Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winter rides 2015

It is Wednesday, mid-week, between last Sunday's 42°F, Tuesday's near blizzard and Saturday's predicted high of 21°F temperature and I'm trying to plan out my next outdoor ride. ;-) Perhaps Sunday's predicted high of 29°F will allow for a few miles. I will have to watch out for ice though.

My friend Mark and I have been suffering from cabin fever. We haven't been able to get out on the road as much or as far as we'd like as it has either been too cold, rainy or we've had snow. So when it hit 42°F last Sunday, we took off for a short 20 mile ride. Wow it was nice. The roads were a bit crowded (narrowed by snow, potholes and puddles) but we managed. We did get wet once or twice but we expected that. Still it was just nice to get out and ride. Let's face it winter miles aren't really about speed or distance so they might as well be about enjoyment. Now for Sunday we'll be looking at a similar ride except it is below freezing. Wet roads will be salty and puddles could hide ice (the infamous black ice). We've done it before but we'll have to be careful. With the 6 inch blanket of snow on the ground any wind will be a cold one. Still it's outdoor mileage.

Friday, January 9, 2015

I (heart) MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

I'm pretty excited about learning and that's a good thing as I'm in the STEM field and the technology barely lasts 3 to 5 years before it's replaced. I'm now taking free courses on subjects like Statistics, Data Science, Learning (I suffer from ADD and will do anything to make learning easier) and the IoT. These MOOCs are allowing a new generation of people the resources to learn without the heavy load of student loans. One thing about a MOOC, you need to participate in the course for it to work. The Professors, Instructors and Assistants are few and can't do all the work, so some work is offloaded on to the students and is part of the grading. So far this is working well (from what I can see) and I don't mind helping as it makes me feel like I'm actually learning and helping others. In addition to the free aspect there is the certificate aspect (which you pay for). Good certificates look good on your resume. The Data Science specialization costs as much as one of my single 4 credit course, from 30 years ago.

Right now I'm watching a course in Coursera called: "Learning How to Learn" by Dr. Terrence Sejnowski & Dr. Barbara Oakley, excellent course. It is helping me to learn and explaining things like: why exercise helps me to learn. I'm also taking a Data Science specialization on Coursera, current course is R programming language. I'm certain I need this for future employment and I am interested in the topic. I'll experiment more with MOOCs, so far I'm thrilled I can learn in a formal, organized way.