Angie’s Blog

Because I Can

The Bet

Well, it’s not really a bet, but it sounded better as a headline.  Paul and I made a deal last week that I would dabble in his interests if he would try mine.  It sounds dirty until you take into account that he is an avid programmer and I’m a health guru.  It’s like mixing black and white and hoping for a rainbow, but we’ll give it a shot.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

So, the details of ‘The Bet’ go something like this.  Paul has agreed to put said-programmer body to use (read: loose weight and tone up) and I will exercise my nerdy muscle and take up programming.  I haven’t blogged in awhile but I knew this was going to be an experience that I couldn’t afford to forget.  It’s like getting your teeth extracted or dating a complete lunatic, you can’t afford to just lose that experience to memory!

It goes without saying that I’m a little lost at knowing where to start my endeavor so I asked Paul for some advice on which language to start with and how I should go about learning it.  He pointed me towards Ruby, a language which focuses on “simplicity and productivity,” (ruby-lang.org) making it one of the “easiest” (Paul) languages to start with.  I started at the Ruby website and went straight to their Ruby tutorial that is interactive and runs in the browser.  Pretty easy so far, nothing to download and the step-by-step prompts make it so you can get right to the good stuff.

I started the tutorial this past Sunday while I was at work.  Between scrubbing the gym floor and greasing the weights, I sat down to prove my l33t hackzoring skillz to the world.  Needlessly to say, that tutorial had me stress-eating brownies from the break room and hunting down a coke from my co-workers cubby in no time.  I’m sure Ruby is one of the easiest languages to learn but the fact that I overlooked is that learning a new language, regardless of how focused you are on simplicity, is going to be a bitch!  What helped me gain some glimmer of understanding of the language is how Interactive Ruby used references to physical objects when explaining the relationships between…the things.  The things being the brackets, quotations, periods, bleeps, blops and bloops.  Other then that, I was at a loss.  When Interactive Ruby wasn’t proving my inadequacy at spelling under stress (“r…e..v..r…dammit! how do I spell ‘reverse’??), it was crashing.  Alright, I thought, I’ll just jump ahead in the lesson and hit “help 3.” Nope, lost a big chunk of understanding when looking through the summary.  Exclamations, square brackets, chaining, oh my!  This wasn’t working, I realized.  I could spit out what they told me to write, but I wasn’t understanding a lick of it.  I needed a list of rules to follow, a reference guild of commands to use, the ability the type traditionally.  You see, that’s going to be another one of my setbacks – I can’t type without looking at the keys.  Now, I’m not talking granny’s hunt-and-peck, I’m talking a crack-head on a hit kind of hunt-and-peck.  I use my left index and my right thumb and index and can blast through a sentence if I know what I’m going to type (45WPM if it’s completely new content), however, I don’t think this style of typing will get me very far when learning how to program.  Not only does “poem.to_a.reverse.join.mumbojumbo” look odd to me, but now I have to be staring at the screen as I type to make sure all the little bleeps and bloops are in their correct spots because I am miles away from being able to proof-read code to find which bracket or hyphen is misplaced.

Learning to properly type will be an adventure in of its self, though, so lets just focus on the programming for now.

In conclusion, my first day of ‘programming’ was similar to any other first day of learning a new language.  Horrific, and I’m glad no one was around to watch my sanity crumble.  However, I do feel like I am a smidgen bit closer to earning my thick-rimmed glasses (hey, I’m blind, so sue me for being an impostor!) and I did enjoy the tutorial’s easy interface and guild lines, even if it takes me a couple days to finish it and even longer to understand it.  I am very hands-on and mechanical-minded so typing some gobbledygook and seeing it spit out jargon is a little hard for me to wrap my head around, but I’ll get there.

I hear “Hello World” makes it all worth it.

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One Response to “The Bet”

  1. deoryp

    this can only end well ;-)

    As a programmer, I find that one needs to do some amount of health guru-ing to feel like a real human…

    i think you got the bad end of this deal btw.

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