The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

June 20, 2014

Typing Faster

Filed under: Life,Programming — Cranky Sysadmin @ 7:13 pm

One of my side goals is to increase my typing speed. I do touch type, but I have some bad habits, and I was only typing at about 25 to 30 words a minute. I’ve tried many typing programs both online and installed locally. I’ve narrowed down to my two favorites; GNU Typist (gtypist) and Amphetype. Both of these are command line programs which work well on linux. They also run on windows according to the descriptions. gtypist includes full lessons all the way from home row beginner to speed drills with a fair amount of mixed text. Amphetype (which is becoming my favorite) is all speed drills using text you import. I imported the text to The Hobbit and I’ve been having a blast. Gtypist is very polished, but once you’ve been through the speed drills a couple of times, it starts getting repetitive. Because I can import a whole novel into Amphetype, it doesn’t get boring for me. I’m now up to about 45 words per minute, which was my goal, but I think I can push that goal up to 55 WPM now.

update 2014-07-12: I’ve managed to average 55 wpm, but I struggle to get consistently faster than that. It might be time to move on to other minor obsessions.

June 10, 2014

Learning Algorithms

Filed under: Programming — Cranky Sysadmin @ 6:35 pm

Some day, I would like to be a real programmer. One of the steps that seems necessary is to get a deeper understanding of algorithms. I’ve settled on two books that I’d like to get through on the way to that goal.

  • The first is The Algorithm Design Manual by Steve S. Skiena. It uses pseudo-code and C (or C++) to describe the algorithms. Some higher math is needed, or at least the ability to decipher summations in Sigma notation. I’ve read up to chapter 3, and I like the book a lot even though it makes my head hurt.
  • The second book is Python Algorithms by Magnus Lie Hetland. As the title suggests, the algorithms are described in Python. I’ve gotten through chapter 2. This book is dense too.

If I don’t understand something in one book, I try to find a similar example in the other book. The explanations are different enough that I can usually (so far) understand one or the other.

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