Programming

It seems every time I begin a new job I go back to dreaming about something different. More interesting. More consistently challenging. So it is and so I’m back to trying to program.

I read an essay about some hackers from back in the day stuck at the airport after a conference. The group included Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and others. One of the group decided to introduce Petals Around the Rose to everyone. Most of the group got what was happening after a bit, but some didn’t. I understood the game at the explanation of the first roll. For a second I thought, “Hah! How brilliant I am!” Then, I recalled that I was introduced to the game about 11 years ago while in college.

It made me wonder about how we acquire and retain knowledge. Why some things stick in the brain and others don’t. And it got me back to wanting to program. The desire has been with me for so long, but I don’t put in the consistent effort to achieve results. The progress I make isn’t rewarding enough to keep me coming back. So, I take breaks. The latest break ended about a month ago as I had made some updates to my Dad’s website. It’s badly in need of a total overhaul. Hopefully I actually get to that at some point.

The essay concluded with an anecdote about Steve Ballmer. Apparently, that game stuck with him as whenever he encountered a new programming language that interested him, instead of doing a simple ‘Hello World!’ he programs a version of Petals Around the Rose. I decided to do that myself.

https://github.com/joehalvarson/Python-Petals-Rose.git

I was surprised that I had retained as much as I had. I haven’t touched Python in almost exactly a  year and hadn’t done much other than read. But, I put together something that works. It isn’t perfect, but it works. And for the most part I slapped it together myself (maybe that part is incredibly obvious!).

My biggest hurdle was in getting the dice to print to the screen. Stack Overflow helped me get through those. I’m still disappointed, though. I’m not really sure I could have figured that out myself. That’s something that’s still a big hangup for me. I can’t consider myself above a beginner level if I can’t figure out how to do some of this stuff myself. It’s fine if I don’t come up with the most efficient method, but I need to be able to figure out some workable way of accomplishing a task.

I started reading some more on design patterns in programming. That will hopefully help. One of my biggest knowledge gaps is in how to organize things. I also started reading other people’s code. That will be a great help and something I’ve not done enough of.

Goodbye June

I’ve been doing a lot Codecademy over the past month. It’s gone well. I have a much better understanding of JQuery and in turn, Javascript. I’m completely caught up on their lessons for Code Year. I even came up with a t-shirt idea, $(‘i’).animate(‘theDom’); or $(‘i’).manipulate(‘theDom’); something like that. Perhaps I’ll actually put that out there somewhere. Now that I have so much JavaScript experience (SO MUCH) I’d like to explore using MelonJS again. Javascript is quirky, but with a better understanding of the basics I feel more comfortable diving in.

My Python learning has been on the back-burner. Now that I’m all caught up for Code Year I’m going to go back through Learn Python the Hard Way and finish that up. I’m about half way through. I stalled once I got to the section on making your own adventure game. Instead of figuring it out and doing what I knew how, I tried to tackle too much, which is what led me to Pygame, and Invent Your Own Games With Python. There’s also a sequel that was written to IOGWP that I may get into soon called Making Games With Python & Pygame.

At this point I feel the best thing I can do is set myself on a small project and hack away at it until it’s complete. I’d love to have a mentor who could take a look at what I’m writing and offer guidance, but I’ve yet to meet anyone working in Javascript or Python. There are a lot of groups that meet about Python, but they meet on Wednesdays and I’m busy with improv at HUGE Improv Theater at that time. I still haven’t made a schedule, which leads to a lot of time wasted. I’m not a good scheduler or planner. Must plan. Must work. Must learn.