I’ll study everyday and sometimes several weeks go by with only good intentions and no real effort. So I decided to learn some more Python when I finish my current study in C++. I’m most familiar with C++ but still hesitate to say I’d be able to pass a coding interview with it.

I’d like to learn about artificial intelligence and machine learning. I think that’s a small enough field that I should be able to focus my efforts and see progress. While looking up ways to learn Python I ran into this article What are motivation and implementation intention?

It says the motivation is the “why” and implementation intention is the “how”. So, while I have low motivation sometimes I think the real problem is that I don’t know “how” to get the skills I need. Maybe because i’m not sure what I really need to know.

I think I need to talk to some of the devs at work and see what they think I’d need to know to start with one of their teams.

Why I want to become a developer

I’ve always loved computers. My parents bought an Atari 800XL in the mid 80s and I remember them bringing it home. I saw all these large boxes and watched curiously as my dad started to unbox it. I had never seen a computer before and was fascinated by all the parts. I don’t remember the assembly process but I remember seeing it work for the first time. The first application I saw was a cartridge based word processor. But after that, I got to play games. Moon Patrol, Defender, Pac-Man, and a few others. I spent every moment I was allowed to, glued to that machine. I remember magazines with columns and columns of code. I’d diligently typed in page after page of Basic or even machine code with no real concept of what I’d end up with when I was done. I think the only program I typed in that I actually got working was a snake game where you get longer as you eat apples and avoid running into your tail. That was the start.

Continue reading “Why I want to become a developer”


The following topics should be explored and turned into blog posts as you gain understanding sufficient to teach others. I will add topics that I didn’t quite understand while studying or that proved interesting are worthy of additional research.

  • Pointers in C++
  • Recursion
  • Logarithms
  • Merge sort and other sorting algorithms
  • “Any positive number divided by 6 will give a remainder between 0 and 5” [1]. Learn more about the potential of math with the modulus operator.
  • Predicate functions

This is a living document and will be updated frequently.


[1] M. Dawson, Beginning C++ Through Game Programming, 4th ed., Boston, MA: Cengage Course Technology, 2015.

Windows Server 2016 Win+X PowerShell

I recently decided to build a new Domain Controller for my lab (a.k.a. Family). I chose to install Server 2016 since I’ll need to be familiar with it as it becomes more common in my work labs. I noticed right away that pressing Win + X ( or right clicking the start menu) offers a command prompt instead of PowerShell. I expected it to contain PowerShell like Windows 10’s menu. I checked one of my 2012 servers at work and realized that it too had Command Prompt; I suspect this might be a server feature.

As it turns out this is a simple behavior to fix. If you right-click the taskbar and select Settings (Properties in 2012 R2, then Navigation) there is an option to replace the command prompt with PowerShell at the flick of a switch. Continue reading “Windows Server 2016 Win+X PowerShell”

It’s Bedtime Kids

Idea: Create a powershell script to monitor the kid’s computers and shut them off if they try to use them after bedtime.

I’ve created a Powershell script that checks the day of the week and the hour. If the next day is a school day and it’s after 9:00, shut down (in this case suspend).

Next step is to see if I can control their internet usage by creating a web page that lets us decide if any of them get to stay up. Also, would be interesting to see if I can control their internet, like a whitelist, by controlling the content of the host file via the same script and web page.