Software and life, mostly life.

15 July 2008

Yeah, this pretty much describes why I do it.

From Cory Doctorow's Little Brother:

If you've never programmed a computer, you should. There's
nothing like it in the whole world. When you program a computer,
it does exactly what you tell it to do. It's like designing a machine
­­-- any machine, like a car, like a faucet, like a gas­-hinge for a door
­­-- using math and instructions. It's awesome in the truest sense: it
can fill you with awe.

A computer is the most complicated machine you'll ever use. It's
made of billions of micro­-miniaturized transistors that can be
configured to run any program you can imagine. But when you sit
down at the keyboard and write a line of code, those transistors do
what you tell them to.

Most of us will never build a car. Pretty much none of us will
ever create an aviation system. Design a building. Lay out a city.

Those are complicated machines, those things, and they're off­
limits to the likes of you and me. But a computer is like, ten times
more complicated, and it will dance to any tune you play. You can
learn to write simple code in an afternoon. Start with a language
like Python, which was written to give non­-programmers an
easier way to make the machine dance to their tune. Even if you
only write code for one day, one afternoon, you have to do it.
Computers can control you or they can lighten your work ­­ if you
want to be in charge of your machines, you have to learn to write

I'm finally getting around to reading Cory's book, which has been sitting on my desktop in PDF form for the last couple of months. I just got to this chunk at the end of chapter 7 and thought I would share it. By the way, the book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, that means you can go download your own copy, I highly recommend it.

He even mentions Python, only the second time I've seen it come up in anything nearing pop culture. That is, if you count XKCD as pop culture.

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Baltimore, MD, United States
Husband and father, software developer in Baltimore, MD.