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BlueWolf's Howl

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February 23, 2004

A Sharp Idea

I stumbled across some books on sale at Ocean State Job Lots. Most of the books are for outdated tests or old versions of software... but every now and then you can find treasures in these cast offs.

Two of the treasures I found were: Visual C# .NET Learning Edition (with software) and Visual C# .NET Language Reference. As you may know from my previous whinning posts, computer books cost around $50-$70 (US). These books were on sale for $4.99 and $6.99 (respectively).

The drawback is: I'm not sure if Visual C# .NET counts towards the High-Level Structured Language requirement or not. (I just wrote to enquire...)

Not to fret...I also have two books on C++ just in case. I've had the books for quite some time, but never got the chance to sit down with them. I went through the "C for Dummies" book about 3-4 years ago, so I have enough of an idea about programming to read the beginner books. Yeah...for some reason I'm on a computer language kick...

So...with the interest in Perl, Visual C# .NET and C++.... it only seems natural that I would need a place to work with this stuff. I think one of the things scaring me holding me back was that I didn't want to play around with this stuff and screw up the computer that I use on a regular basis. So my Linux box went bye-bye for a while. It was a curiosity/toy anyway. Now it's a "Development" box... ooooooh.... ahhhhhh....

I installed Visual Studio .NET this evening on "Deverly"... After the install, I opened it up and saw the interface. I must say it was quite intimidating. I was sitting there staring at something very different from anything to which I was accustomed. It looked like the interface of Visual InterDev - which I had only seen a few times in '96 when I was still a newbie. I could barely write HTML and still didn't know how to write a batch file yet. And there I was, getting a tour of Visual InterDev by some code guru who was talking 6 leagues over my head. But, the impression of the power of programming lingered. I saw this program create pages in minutes that would have taken me weeks to create -- if I ever could...

For those of us who had web pages before blogging existed... you know the feeling. I remember having to go to each page of my site to update the navigation bar. I remember all the copying and pasting I had to do (before style sheets existed) just to change the background color of my pages or add some new widget to every page. And now I go into the template or the style sheet...change what needs to be changed...save...REBUILD. Presto, change-o! The entire site (every page) is now updated. This process still amazes me.

Luckily, the "Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 24 Hours" book has the best intro:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is virtually indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke

Remember this and hold it deep in your mind: There's nothing magical about programming a computer.

Thank you for the reminder, Clinton Pierce...

Posted by BlueWolf on February 23, 2004 11:20 PM