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Your Guide to Learning Programming

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Your Guide to Learning Programming

Have you ever used an app or website and wondered if you could create something like that yourself? If you learn how to program, you can! In fact, you can benefit from learning the basics of programming even if you don’t develop fully-fledged software. In this post I’ll go through some questions and answers to help you get started with programming.

Why Should You Learn Programming?

Learning programming is a good idea, since you can use the knowledge in many different areas. You can obviously use it to create apps and websites, but you can also use it to accomplish many other things. For example, you can write macros to automate tasks in Microsoft Office, or you can write a script to calculate problems in business. To learn programming, you will need some patience, attention to detail, and the ability to solve problems. Since programming can be hard, it will help if you have a specific project that you want to build in the end. Working towards a goal will help you overcome the difficulties you encounter. In addition, if you know what you want to build, you’ll be able to decide which language you should learn.

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Which Language Should You Learn?

All the popular languages share the same fundamentals, so you shouldn’t worry too much about which language you learn first. It still makes sense to learn the language that fits your goals best, so check out this flowchart for some quick help:

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Chart for Picking a Programming Language

    The “Compiled Languages” (on the right) have more rules to help prevent errors. People normally use special software (known as an IDE) to program in them, which has features to help with coding. These languages are popular in big companies and large websites. Microsoft created C# and provides tools for coding in it, while Java is used in Android apps and is taught in many colleges.

    The “Interpreted Languages” have fewer rules and you can write short programs more quickly with them. Programmers often use a lightweight text editor to code in these languages. These languages are used by many startups and websites. PHP was very popular a decade ago, and there are still many scripts and sites that are written in PHP. However, many people consider PHP to be messy and inconsistent, so you should probably pick a different language if you’re creating a site from scratch. Ruby and Python are similar languages. Ruby is used in the very popular website framework Ruby on Rails, while Python is used both on the web and in other software. Javascript (which isn’t related to Java) is the only language that can run within a web browser, so all visual effects on the web are written in it. Recently, it has also begun being used to create entire websites. Whatever language you pick, the important thing is to get started learning it!

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    What Resources Can You Use to Learn Programming?

    The best way to get started with programming is to use an online interactive tutorial. Codecademy and Learnstreet are popular sites for learning the scripted languages, and you can learn Java on Learneroo, a site that I recently created. It is also a good idea to get a book or reference so you can learn more when you’re done with the beginner tutorials. If you like video courses, check out 20 places to learn online, which lists sites that offer both general and computer science courses.

    You’ll then be ready to create your own project without a text that tells you exactly what to do. This means you need to know where to look for help. To find out more about a programming language, you should first check the official documentation for that language. When you run into difficulties, a well-placed Google search can provide you with information on most issues. If you cannot find your exact issue online, you can ask it on StackOverflow, the programmer Q&A site. If you ask a specific question clearly and show that you’ve done your research, random people online will often quickly help you out for free! If you need more help, you can consider going to programming meetups, finding a mentor, or going to a full-fledged programming bootcamp.

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    Good luck learning to program!

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

    There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

    Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

      What Does Private Browsing Do?

      When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

      For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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      The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

      The Terminal Archive

      While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

      Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

      dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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      Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

      Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

      However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

      Clearing Your Tracks

      Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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      dscacheutil -flushcache

      As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

      Other Browsers and Private Browsing

      Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

      If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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      As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

      Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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