Goodbye Hello Bluehost

Short post today.

I’ve been meaning for some time to start the migration of a couple WordPress sites I own and manage from onto another hosting provider as self-hosted WP sites.

On a the recommendation of a friend who blogs daily, I’ve gone with Bluehost, and migrated all of my blog content for this blog from to a new WordPress instance I’ve created. In all, it probably took me two hours to migrate, configure DNS, and set up the various plugins. I also had a bunch of fun getting my .htaccess file and the Apache ReWriteEngine directives to work right (as this is not the only site I’ll be hosting on bluehost). There is still some stuff to do, namely work on my CSS (my buddy David of Smarter Storytelling is right that WP CSS is intricate).

Hopefully this change over was invisible to you. Let me know in the comments (now powered by Disqus; one of the reasons I wanted to get off is that it allows “widgets” but no plugins such as Disqus) how it’s working. Mike Zamasky’s kick in the butt to get back to blogging gave me a reason to do this migration as well.

Would love to hear what plugins and WP themes you like in the comments as well.

In the coming weeks I’ll probably hook up Cloudflare, but that is probably not urgent right now.

Back To Blogging

I was browsing the web over the New Year’s holiday looking for some material on computer science in schools (more on that in a bit) and saw a post from my friend Mike Zamansky that referenced a post by Alfred Thompson which itself referenced my last post to this blog. It was fun to see my post being discussed. Some commenting back and forth on both blogs ensued and in one comment Mike encouraged to me to start blogging again. Mike’s kick in the rear for me to blog was welcome.

So, back to blogging.

An update is probably in order about what I’ve been up to the last few months.

In July I left Relay with the intention to start doing my own independent advisory and consulting work, and to also spend more time working on computer science education. As luck would have it, very soon after I was asked by my friends Evan and Pedro to serve as the ED of TeachCS. Since late August I’ve been doing that about three days a week. That has resulted in some really fun things such as…

…getting to open NASDAQ with my friend Fred and a whole bunch of other friends and leaders in the CS is schools movement…

… and, that same week, being invited to the White House to participate in a computer science education meeting. Here I am at the entrance to the West Wing…

Honorable mention to front row tickets at Hillary Clinton’s birthday party — Bill was sitting behind me! Here’s a picture I took from my seat…

TeachCS has not been all I’ve been doing. Other things I’ve up to:

  • Launching the CodeBrooklyn campaign with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to promote computer science in Brooklyn school communities
  • Providing strategy advice to my friend Gordon’s CS education startup, Codesters
  • Helping my friend Nathaniel and TEALS doing class observations
  • Checking in with my friend Chris and his startup, WillSomeone, into which I made a small angel investment last year
  • Keeping tabs on AlumniFire, another company into which I made a small investment
  • Joining the advisory board of Gemr, an amazing startup for collectibles and the people who collect them, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • Putting together a new startup idea with my friend Seth (nothing to announce yet but stay tuned — very interesting stuff)
  • My continued community work in Brooklyn as an elected member of CEC13 and the new youth chair of Community Board 6
  • Lifting heavy things and running my 10th NYC marathon

Finally, I also have a personal tumblog you can check out if you’d like. Warning: It’s mostly a mix of my writing on Brooklyn school and civic issues (including updates about CEC 13 and CB6 stuff I’m up to) plus more pictures from Instagram of me lifting weights.

Code Syntax Compared

A friend of mine is getting into coding. He was asking me a bit about what language to learn and how they are different. He was curious about functions in particular.

To show him the differences I decided to write a very simple program to calculate the area of a triangle in 5 different languages. Each program is run at the command prompt. I tried to write the program in more or less the exact same way, somewhat ignoring a couple conventions in order to make each program as identical to the others as I could.

#run at command prompt with python

def triangle_area(base, height):
    area = (1.0/2) * base * height
    return area

a1 = triangle_area(10, 2)
print a1


#run at command prompt with ruby triangle.rb

def triangle_area(base, height)
   area = (1.0/2) * base * height
   return area

a1 = triangle_area(10, 2)
print a1

For all the Ruby (and Rails) vs. Python (and Django) debates, these two languages look nearly identical in these examples. That doesn’t hold true forever, though. The main difference is that Python starts the function definition (the inside of the “black box”) with a colon. The function ends when the code is no longer indented – white space matter a lot in Python compared with other languages. Ruby on the other hand does not use the colon and ends the function instead with “end”.


// triangle.js
// run at command line with a program such as node – e.g., node triangle.js

function triangleArea(base, height) {
   var area = (½) * base * height;
   return area;

var a1 = triangleArea (10, 2);

JavaScript, in part due to its history and orientation to the web, does printing to the prompt a bit differently.



// triangle.php
// run at command prompt with php triangle.php

function triangle_area($base, $height)
      $area = (½) * $base * $height;
      return $area;

$a1 = triangle_area(10, 2);
print $a1;
print “n”;


Many people think PHP is ugly. I think it’s the dollar signs and question marks. Somehow it feels cheap and uncertain.


Must be compiled first 
Run at command prompt javac
Then run java Triangle

class Triangle {

public static double triangleArea(double base, double height)
         /** Need 1.0 to get calculation to work right – indicates double **/
         double area = ((1.0/2) * base * height);
         return area;

public static void main(String args[]) {
      double a1 = triangleArea(10.0, 2.0);
      System.out.println(a1 + “n”);


This is the only example that needs to be compiled. Complied languages generally run faster and programming in languages that need to be compiled is sometimes seen as “harder core”, though that’s a somewhat outdated view. Remember – right tool for the job!

I’ll do this again soon .. maybe adding R to the mix.

My father passed away today after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

My father passed away today after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 68. I was with him. See post from my brother Andrew –

Please do not send me cards or flowers – our house is too small and cards go in the trash eventually. If you’d like to honor my dad’s life please consider a donation to the The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or JourneyCare (who did hospice for my dad).

Thank you.

Watch live Hour of Code chats next week with some pretty awesome people


Tune into the live chats, or watch the video archives:


TUESDAY, December 9
10:00 AM PST – Lyndsey Scott
12:00 PM PST – Jack Dorsey
3:00 PM PST – Ashton Kutcher

WEDNESDAY, December 10
7:30 AM PST – Cory Booker
10:00 AM PST – JR Hildebrand
11:00 AM PST – Clara…

Watch live Hour of Code chats next week with some pretty awesome people