Over the holidays, I completely ignored the internet/email in order to get lost in books, magazines and movies. One of the most poignant articles I came across was ‘Coding for the Masses’ by Clive Thompson in WIRED. http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/11/st_thompson_wereallcoders/
In the article, he referenced Douglas Rushkoff”s book ‘Program or Be Programmed’ which makes the case that learning the basics of coding should become part of mainstream curriculum.
But, while I’m eager to read Program or Be Programmed, I have a feeling it’s going to make me want to do > make > code > create > as soon as I finish the book. Problem is, out of the hundreds of resources out there- I have no clue where to start first. I’m completely uninitiated to all things coding and also highly intimidated by the thought of it. And I thought there might be more n00bs like me; willing but wondering where to begin.
So in the true spirit of coding, I emailed Clive himself to ask how he would break down the dense process of learning to code into smaller, more manageable lessons.
Amazingly, (admittedly, the whole office heard me gasp when his response popped up in my inbox. I do love that the internet and all her latest platforms basically exist to endlessly dare you to reach out/start something, create something/ or just ask a burning question) he wrote back rather quickly with the following suggestions:
“I decided last year to try programming again and a
friend suggested I try Processing. It’s a very fun language because it’s
a) easy and b) specializes in letting you easily create interactive
visual things on screen.
There’s also an excellent how-to beginner’s
book — http://oreilly.com/catalog/0636920000570 — that I’ve been
using; it’s superb for the complete newbie. If you decide to try it I
recommend buying the book in PDF format, because it’s a lot easier to
cut and paste the bits of code than to laboriously re-type them out of
the paper book.
I’m maybe 1/3 of the way through the book and I’m having a lot of fun!”
Hopefully you’ll also find his suggestions worth test-driving, or maybe have other resources to recommend. But because doing something new is usually better with a buddy, my charming new mate Daniel Edmundson and I are planning to form a small group so we can work our way through the books & exercises while co-teaching our way out of n00b status. Bourbon will be involved. If you’re interested in forming clusters of aspiring coders, hit me up. Meanwhile we’re planning on posting our progress and any tips learned along the way, so more to come.
Aaaand because the universe has a dry sense of humor - my attempt to ‘unplug’ only led me to a new hobby which will require me to spend even more time online and thinking about everything that occurs online, I’m OK with that. Following the Clive’s advice doesn’t exactly seem like a misstep.
Happy online shopping:
Note: Originally I titled this post as An Ideal First Monday Of a New Decade (rather than new year), which would have been incorrect according to Q Blog: “because there is no year 0, the new ‘decade’ actually extends to 11.” See here: http://qideas.org/blog/ten-most-significant-cultural-trends-of-the-last-decade.aspx