By James Fee

SpatialTau - Out of my League





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Thank you so much for reading my newsletter. This is issue 5 and one I was going to make the first issue. But I churned on it a little bit more and writing it made me fell much better about how I view GIS. Remember, if you are tired of being my face every week, scroll to then bottom of this message and click unsubscribe. Otherwise, forward on to your friends and let me know your thoughts. The feedback I receive is going to become issues moving forward. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitteror myblog or just reply to this email.

My son is a junior in high school and while this is probably the craziest spring semester he’ll ever have; we’re trying to make the best of it. After a couple weeks of unknown, his school is finally in classes and he’s doing his remote work. Arizona has their spring break in early March, so this is it between him and summer, assuming that ever comes for these kids. His school district picked an awful year to leave Canvas and move to Schoology. Connor has no real affinity to either platform, but half of the prep time for the teachers to prepare for distance learning was teaching themselves a new platform. I asked him what he thinks about the change and in typical teenager attitude…
It's only his future...
It's only his future...
The thing he’s has discovered, is there is only so much Xbox and Steam one teenage boy can play in a day before it gets old. He plays defense on his high school lacrosse team (he’s 6'5", 230lbs), but that season was finally officially canceled so there is no hope left for him. But this has left him thinking about his future, as one is apt to do while they are in high school. He’s excelled in science and math his whole life and wants to get into molecular biology (aside: I’m out of my league here). I’ve been watching him do research into specifics and I’m honestly very proud of my son. I think even if COVID-19 didn’t happen, this is a great degree program to get into and one where he will be able to help his passion.
One thing I’ve been helping him is get better prepared for the analysis part. He spent winter break playing around with cryptology (again, I’m out of my league here) and started to dabble with Python. While he’s had enough time to think about his future, he stopped in my office a couple weeks ago and said he really wants to learn Python. I set him loose on what I consider the best way to learn Python and off he went. While the book recommends Atom as a text editor, I had him use Microsoft Visual Studio Code because that’s just what good Dad’s do. He’s been using his PC laptop which brings up its own issues with development but at least Python is easy enough to get installed. He’s learned to use PowerShell and how to install Python libraries.
He’s of course asked questions about why Python uses whitespaces, which drove him nuts, but after explaining it is basically curly brackets he began to understand. Now he’s doing things with BLAST and Python (WAY out of my league) and just last night he asked if I had ever heard of Shapely (I might have). I get to see his mind open up because he now has the freedom to explore. That’s what programming is in a nutshell, we all use our minds to think of great ideas, but they are locked up in hour heads. The power of being able to take that idea and translate it through your fingers into a computer is what a development language gives you. Watching him ignore his Xbox and explore fun ideas with BioPython really makes this Dad happy.
What’s his next steps? Visualization and notebooks. He’s really liking notebooks and I think they are exactly how he should be doing his work. This semester he’s been taking Physics, but he’s really excited to get back to Biology next semester and I think he’s going to blow his teachers away. Proud Dad moment for sure…
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James Fee
James Fee @jamesmfee

Spatial, workflows and technology

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