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Live Stream Learning

There is something exhilarating about learning out in the open. To make oneself vulnerable for the sake of accelerating the process and to bring others along on a journey.

Streaming on Mixer

Following my first streaming experience, I was quite excited to make this a regular thing. There is so much for me to learn. I’ve never streamed (ok, maybe that one time years ago when I did Hangouts Live, but that was different). I now have a total of 3 streaming sessions under my belt 😅.

I look at other streamers and I see their channel actions and goodies and I immediately feel intimidated. I’ve only had OBS installed for a few days, I didn’t even know if I had the right one. I’m only just getting my head around scenes, I don’t know why I need to care about them other than setting up a default for me to use 🤷‍♂️.

I don’t even know yet how to pipe different “soft” audio channels to my stream. How do I get background music into this thing? My condenser mic won’t pick it up unless I talk. I’ve got some hardware plans for this moving forward, but for a new streamer like me, these are the battles I am facing.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to stop. It’s addictive. I want to become more consistent with when I stream and what I stream. I don’t have any plans yet for exactly what that looks like. But to not lose momentum (or heart ❤️) I needed some additional motivation.

Advent of Code

Enter, Advent of Code. The premise is simple. For the first 25 days of December, you complete a series of 25 programming puzzles (technically 50). You can use the language/method of your choice to complete the challenges.

It spans a range of skill levels and progressively gets harder. It will only be Day 3 (in an hour from typing this paragraph) so I am looking forward to the next puzzles. I’ve never done AoC before, let alone doing it on a stream.

And just to complete my trifecta of newness…

Rust

I’ve only recently been introduced to a programming language called Rust. We’re likely going to see some adoption of this in our own projects, but having something still so far on the horizon wasn’t compelling enough to make me jump in.

But! If I combine Advent of Code, learning Rust and streaming together I can kill three birds with one stone. So I did!

I’ve been streaming my solving of the puzzles using Rust. It isn’t pretty. I’ve had some magnificent public fails while doing this. Don’t believe me? You should check out the final code I submit to my Advent of Code 2019 repo with the code I write during the stream. They are quite different.

I’ve had moments where I strongly dislike the way Rust does things to loving those things only hours later.

My favourite on-stream questions have been “Do you know Rust?”, “Is this your first time using Rust?“. Well, Yes! Yes, it is. When I fired up my stream on 1 December 6 am PST (1 am AEDT where I am), I have not had the Rust compiler installed. I have not looked at the docs. I aired my dirty laundry by going through exactly the process I would go through if I am starting it in private.

The motivation.

Why am I doing this? Because I want others who are new to programming, or learning a new language, to know that it’s okay to know nothing and then stacking on the skills. I’ve been programming since 1993 (approximately 26 years and 10 months ago). I’ve used many languages and I have a career as a programmer. But starting with Rust it felt like a level playing field. There is nothing more thrilling than your first programs in a language. It is my favourite feeling.

It’s like Penn say on “Penn and Teller - Fool Us”. They’ve seen so many tricks. It’s hard for them to find that childhood wonder they had when they first saw magic. Code is my magic. That feeling you get when you want to jump up and tell people “Look what I just did!” when all you see on the screen is a black screen with the words Hello World. is magic!

That is why I am doing this in public. The support I get from those brave enough to endure my stream; who sit there and watch me struggle my way through a problem; who reads the error messages I tend to skim over; and who at the end when all I have is some answer displayed in my terminal window cheer me on. That reminds me of my childhood. Why I love programming. To you guys who join and encourage me, thank you so much!

In as much as they sit through my streams, I also enjoy watching others stream. Most of the time I play catch up because of bad timezones, but I am learning so much from them also. Especially during this season of Advent of Code where we are all solving the same problems in a bunch of different ways.

Your turn!

If you haven’t yet started I strongly urge you to take the plunge. Sign up for Twitch or Mixer and just hit that dang button! Worst thing that could happen is that you hate it and you want to delete the video after your session. The best that can happen is still to be determined.

If you’re curious, come check out my stream on Mixer: Rheinard Korf.

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