Code, Coding, Coder

When I was a precocious ten year old, my Dad sat me down with our 486 and showed me the essentials of BASIC, via the inimitable QBASIC, and I wrote HELLO WORLDs and flashing text and extreeemely basic calculators, and I downloaded free games on AOL that were coded in BASIC*.  Later on, I immersed myself in MUDs, or Multi-User Dungeons, the precursor to today’s MMOs, and adored the command line interface, the macros, and that I could play a huge, immersive game with just the keyboard and never have to fiddle with the mouse (with which I have always battled).

Then, despite all predictions, I dropped it!  I tried to take an intro to javascript class in the early 2000s, but something didn’t click (or I was far, far too lazy – take your pick) and it got dropped again.  Over the years, with the advent of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, open-source, linux, and actual, real-life women being represented in tech for the first time, yknow, ever, I’ve gotten excited about structure-level geekery all over again.

For my math qualifications, I was required to take an intro to computer science class, which was taught through Python.  Brilliant!  I excelled at the projects and homework, made friends of the phenomenal and warm instructors, and got my feet wet in Python 3.3.

I continued working on various side projects with 3.3, that is to say, I had no main project at any given point, until I went to OSCON, or the Open Source Convention here in Portland, at its 15-year anniversary convention.  The strength of the movement is greater than ever, and I want to be a part of it.  So I went home, dual-booted Ubuntu, and started Learn Python the Hard Way**.  I nearly named this blog “rachellearnspythonthehardway” or “rachelslpthw” but would eventually like to make this a much broader blog, outlining many of my coding adventures.  I’d like to go through Learn You A Haskell For Great Good! as well, and as a hopeful future math educator, I’ll also be discussing the ways in which I incorporate programming into the high school (or middle school, as employment will have it) classroom.

So let’s begin!

*If anyone knows the guy who made the game Elysian Fields (it’s not the one based on Halo, and it’s not the one made and sold [the one in question was a freeware, hobbyist-made game] in 1984) as well as lots of other BASIC games that he released on AOL in the mid-90s, oh god please contact me.  I’ve stumped Google.  Those games were fantastic.

**I was running python 3.3 on windows and rather than figure out the way to run two versions of python, I installed linux as well so I could re-learn that and not have to fiddle with several versions of python, as Learn Python the Hard Way only teaches in 2.7, for very good reasons that its author, Zed Shaw, has outlined here, toward the bottom.


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