Thursday, April 06, 2006


So when I was in like the 3rd grade, the coolest thing in the world was this little turle called "Logo." He stayed still unless you told him to move, then moved in a straight line until you told him to turn. Using simple commands, it was possible to have Logo "draw" Spirograph kinds of pictures on a computer screen. Logo was one of my first loves (after Buck Rogers, of course - he still kicks butt).

At some point in time, my parents when to one of those "resort" presentations where they give you free stuff if you'll sit through their 90-minute schpeil. One of their free gifts was an Aquarius "computer." It was basically a keyboard that you hooked up to your TV. You could type in an entire program, then say "run" and the program would run. Basically it was Logo on very weak steroids. That was cool too. I tried all of their sample programs several times over, even the one that was for "Concentric Circles" that never worked. That one was several pages of text. And that was really cool to me.

When I was in middle school, one of our art projects was to create a picture by commanding the pixels on the computer screen to change to a certain color. That was the coolest art project I ever remember doing (actually, it's the only art project I actually remember doing). Aside - Why is it that I remember all of our Home Ec. projects, but only that one art project? Anyway...

In high school, I went to a month-long science summer camp (what? it was cool!) and "learned" a semester of college-level FORTRAN during that month. I don't remember what the programs were that we wrote, but I do remember that there was a guy there with my same initials (everything coming out of the VAX machines we were working on started with a big page of your initials and last four digits of your SSN so that you'd know who's was who's) and the joy of getting a program to do what you wanted it to do.

But somehow, by the time I got into college, I knew I didn't want to code. Word processing was fine (even back in the day when there was no GUI associated with WordPerfect - I amazed my dad with my WP skills in high school). Maybe it was because my family didn't get a computer until I was away at college (and then it was a Mac - at my suggestion, but still a Mac - which wasn't exactly known for the average coder's use at that time). I didn't get my own computer until several years after I finished college. Maybe I would have been more into it had I had more access to computers as a child.

I got through all the Mathematica and Matlab stuff I had to do in college, but I cringed all the way through those assignments (and relied heavily on my friends and classmates).

So why is it that in my spare time one Christmas break, I taught myself "C?" I still haven't figured that out. I think I was just very bored at work (this was during college).

Maybe that's the key because, being very bored at work today, I'm teaching myself Visual Basic. I figure that once I'm gone, the actual Executive Assistant will need to keep using this contact database that I've developed, so I should put in nice things like search and data entry forms. So I'm figuring out how to do that. Might as well learn something useful while I'm here, huh?

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