Monthly Archives: January 2012

Learning Curve: It isn’t What You Think it is

How many times have you heard the phrase “it has a steep learning curve” in reference to something that is supposed to be difficult? This commonly-used phrase sounds good, but isn’t really logical. Because it’s wrong.

A “learning curve” is a visual device used to illustrate the average rate of learning for a skill or tool. Essentially, it is a line chart that shows the learner’s level of proficiency and how it changes over time.

Take a look at the two following charts. The first one illustrates a steep learning curve, while the second shows a more gradual slope. If you take a look at the labels on the axes, you’ll note that the steep curve shows the “knowledge” unit is increasing at a faster rate. That means something with a steep learning curve is easier than something with a gradual slope. Make sense?

I know I’ve been guilty of misusing this term in the past, but have been making an effort to avoid it more recently. It’s a good thing to word around when you’re writing, as using it in the correct context is likely to do nothing but cause confusion at this point. (At least, for general audiences. Depending on your niche, your readers might understand.)

BlogBuzz January 21, 2012

Git: The Simple Guide

Have you been trying to wrap your head around Git, the version control software that everyone is talking about? It works a little differently than tools like Subversion, so you’ll have to unlearn some habits if you’re familiar with other version control packages. A…

Twitter’s Bootstrap CSS Redesigned to Look Like Facebook

I guess it was only a matter of time. Someone has taken Twitter’s Bootstrap CSS project and re-skinned it to look a bit more like Facebook. FBootstrap, as it is called, should be very useful for those who make Facebook applications and enhancements for…


Alternatives to GitHub

GitHub is great for open source projects, but the lack of free private repositories can be limiting for projects that you would rather not be shared with the entire world. While it does make sense to pay for a tool if you use it…

JSFiddle: A Playground for Web Developers

JSFiddle is a sort of interactive pastebin site that I’ve been finding useful lately. It features three panes for entering HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and a fourth where the resulting output is rendered. If you save the workspace, it generates a URL like…

Best of 2011

Well, it’s been another year of blogging. 2011 was a pretty busy year for me, and I got a few fun projects done. Minimus, my free Mac application for easily compressing CSS and JavaScript, is one such thing. Anyway, now’s the time when I…