christopher's blog

Learning to Code at the Library: AutoHotKey

Learn to code at the library

So, coding, to me, means making things faster and easier for yourself and for others. Two ways you can do this, are

  1. Text expansion. There are probably things that you type all the time. For example, if you write a lot of email, there are probably certain signatures or closings or blocks of text that you use often. For me, I find that I frequently have to type out my email address.

Learn to code at the library: joke languages

image of css code

We were talking the other day about the notion of joke languages and esoteric languages, when a colleague of mine asked me to explain how a programming language could be a joke.

I ended up over-explaining, and thought I might as well share with you as well, dear reader.

A joke language or novelty language involves—

Monster Bomb at Family Lab

Our first Family Lab at ideaLAB was a smash hit!

In case you haven't heard, the second Saturday of every month is now Family Lab from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And we are very excited to follow up the first one with a monster bomb workshop with our pals from A Monster To Love.

Check it out.

ideaLAB: Adult Swim

Introducing ideaLAB: adult swim!

Starting September 2, we’ll be kicking the kids out of the pool on Tuesday nights, and will be welcoming adults for the first time into our digital media open lab.

The lab is staffed and set up so you can start creating stuff in one or any of six program tracks: music, web design, art & design, game design, video, and electronics.

So come hang out, sign up to use our 3D printers or our recording studio, learn to program an Arduino, and learn to make some cool stuff.

I know where your cat lives

Privacy on the Internet!

It's hard sometimes to imagine who might be doing what with the information you share online, or how much you should worry about it.

"I Know Where Your Cat Lives" is a new website that clearly illustrates the kinds of things that might be done with your—or your cat's—personal information.

From the site's about page:

How Technology is Helping Me Learn to Babble On

(This blog post was written by Cody from the Community Technology Center.)

In preparation for an upcoming trip to Ecuador, I decided, once and for all, to learn Spanish…and I’m making real headway!

Nerd alert. I really like my text editor


If I’m coding, or writing anything more significant than a medium-length email (like this blog post for example), I’m likely to close out of my email program, MS Word, or whatever else it is I’m using, and reach for Vim.

Vim and Emacs are two of the very first text editors ever made for computers, and they’re still very popular today.

Geeking Out For Teen Tech Week

People and places of Virginia Village

Teen Tech Week is March 4th - 10th. As it gets closer, I want to highlight some of the neat things you can do with the programs installed on the public PCs at your local branch, starting with some image editing in a program called GIMP.

GIMP is free software for manipulating images and is installed on all of our public PCs. You can find it in the Start menu under Utilities.

It is a very robust, powerful program that you can spend a lot of time getting to know. (See the documentation and some tutorials at What I want to share with you is a very simple and specific procedure: creating an animated gif like the one at the top of this post.

'MetaMaus' Celebrates 25 Years of Maus

Twenty five years ago, Art Spiegelman gave us Maus, a story about enduring and surviving the Holocaust and the father/son relationship that developed afterward. The only graphic novel to have been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, it is now iconic, and has influenced how many of us think about comics, narrative and fiction, and literature.

And now, to celebrate and commemorate this groundbreaking work, Spiegelman has given us MetaMaus, a behind-the-scenes explanation and exploration of the work.

If you are interested in more graphic novels of the non-superhero, and non “funny papers” variety, here are a few places to start.

Connecting the dots

Tom Waits

What do Tom Waits, Hunter S. Thompson, and Steve Jobs have in common? Besides—that is—there being popular new material out by, or about, each? The answer is—believe it or not—the venerable Keith Richards.

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