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tags/Issue-001
Kenneth John Odle 2 weeks ago
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\OT1/jkp/m/n/10 1921 by Theodore and Mil-ton
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Chapter 2.
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Chapter 3.
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Chapter 4.
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Chapter 5.
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[]\OT1/jkp/m/n/10 I'm not where I want to be yet (and I def-i-nitely won't be f
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\contentsline {section}{\numberline {3.17}usr}{28}{section.3.17}%
\contentsline {section}{\numberline {3.18}var}{28}{section.3.18}%
\contentsline {chapter}{\numberline {4}A Scanner Darkly, but with a workflow}{29}{chapter.4}%
\contentsline {chapter}{\numberline {5}Is This Really a Hack? Or Is It Just a Tip?}{32}{chapter.5}%
\contentsline {chapter}{\numberline {6}Coda}{35}{chapter.6}%
\contentsline {section}{\numberline {6.1}What I Learned About \LaTeX {} While Creating This Issue}{35}{section.6.1}%
\contentsline {section}{\numberline {6.2}Why \LaTeX ?}{36}{section.6.2}%
\contentsline {section}{\numberline {6.3}What's Next?}{39}{section.6.3}%

18
001/codex-001.tex

@ -191,6 +191,22 @@ And yes, in the early days, computers did not have a hard disk drive. I am writi
Twelve year old me's head probably would have exploded.
What I loved the most about working on those old TRS-80s was the sense of control that I had, at a level I had never experienced before. When you're a kid, there's a lot that is beyond your control. When you're a poor kid of color in a one-stoplight town, there even more that you can't control. You lack a lot of the agency that better-off, less brown kids have.
But for three hours every week, I could be in control. All of our programs were written in BASIC (TRS-BASIC, if I recall correctly) and if something didn't work, it was up to me to figure out what was wrong with it. There was nothing wrong with the computer, of course. It only did what I told it to do, and when I told it to do something that made no sense or that it couldn't understand it simply threw up its hands and gave me an error message. \footnote{This mindset is a good one to have, and has saved me hundreds of hours of troubleshooting things. Rather than assume the computer is in the wrong, I generally assume that I've told it the wrong thing. What was the last thing I told it? Ah, \textit{there's} the problem. As someone who has helped numerous people with their computer problems, I can assure you that 95\% of all computer problems are either PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair) or PICNIC (Problem In Chair, Not In Computer). Of the remaining problems, 4\% are ID-10-T errors, and the last 1\% is an actual computer problem, which is usually solved just by rebooting.}
Frustrating? Yes, it \textit{was} frustrating, until I realized that every mistake I made was also an opportunity to get better at writing code. It was an astounding amount of freedom.
That was partly because there was no textbook and no curriculum. The instructor, Fred, was always available to help, to guide, to encourage, and to answer questions, but he mainly left us to our own devices and never told which direction to go in. He left it completely up to us. He was the ultimate travel guide: pick a destination, and he would show you on the map where it was and how much water was in your way. If you needed to know how to use a kayak, he was happy to help, and he didn't care if we got carried away on a side-quest and never got to our original goal. It was a completely open learning environment and it was utterly \textit{amazing}.
Of course, such things can never last long.
I'd hope to repeat this opportunity in the eighth grade, but it wasn't an option, and I never found out why. I imagine that somebody somewhere decided kids this young didn't need to learn anything about computers, because it was either or fad or it was just so much ``communist computer clap-trap''. (This was a very small, very conservative town, after all.)
So eighth grade was back to the grindstone of multiplying binomials, memorizing endless (and pointless) historical dates, and dodging bullies in the hallways. Our PE teacher was an ex-marine who began and ended each class with military drills, so the joy of IF THEN GOSUB was replaced with TEN-HUT! LEFT FACE! RIGHT FACE! MARCH! In one short year, I had come full circle.
I wouldn't get my hands on an actual computer again until eleventh grade. But that's another story.
\chapter{What's to Like About Linux}
I could go on and on here, but I'll try to keep it short. I can always come back to this. (And I probably will.)
@ -687,7 +703,7 @@ Issue \#002, maybe?
\noindent For Travis, who kept things simple.
\noindent For Ryan, who never made anything simple.
\noindent For Ryan, who made things complex.
\bigskip

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