On Nov 2, 2006, at 12:23 PM, Skotty wrote:
Any help guides?
There was a fun side conversation on this at RubyConf this year.
Basically, you need to know this: Computers are really, really
Don’t buy that? Try this exercise:
Make up a random number.
You had no trouble doing that, right? Well congratulations, because
you just leap ahead of about 30 years of computer research in a few
Obviously, I’m being flippant here, but the point stands. Learning
to program is hard because you need to dumb yourself down to the
level of the machine and express problems in terms it can understand.
Did you ever play that game in school where you had to tell your
teacher how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? You write up
what you just know are excellent instructions and as you read them
the teacher makes a mess all over the place, spreading jelly on
unopened bread packages, table-tops, and other children, just by
following the instructions literally. The teacher is simulating a
In the RubyConf discussion we decided that our popular books and
tutorials don’t always do a very good job of teaching you how to
think like that. Therein lies at least one hurdle of learning to
Here’s another interesting point: most of us who have been speaking
to machines for a reasonable period of time can pick up new languages
pretty easily. The reason is that we already have a lot of practice
with the thinking-dumb part and we just need to learn the new
syntax. (Our books and tutorials are good at teaching this.)
Anyway, the point of all this is: don’t panic. We all go through
this adjustment period you’re in now. It gets easier. The problem
is that you’re just way too intelligent. Don’t worry though, we’ll
have you dumbed down in no time!
Welcome to programming.
James Edward G. II