’s “30 Days Lost in Space”

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When looking at skills in the modern world, what is a good skill? Language arts, advanced math, sports – we have schools telling students – both adults and children – a plethora of different skills you need to have to be successful in the world today. However, how many of these skills are really necessary to be successful and how many skills vital to everyday life are we ignoring in our school systems?

When you look at this question, it is quite troubling. Basic accounting, programing, writing and even basic math are being overlooked in the effort to build a “well-rounded individual” while more and more adults are asking, “Why weren’t we taught what was needed in school?”

The education system in the United States is big business. This means that if you are looking to further you knowledge as an adult (or further the knowledge of your children) you may have to look past the “free-service” that public school education provides. In many cases, public school education is more of a recruiting tool for the college system – similar to a website where you get the free webinar to sign you up for “bigger and better things.” Education has been commoditized and if you are a discerning customer, you will realize that you get what you pay for. Just like online, free things tend to be advertisements for ‘not free’ things. Therefore, as an adult looking for further education or a parent looking to teach his child, you have to look for the best education you can get. If you are looking in the area of programing,’s “30 Days Lost in Space” is a great training tool in programing and circuits.

The System

A lot of people do not think they need to know how programing works. I have dozens of students who think programing is just something that is done by other people. However, one of the greatest lessons I have learned after years in the tech industry as a non-programmer is that if you understand even the basics of programming, you can adapt to new technology much faster. Understanding how the machine learns and thinks will help you understand the interface better. Understanding what the machine needs to know will help you understand how to improve your interaction with the interface. Finally, understanding what you are doing when you enter data into a system makes you more efficient in how you work within the system. Understanding that the human element is usually the least refined element in the digital system is paramount to helping to increase your efficiency within the system. Therefore, if you have the time, you should take 1 hour a day for 30 days to learn a new skill set that can open up new worlds to you.

So what is “30 Days Lost in Space?” has created a great little training tool that walks you through a themed lesson set to teach you the basics of programming and circuit board design. Within the first three days, you will be programming your board to control an array of lights. While this may not seem very exciting, when you get those lights to do what you want them to do, writing your own code it is pretty cool. The kit comes with a bunch of little components, lights, a bread board, resistors, etc., which you can use to build out your projects. The great thing is that when each new component is introduced, the system teaches you what the component does in easy-to- understand language and this is very helpful in building out your projects. This helps you understand not only the ‘how’ of the project but also the ‘what.’

The theme of the lesson is fun too. You work as a person on a survival pod in a spacecraft. The story is that you are lost on another planet (I’m not going to ruin the details). Each lesson you complete in the session helps you “fix your craft” so you can make it home. The added element of story gives you a reason for doing the tasks beyond just learning the items.


Overall, this is a great learning tool. helps you build out your skills and keeps it interesting. The lessons are ‘bite sized,’ so everyone can handle the lessons. On each lesson page there is a video (which you can watch and work your way through) for those who pick up the lessons quickly. Then there is a plan for your breadboard, which can help you with the circuitry if you cannot keep up with the video (which you can pause). Then there is a sample of the code at the bottom of the page to help you find any errors in your code (the debugging tool helps with this too). This can help even people who are new to programing build out their boards.

This is a great tool and I cannot recommend it enough. I have not programmed since 1998, which means I am so out of date that I could work in the U.S. Senate, but this made the process of re-learning programming fun. These guys do a great job, and if you have any interest in all at learning how your devices work, this is a great way to get your foot in the door and have fun learning to program.

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Christopher W Smithmyer
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