Monday, November 07, 2005

Rotting Our Analytical Minds

Over this past weekend, I downloaded a couple of the Visual Studio 2005 Betas from Microsoft. I am trying to diversify my vocabulary, language base and thought processes in programming. I decided to finish learning C++ and learn J# so I downloaded those two, as well as the Web development tool. I have looked briefly into Visual C++ and J#, but started of mostly in Web development, working on the browser based Wevonger program to work along the same lines as the Delphi written Devonger I have been working on recently. The experience of working in 3 different languages simultaneously opened me up to a lot of thought and arguments in which is better. I work in two radically different assisted languages: Pascal in Delphi and JavaScript/HTML/CSS in Web Development. On the side, for my blog work I work in pure untouched code. The three different programming experiences have really raised questions on which are the most effective.
In assisted languages I can make much more complex programs, much faster. In pure Code I am much more efficient from a resources point of view, as well as the integrity and full knowledge of my code. I came across similar dilemmas when I was experimenting with command line Python, but I only used Python for relatively useless things before looking into GUI interfaces (assistance). In the end I can not come to a good decision over which is more effective. I think it is essential for a program to know both and be adaptable. I think a programmer is marker by his skill of thinking in different ways and his ability to learn quickly, and not his knowledge of syntax. Even with my native tongue of Delphi I still frequent the F1 (help) key, because I see memorization of syntax as useless.
In my quest to enlighten myself on which sort of programming was more appropriate (and to avoid actual work) I scoured the World Wide Web. I soon came across an article with a hopeful title by Chrarles Petzold. I quickly turned to the man with 30 years of coding and programming for advice. After attentively reading the 20 page article and laughing at all the little jokes, only a man who spent 30 years coding could write, I started to form a better opinion of proper programming. Petzold had specialized in Windows Forms and C programming. Now he was over to C# and new his Pascal and C++, but his mother tongue was different from mine. However, I was able to understand his words and feel the feeling that tore him apart. I was able to understand and synthesized with the uncertainty of which was better: human code or computer assisted code. In the end both of us came to few conclusions. The only thing that was really established for me was the true addictiveness of the shortcuts computer assistance gives us.
I recalled the days when I had to make a second form for the first time. Before then Delphi always manufactured my first form for me and when I had to create another one from scratch I was stuck scratching my noggin. In about five minutes I had the code down, but the main thing was that hesitation at first and the lack of proper education in form creation. I realized that having Delphi create my form was bad for my programming mind, and yet I would never get rid of it.
As Petzold wrote in his article, “Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind”:
It is very common for us to say about a piece of consumer technology that “we didn’t know how much we needed it until we had it,” and much of this technology seems targeted not to satisfy a particular need, but to get us hooked on something else we never knew we needed; not to make our lives better, but to tempt us with another designer drug. “I can’t live without my ___________” and you can fill in the blank. This week, I think, it’s the video iPod.

Technology has become a drug that we get hooked on and can never get off. Not only does this apply to IntelliSense in Visual Studio, or auto complete in Delphi and the VS predecessors. The curse of technological addiction also applies to non programmer applications, like MSN, WinAmp…. Spell check. The first two are constantly running on my computer and I do not know what I would do without them. I can not imagine going through hundreds of CDs or records in my player or even listening to the same artist twice in a row. My phone usage is a bare minimum that only sees itself used when someone’s internet goes down, when my computer illiterate mother calls, or when I am just too confused to type. My spelling is probably on the level of a grade school child from around a century ago, because I can always just click F7 and have all the spelling mistakes in this post fixed automatically.
Technology has become both a dream and a curse for not only programmers, but all of its users. Soon we will be hovering around our school hallways saying emotionless ‘lol’s to each other.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Blu~ said...

Ya know I could have sworn I posted a comment here a while back and for some reason it just disappeared or never did for that matter but hey stranger things have happened. My analytical mind has been rotten for some time and I think that I would just assume have it be and stay that way, yeah I would, later...

2:05 AM  

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