When Chloe and I were trying to come up with baby names, every conversation would go something like this:
Chloe: "New baby name idea: Katana."
Nick: "How do you spell that?"
Chloe: "Like a katana, duh!"
Nick: "People don't know how to spell that."
Baby Max is four months old today. I posted when he was one month, talking about what a difficult little demon he was, but after eight weeks he magically changed overnight into the sweetest baby ever! We were so surprised the first time he slept 7.5 hours straight instead of waking up every 3 hours, we kept waking up anyway just to go stare at him. "Maybe there's something wrong with him!" But he kept doing it, and now he sleeps from around 8pm to 4:30am every night, wakes up to feed, then goes back to sleep until around 7:30am. It is amazing. And where before he cried a lot, always seemed unhappy, and didn't even know how to smile, now he generally loves everything and will smile his head off if you just look at him.
Here are some more surprises from the first four months of Max.
1. He loves "reading" books.
I had thought that before he could read or understand words, or even be able to visually recognize cartoons of things, he would get bored when I read to him. But even from the beginning, books held his attention and excited him. Thanks for all the books, everyone (but especially Mom)!
Our newest multiplayer arena level is here, and with it comes the next coding tournament! In Ace of Coders, you write code to summon armies, command minions, vie for control points, and use your hero to overwhelm your opponent’s forces. Choose new foes, improve your strategy, and watch your code fight its way up the leaderboards. You don’t need any CodeCombat experience to play–just a mind for programming, a thirst for gold, and a hunger for battle.
The tournament begins today and lasts for a month. On Wednesday, October 14 at 5PM PDT, we’ll snapshot the leaderboards and simulate some additional ranking to determine the winners. The top ten players will skip straight to final CodeCombat job interviews. We’re hiring for our San Francisco office, and if you want to build the programming game that will be the default way everyone learns to code, then we think you’ll enjoy this tournament. (If you can’t join us, then just play for fun.)
The Ace of Coders programming tournament has ended after a month of ferocious coding chaos, with the leaderboards fluctuating by the hour. We’ve exhaustively simulated all 584,086 pairwise matches between all players and come up with the final ranking. Behold, the top ten Ace of Coders champions!
Full rankings are here for all 1345 players. Coming in first is our returning Greed and Zero Sum champion Wizard Dude with only three losses–one to NoJuice4u and two to me.
Second place goes to our other returning Zero Sum champion, NoJuice4u, with 1527 wins and only six losses. Staying in first place almost the entire competition, NoJuice4u was the main target of up-and-coming players, but he still managed to fend them all off with a nearly unstoppable job-queue-based strategy mixing all four unit types.
I used to eat food. I still do, but I used to, too.
You have probably heard of Soylent, the liquid meal replacement where you can conveniently get all your balanced nutrients by just drinking liquid Silicon Valley. I mean, you've already outsourced all your other chores to my fellow startups–don't you want to save another two hours per day and eliminate all superfluities?
No? Yes? Well, it's not for everyone, but I sure would like more time for my important stuff, and I've already eaten food tons of times. Plus, if I can have my default meal be a healthy one, I'll sacrifice extra tastiness (which is why I don't eat dessert). I'm in. Forget eating! Yet...
I like Soylent, but it takes a lot of trust in nutrition science to say, "Let's just combine a bunch of individual micronutrients that match the recommended daily allowances, since those are exactly what all humans need, right?" Never mind that some of the RDAs were established by a handful of weak studies–you still have to believe that not only did we get the nutrient levels right, but that those nutrients are all you need, and that they work in isolation, in the specific forms that are included in your Science Drink (which may not be bioavailable or bioequivalent).
Our team was astounded by the number of students who played CodeCombat during #HourOfCode last month, and we’re thankful that so many educators made CodeCombat part of their curriculum. From the United States to China, the U.K. to Australia, and even as far as Brazil and Taiwan, we saw students logging on and writing their very first lines of code–no drag-and-drop training wheels here!
#HourOfCode by the numbers
I remember when I wrote my first lines of code. I was a freshman in college, and I had signed up for the introductory computer science course on a whim after choosing my practical career-advancing courses: writing, chemistry, poetry, and go. I had never really thought about programming as something you could do, even though my dad was an engineer, and it’s not like my high school offered any programming courses.
At first it seemed boring, abstract. String string = new String(“This is a string.”); – Okay, so what? But by the end of the semester, there was an exercise to code a bit of logic inside a graphical simulation of rabbit and fox populations. I finished the assignment and then added zombies. The infection spread. Chaos reigned. I was hooked. Programming was actually more creative than my creative writing class–I was making something out of pure imagination, and it was cool!
But most of my classmates failed the intro course. It seemed like programming was just too difficult, too geeky. The year after mine, the entire college graduated only three computer science majors (out of 700 grads), and they had been coding from an early age. Was it something you just have to start learning early, like a foreign language? If so, why had I already had like sixteen years’ worth of math classes, four years of Latin, and zero minutes of coding? Virtually no one uses multivariable calculus. Everyone uses computers.
Fast forward to today, and everything is changing. Eighteen countries and dozens of US states and school districts are scrambling to offer computer science classes across K12, with everyone else soon to follow. In a world where computers outnumber humans and virtually none of us speak their language, we want our kids to become native speakers of code. Soon everyone will have the opportunity I wish I’d had when I was eleven.
Yet we haven’t really changed how we teach computer science. Kids don’t think that coding is for them–especially girls and minorities. They try it, and it’s either boring or difficult or both, and they give up. A third of undergraduates taking Introduction to Computer Science courses fail. Sometimes we give students training wheels in the form of visual block-based programming, but when the training wheels come off and they switch to real code, learners often quit in frustration in that moment when they think they can't code at all.
Since Max turned one last week, I made a poignant video of poignancy showing him growing up over the past year.
Check out our new project-based learning courses to build your first website and game level today.
“CodeCombat is really fun because you get to see that what your character is doing in the game is what you made him do.” -- Mario, 10
We’ve been hard at work all summer building new features, playtesting them in our coding camps, and fine-tuning all the new levels. We’re so excited to finally share all of it with you!
Our biggest announcement today is the launch of our Game and Web Development courses — featuring new, project-based levels that bridge the gap between programming and real world applications by providing players an opportunity to build real websites and games. We’ve already seen amazing examples built by students during our summer camp, and we can’t wait to see more from the rest of the CodeCombat community.
We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Clever, one of world’s top login and data management services for schools. Now, schools that are already using Clever can add CodeCombat, enabling great features like Instant Login for their teachers and students. Continue reading for more information on how to get started!
Our school district already uses Clever. How do I connect CodeCombat?
1. Log into Clever as an District Administrator - https://clever.com/oauth/district_admin/login
2. On the left side of your dashboard, click “Add Applications”.