Brian's Waste of Time

Mon, 26 Jan 2004

I am Hopeless =/

I set my language goal this year as a reintroduction to C, and then to *nix systems programming with it, but... I'm bored. The way of thinking about things is nothing new, so it isn't stretching my brain a lot. I've done C before, I just never thought I was that good as I know a lot more about building real applications now than i ever did when i was using C/C++. It is just verbose, has longer function calls, and reads like bad Java. I find myself writing C for a couple hours and thinking the whole time that I could do the whole thing in ten lines of Ruby, or a hundred lines of Java.

On the other hand, I ran across a reference to the sweetest little objects primer I have ever seen, which prompted me to look up its inspiration, The Little LISPer, now The Little Schemer. As I am teaching an intro to programming class at the moment, and doing it objects first (go BlueJ!), this was a delightful little find.

Now, I have a very informal programming background, as do a lot of people, and the places that will let me in to take classes don't even teach scheme or lisp (a multi-year background project is to make up the academic background so that I can go back to grad school, again. I am a firm believer in theory and driving application from theory, but the universities in the US which accept part-time students (and actually have anything aside from Intro to CS (ie, variables, functions, and Logo) classes at night) do not teach theory, they teach bastardized practice in really bad ways, in my experience. This is a rant for another day, however) so learning a lisp dialect has been high on my todo list.

So, I ordered The Little Schemer today. I am hopeless. Maybe I can try for *nix systems programming in Scheme?

ps: despite having taught IT at uni's, and teaching programming now, I suspect that anyone who doesn't grok lisp should probably not be teaching programming -- I don't know why I suspect this to be true, but I suspect it is.

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