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By day, Bueno is a Facebook engineer. He helps hone software on the servers underpinning the world's largest social network. But he moonlights as a children's author. His first book is called Lauren Ipsum , and it's a fairy tale that seeks to introduce children — as young as five or as old as 12 — to the concepts of computer science. But this isn't done with code. It's done with metaphors. In one scene, the titular character, Laurie Ipsum, teaches a mechanical turtle to draw a perfect circle using simple instructions in the form of a poem.

The book was illustrated by his wife, Ytaelena Lopez, and the two self-published after raising funds on Kickstarter. Bueno — who "tested" the book on his nephews as he wrote it — says that programming should be a part of everyone's education.

Lauren Ipsum is part of a much larger movement that seeks to bring programming skills to, well, everyone. At MIT, researchers have built a programming platform called Scratch that targets children as young as eight years old , and this gave rise to a Google-funded platform called App Inventor that applies many of the same tools to the development of Android applications.

Meanwhile, a startup called Codecademy is now offering programming lessons over the web in an effort to turn the everyman into a programmer, and in January, when it announced a crash course called "Code Year," over , people pledged to learn to code in , including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Not everyone is keen on the idea. I also believe programming is important But so are a lot of skills. I would no more urge everyone to learn programming than I would urge everyone to learn plumbing. But Carlos Bueno believes this sells programming well short.

Mark Surman, the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, says that although some children may not be suited to computer science, we should at least expose them to it. For Bueno, the movement also makes sense because computer technology is replacing so many traditional jobs. Travel agents are seeing their jobs replaced by web-based travel booking sites. E-discovery software is disrupting the legal profession.

If you're a programmer, you give yourself a future. Bueno learned this first hand. His family owned an electronics repair business when he was a kid, and he and his siblings grew up repairing VCRs. But the business shut down in the mids because the technology became so cheap that it was easier just to throw away a broken VCR and replace it than was to repair it. After the family business closed, Bueno started working in illustration and calligraphy.

But he soon realized that desktop publishing was replacing much of the work he was doing by hand. So he became a graphic designer. The name Lauren Ipsum is a pun on "Lorem Ipsum," the text graphic designers use to fill space on mock-ups. But then the desktop publishing business was undercut by the growth of the web.

So Bueno decided he better learn the computing game. He started by building a simple website. Then he taught himself JavaScript by copying and pasting snippets of code he found elsewhere on the web.

After that, he moved on to server side scripts and even built his own meta-search engine, and eventually, he landed a job building an e-commerce site for a company that sold computers by mail. With Lauren Ipsum , he seeks to show children how they too can learn these same sorts of skills.

Ever since landing that first job, Bueno has focusing on "leveling up" — i. Each job is a new challenge that requires him to learn new skills from others. Metaphors, he says, are a key part of learning computer science.

He tries to talk to as many people as he can about a subject and then he starts to form metaphors that describe it. Lauren Ipsum is a collection of these metaphors that have been turned into a stories. In order to help spread this approach to education, for every copy of Lauren Ipsum sold, Bueno and Lopez are donating one copy to a school, library, or educational program.

So far they've donated 57 copies. It's too early to say whether the code literacy movement is creating a new generation of professional computer scientists, but according to Ladies Learning Code founder Heather Payne, Lauren Ipsum is already playing a role in helping young girls get involved in programming.

Payne says that although many girls are interested in technology, many need more guidance. Laurie is a role model, and even a bit of a hero. I hope she becomes the new Nancy Drew. Carlos Bueno wants your 5-year-old to think like a programmer. View Comments. Sponsored Stories Powered By Outbrain. More Stories. Author: Kate Knibbs Kate Knibbs. Author: Medea Giordano Medea Giordano. Author: Levi Tillemann Levi Tillemann. Author: Eric Niiler Eric Niiler.


Facebook Engineer Turns 5-Year-Olds Into Hackers

Jane is older and can't see well, so she has to spell out Lauren's guess letter by letter to check whether it's the right password. How can Lauren use this to her advantage? A story about computer science and other improbable things. Below is a little game that lets you try to beat Jane yourself. The secret password is picked at random from a list of 10, dictionary words, and the box will show you valid words to make it a bit easier.


Lauren Ipsum






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