Sunday, December 20, 2009

Favorite comments of '09: vlorbik on computer programming

re Interactive computer programming environments: essential yet elusive, vlorbik writes:

everything got hugely harder with "windows".

in the DOS environment, one had BASIC
right there, ready to go,
on every box on every desk.
you'd open it up, find a program that runs,
and start banging on to see what happens.

also "BAT" files. anything you kept doing
over and over the same way? just write it out
once and run it whenever you need.

right there at the top level directory
where you can't miss it. and self-explanatory.

i can't do the exercises you set a few posts
from now at all now; noplace to start.

..."but you *just* have to..."
download this, install that,
buy the other.

yes. if you happen to *own*
the computer you're working on
and have a fast connection
(and probably some free access
to competent tech support
and god knows what else).
so it looks easy to whoever it is
telling me it's easy.

meanwhile, if i want a list
of pythagorean triples
(beyond the famous 3,4,5
and 5, 12, 13 that everybody knows)
i'll have to (re)-write the code
on my f--ing graphing calculator to do it.
thanks a lot, GUIs.

1 comment:

Dee in MI said...

I know this doesn't go right to the point, but if you put "pythagorean triples" in wolframalpha.com, you get a nice list. And if you put "pythagorean triples" in Wikipedia, you get a full explanation of what they are, and a list. Frankly, I'm doing more and more in my browser, anyway, which works on whatever computer (or smart-phone) I'm on.