Learn Art

Hey guys!
I added a new art section to the list tonight. It includes drawing, painting, digital painting, photography and art history. It’s a fairly comprehensive list, but I feel like there’s always room for improvement, so feel free to send me suggestions.

 

The ones I added today include:

 

Drawing / Digital Art

drawspace - Easily one of the most comprehensive and most recommended drawing sites on the web. Teaches paper and pen drawing from the basics to advanced level.

Ctrl + Paint - Teaches a wide variety of digital art. Over 200 videos covering pencil skills to drawing with a stylus to photoshop. They also offer premium content, but they have more than enough free lessons to keep you occupied.

Enliighten - Awesome tutorials on how to draw and create pictures with photoshop

ArtGraphica - Another site that teaches the basics of drawing, painting, oil painting, water color, etc.  They also have some free art books that they created on the right hand side.  It is not the easiest site to navigate, but I thought the content was valuable

Lynda – This is an affiliate link, but I really do support their website. It is an excellent place to learn how to use photoshop and illustrator if you are willing to pay for it. I have used Lynda before and their tutorials are honestly top notch and very informative.

 

Photography

Cambridge in Colour - A great resource in helping you learn how to use your camera. Tutorials teach you how to use your camera, basic photography concepts, editing and post-processing and more

The Bastards Book of Photography – “The Bastards Book of Photography is a visual guide for learning your camera’s manual controls in order to make beautiful photographs. No flash or other fancy equipment required.”

Exposure Guide - This is a good website for photography beginners.  The Photography Basics section gives you a basic primer on how to use your camera and their blog gives new tips and tricks every once in a while

 

Art History

Smarthistory - Smarthistory is a site created by the Khan Academy to help teach Art History. Includes hundreds of videos from many art historians describing different eras, artists, and works of art

Google Art Project - This resource from Google allows you to flip through the collections of many art museums around the world and save your favorites. It is constantly updated with new collections from worldwide museums to keep you coming back

 

Thanks for all the support! I swear I will get through looking at all the website suggestions.

Updated Site!

Well, it has finally happened! After talking about it a long time ago, I’ve finally launched the updated site. There are still some kinks to work out, but I’m very happy with how it looks and functions.

 

The changes include:

  1. New search bar obviously. Hopefully this will help you target what you want to learn and help you find it even faster than before. If you just want to browse, you can still see everything by clicking the link under the search bar.
  2. You can make accounts! Once you make the account, you can ‘love’ the sites and it’ll save them in your profile. That will help the more relevant and loved posts show up higher up after someone searches.
  3. With the account, you can also take part in the discussion boards.  On the boards, you can ask for suggestions, give suggestions, give me comments, talk about all the sites, etc.  I hope it will help people find the resources they need faster than waiting on me to email them back with some suggestions.

Let me know what you guys think of the new layout and features.

 

For the next few weeks, I’ll be looking for art/drawing/computer art as well as fitness and health websites. I’ve been getting a lot of requests for those two subjects and I think I’ve found some good ones.

edX announces new courses Spring 2013

Hey guys!

edX recently released the new courses that they’ll be teaching in the Spring of next year.  It looks like they’re beginning to add courses that aren’t technology related.  Maybe that’ll pique the interest of more students.

Here are the new courses they will be adding along with the popular tech courses that have been around.

  • The Challenges of Global Poverty — living on under $1 a day, examining and overcoming poverty traps.
  • Justice — a global dialogue about the big moral and civic questions of our time.
  • The Ancient Greek Hero — amazing stories, poetry and songs from more than two millennia ago (intro level).
  • Copyright — who “owns” ideas in the US and beyond – you’ll find out in this pilot course (limited to 500 students).
  • Human Health and Global Environmental Change — climate change, biodiversity loss and their effect on billions of people.
  • Introduction to Statistics — an amazing, introductory course on the fundamentals and the science of drawing conclusions from data.
  • Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computation — a remarkable intro course for students of all types.

 

NoExcuseList also has some news! I’m hoping to bring and updated site to you guys sometime within the first few months of the new year. I’m still working out some kinks with the forum and the search engine, but I think it is almost ready! I hope you guys find it easier and more helpful to find sites to learn from. There will also be about 10-20 new links!

Happy Holidays and thanks for all of the emails and support!

 

edX’s Introduction to Computer Science and Programming starts today!

edX’s Introduction to Computer Science and Programming starts today! They will be teaching python and the basics of computer science.  If this interests you at all, go sign up here.  It’s all free, so you have nothing to lose.

This will be my first time taking an edX course as well, so I’ll post a detailed review after a few weeks in.

Also, we’re almost done with revamping the website. Hopefully it’ll roll out sometime in October.

Stanford is adding new courses!

Stanford announced today that it would add 16 more courses for the fall and introduced 2 new platforms.  The new platforms are Class2Go and Venture Lab. A few classes will be added to each this fall, with the rest being taught on Coursera.

The full list of classes are as follow:

Andrew Ng, Machine Learning, Aug. 20, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/ml

Dan Boneh, Cryptography, Aug. 27, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/crypto

Keith Devlin, Introduction to Mathematical Thinking, Sept. 17, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/maththink

Daphne Koller, Probabilistic Graphical Models, Sept. 24, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/pgm

Scott Klemmer, Human-Computer Interaction, Sept. 24, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/hci

Michael Genesereth, Introduction to Logic, Sept. 24, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/intrologic

Dan McFarland, Organizational Analysis, Sept. 24, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/organalysis

Kristin Sainani, Writing in the Sciences, Sept. 24, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/sciwrite

Tim Roughgarden, Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 2, October, Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/course/algo2

Chuck Eesley, Technology Entrepreneurship, Fall, Venture Lab
http://venturelab.stanford.edu/venture

Tina Seelig, A Crash Course on Creativity, Fall, Venture Lab
http://venturelab.stanford.edu/creativity

Paul Kim, Designing a New Learning Environment, Fall, Venture Lab
http://venturelab.stanford.edu/education

Kay Giesecke, Finance, Fall, Venture Lab
http://venturelab.stanford.edu/finance

Clint Korver, Startup Boards: Advanced Entrepreneurship, Fall, Venture Lab
http://venturelab.stanford.edu/advanced_venture

Bruce Clemens, Solar Cells, Fuel Cells and Batteries, Oct. 8, Class2Go
http://solar.class.stanford.edu

Nick McKeown and Philip Levis, An Introduction to Computer Networks, Oct. 8, Class2Go
http://networking.class.stanford.edu

 

I will probably take a look at the Intro to Computer Networks on their new Class2Go platform and the Technology Entrepreneurship one.  Looks interesting.

Sign up for them soon!

For the full press release, click here.

Effects of HackerNews and Future Plans

So it has been a full week or so since I was featured on the front page of HackerNews.  It is exciting and rewarding to see people make use of my website. All the comments were especially helpful and I am working to implement many of them. I’ll discuss more near the  end of this post.  But first, here are some of the effects landing on the front page.

On August 2nd, I hit the front page of HN, receiving 372 points.  That day, I got ~55k more page views than the day before, more than 50 emails and 30 additional twitter followers.  I’ve been getting home every day to reply to these emails and respond to the comments on the HN thread. Thank you so much for the support!

 

I wanted to highlight a few of the comments that I saw on HackerNews:

  • As someone who took up this hobby a couple years ago, I can attest that the collection of cooking links is awful.

I completely agree. I have been looking around a lot for free cooking resources. It’s been a lot harder than I expected, mainly because I’ve been  trying to stay away from youtube channels. There’s a huge number of cooking channels, but I was hoping to find a website that was more interactive than just watching a video.

  • However, to be frank, I don’t know who you are, so why should I trust your recommendations? I wouldn’t mind if you were the only person to decide what gets posted, but I would like to see content from users, primarily tags, votes, and comments. This might also increase user engagement.
  •  There needs to be some other metric/gauge beyond just the title of the course. It could even be as simple as icon(s) for whether the resource is a text-based site, available as an e-book, or taught mostly through videos.
  • Some good links, but something like this really needs search and filtering, and some sort of category overview – as it is, on most monitors you need to scroll to even see all the main categories…
  •  Consider adding an expandable section for each link that has: the short description from the alt text

Using these suggestions, I’m planning on making the site more user-friendly and searchable. My goal would be to make the front page a search bar that will list all of the websites that teach the term being searched. Websites will have tags that describe what they teach, such as HTML, CSS, or Java. When someone types in “HTML”, all the websites with the HTML tag will show up.  There will still be the option of viewing all of the websites in a page similar to the front page now.

I’m also hoping give people the option of signing up for an account. You’ll be able to save websites that you like/use, as well as participate in the discussion boards.

I’m currently contacting freelancers and web developers. If you’re interested in working with me or if you’d like to recommend someone, please contact me at noexcuselist@gmail.com. We can discuss the paid job in detail over email.

edX Results

A few months ago, MIT and Harvard launched their free online classes in a program called edX.  I wrote about the release of edX here. They’ve recently wrote a blog post about their results and what they’ve learned. Here’s some snippets that I thought were interesting.

In the end, almost 155,000 people registered for 6.002x. Of those, roughly 23,000 tried the first problem set, 9,000 passed the midterm, and 7,157 passed the course as a whole.

Anant Agarwal, the president of edX and a professor of computer science and engineering at MIT, points out, “if you look at the number in absolute terms, it’s as many students as might take the course in 40 years at MIT.”

Another pleasant surprise, Agarwal says, was how much initiative the students showed in augmenting or creatively reappropriating the MITx technology. A group of students who had interacted regularly on the 6.002x discussion forum were disappointed that the natural follow-up course, 6.003, “Signals and Systems,” would not be offered via MITx in the fall. So, using the 6.003 course materials already available online through MIT’s OpenCourseWare initiative, they created their own online course, which they’ve dubbed 6.003z.

“They’re now a bonded community,” Agarwal says. “They asked us if there was a way they could keep the community alive. So we agreed not to take the [6.002x] website down. All the students who had previous accounts could continue interacting on the discussion forums and so on.”

 

You can read the full write up here.

 

Very encouraging results from their experiment with free education.  This format is growing so quickly, I can’t wait to see what’s going to pop up every day.

 

Thanks StumbleUpon and Coursera news

Noexcuselist has been growing a great deal thanks to you guys and a bit of help from StumbleUpon.  The site has recently crossed the 100k views mark from StumbleUpon and has over 12k likes.  Thanks a bunch!

 

In other news, Coursera just announced that 12 new universities have decided to join their initiative and are currently offering free classes online.

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Duke University
  • École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Princeton University
  • Rice University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington

 

That’s great news for the learning community.  I hope you guys take advantage of it! I will be adding Coursea on the front page shortly.

Thanks again for all of the emails and website suggestions.  I’ve been going through all of them, I promise.

3 sites added to the main page

I’ve added a few new links to the front page covering general academics, language and HTML/CSS.

The first one is Udacity. I saw this site a while ago when it first launched, but it was a bit limited at the time. Now, it seems like there a lot more content. Currently they cover computer science, statistics, physics and math.  What separates this site apart from the others are the professors. For example, in their CS101 class, the two professors are David Evans and Sebastian Thrun. David is a Computer Science professor at the University of Virginia and Sebastian is a professor at Stanford. There’s 7 units that include lecture, homework and quizzes.  Ever unit has video lectures and written notes that go with it. Very comprehensive.  I haven’t had a chance to look at some of the others, but I’m guessing they’re similar in format. People online seem to recommend CS101 a lot if you’re just starting to get into computer science.

 

Next, we have Shay Howe’s Beginner’s Guide to HTML / CSS.  Apparently, this is the site that is used to teach at Code Academy. You can’t go wrong with that right?   As described in the title, this seems like a good guide for beginners who are just getting a foundation for HTML/CSS. It doesn’t delve very deeply into the topics nor does it have practice problems or projects to work on. Still, a solid resource for newbies.

 

Lastly, we have DuoLingo. I mentioned this site in a previous post. You can watch their short intro video here. I signed up expecting to see a very basic site because of how new it is. However, it seems like there’s already a ton of content.  You get started translating simple sentences immediately, but don’t worry, it isn’t as hard as you think. Much of the translating if pretty intuitive at first, and I did feel myself learning German vocabulary at an alarming rate.  There’s audio pronunciations of every phrase and translation help if you get stuck.  This is definitely one of the best sites I’ve found for learning new languages.

 

Thanks to everyone that have been emailing me and pointing me to new sites. I really appreciate it!

Best free resources for learning Ruby

As a newbie trying to learn how to program as well, I think the hardest part is understanding where everything fits in the larger scope of a website or web application. If you’re in the same boat, I would suggest reading this post by techiferous. He clearly lays out where all of the different languages belong and some pitfalls to watch out for when beginning to learn.

If you haven’t figured it out already, this post is going to cover several resources I have found that teach the Ruby programming language for free. Most of these have been either recommended on sites like reddit or HackerNews.

Here is another write up on learning Ruby from Jasim Basheer, creator of RubyMonk.

TryRuby is an interactive website that teaches the basics of Ruby. It’s a quick way to try Ruby without having to install it on your computer.

First, on installing Ruby. Seems like most people recommend installing it on Mac or Linux because the community on Windows is considerably smaller. Follow these video instructions to install.

From there, get started with some beginner websites that start from square one.

HacketyHack is a downloadable program that will run through the basics of Ruby.

Ruby Koans has great exercises for beginners that work both online and offline.

Another beginner resource is theBastard’s Book of Ruby. It’s not yet completed, but the knowledgeable guys on HN seem to really like it.

After you get the hang of the basics of Ruby, these are the two books most recommended online.

Learn Ruby the Hard Way

Chris Pine’s Learn to Program

 

Need even more resources? Become a Programmer, Mofo has compiled a HUGE list of free books for all languages. Check our their Ruby section.

With any language, practice is key. I’ve always heard that if you’re learning HTML, make a website. If you’re learning Ruby, start by making an easy application. Programming can be daunting and discouraging if you don’t know how the pieces fit together to actually create something.

Hope this helps you on your journey to Ruby proficiency! Just as a disclaimer, I do not know how to program in Ruby.  I’m planning on learning it eventually, but I have to start with the basics first. Therefore, I cannot personally vouch for all of these sites. However, I do trust the sources that have recommended these sites, so I think you’re in good hands.

I’m hoping to compile some resources for HTML and CSS next time. Let me know if you have anything other than the stuff I have listed on the main page.