[plt-scheme] RE: Perplexed Programmer: My Story...

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Fri Aug 31 15:15:47 EDT 2007

Thanks for the experience report. I actually imagine that this
is how some of my freshmen experience the world (despite the fact
that the very first program they write is the simulation of a
rocket launch or something like it instead of 'hello world.')

-- Matthias

On Aug 31, 2007, at 2:37 PM, Carnell, James E wrote:

> I really shouldn't be writing this because I have been deleting  
> most of
> the posts without reading them (unless there was some code to look  
> at).
> In other words I only have vague ideas what you are guys are talking
> about and am proceeding to open my big mouth. This post is a cliff  
> note
> to my undergraduate intro to programming as a MIS major and is  
> factually
> correct though obviously biased.
> Goal 1) what made me hate programming
> Goal 2) For someone to say yeah I agree there, or you were slacker  
> boy,
> and got what you deserved.
> Me> Hooray! I'm a beginning programmer in my first course !
>     Expectations/Goals: I'm going to program a chat bot by the end of
> the semester.
> Guy one seat over> "Do you know how to program?"
> Me> thinking to self ...in Excel if you type =SUM(A1:A5) it sums...
>     "I don't think so."
> Teacher> Get your books out we're going to talk about OOP!
> Unfortunate Event = 'C by Dissection' this book == bad
>  			- Bigger than Harry Potter
> 			- No pictures
> 			- No inspiration... Even by page 400 it was the
> new symbolic catechism of programming.
> 			  You could repeat this book forever and never
> see the light.
>                     There wasn't anything in there (I love drawing  
> junk!
> Even if it's a damn square)
>                     I wanted to get to. It was all this is a variable,
> method, another thing to get tested on.
>     Note: Now that I know a little bit I can use this book, but as a
> FIRST book, sucks is an understatement
> Teacher>now let's Program
> Me> Hooray!
> Teacher> You'll have to log onto the 1960's Unix server... With  
> your CS
> pass word which is not your student password...
>  Going to the command prompt type the following... "q e0risadfl asd--
> 21232" ...make sure you get those spaces correct...
>  ...stuff...stuff.stuff... Now we are logged in and can load a file to
> be compiled... Type gcc ... unless
> Me> Lunchtime! Hooray!
> Guy One Seat Over> "Do you know how to log in and compile your  
> program?"
> Me> Thinking to self... "q e0risadfl asd--  21232" then gcc -something
>     "I don't think so"
>     "I don't even know where all our programs go?" <insert Twilight  
> Zone
> Theme>
> Teacher> "I discourage using Visual C++ compiler. Your homework  
> needs to
> compile on our server or you will get a 0 on your homework. Besides  
> the
> Visual C++ compiler has a lot features and modules that you will never
> use in this class. To make things simpler just use our compiler on the
> server" (seriously it is some 1960's Unix thing they keep in a vault
> downstairs... In the dungeon... with the Flintstones).
> Me> "Wow, I don't want anything more difficult than this..."
> Teacher> Now for our third homework assignment we are going to make a
> program that computes taxes based on a persons location and yearly
> income... (seriously this was either the third or fourth one, I  
> spent ~8
> hours on it). I HATED the compiler because it told me I was a screw  
> up,
> but it wouldn't even tell me in my own language. I've learned that  
> this
> will never go away and over time have learned somewhat what it saying.
> Me> Hooray! I just got a D I'm outa here!
>     Expectations/Goals: Survival, via crawling through the marsh and
> underbrush of Programming 101
>     Chatbot sorry, but NO WAY.
> To wrap things up, about 6 months ago I ran into a programmer.
> Him> So do you do anything with your degree?
> Me> Nope.
> Him> You should try Python.
> So I did. I didn't have to log on. Hell I didn't even have to compile.
> Whoa I can actually program something I want without having to  
> spend an
> HOUR on every hang up logging into that slug Unix basement dungeon
> server.
> Also in the past, I tended to block the OOP (it sounded like some  
> Wu Li
> transcendental programming philosophy rather than something useful).
> Last weekend I came across 'Headfirst Design Patterns' by the Freemans
> (notice cute girl on cover: Why couldn't my COLLEGE text book have her
> on the cover!) anyway, low and behold that OOP actually comes up in  
> the
> world and this book did for me what never happened in college.  
> Actually,
> there were people by my Junior year that I "had finally found" (thanks
> to divine intervention) who could  explain to me what all this stuff
> meant, but I hated programming by that point so I just took my D's and
> went on with life).
> Now I am coming back into the programming world (*now that I am OUT of
> college*)! I still suck, but at least I have a good attitude and think
> that I can program what I want to.
> Anonymous
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