Archive | April, 2012

program OriginStory;

10 Apr

Facts: In my youth, I assembled computers for fun and profit. I laboured over IO conflicts. I swore blue murder at corrupt DLLs. I taught myself HTML, CSS, BASIC, Visual Basic and Turbo Pascal. I owned a machine that booted into DOS; I upgraded that machine to Windows 3.1. I dallied with RedHat. I battled script kiddies as an ‘@’ on IRC. I slapped people around with a large trout. I read and memorized the words of The Mentor and the colours of the books.

Fact: I did not, at any point, consider becoming a developer of any persuasion. Alright, I did consider it. But I was less than enamored of having to take Mathematics/Further Mathematics/Physics in lieu of my preferred Literature/French/Economics combination. I had also, due to the way my (excellent, all-girl, somewhat myopic in their subject grouping) high school scheduled these classes, not been able to take technical drawing. 

And so it was I went along the path of humanities, with regular deviations to stay up all night when I broke all my domains at a stroke (there was a time, children, when you had to do manual upgrades/reinstalls of WordPress, and those things could go terribly, terribly wrong). And along the way I cultivated a well-developed reddit habit, and never quite got over my fondness for plain text files.

I didn’t study mathematics or computer science, and I could never dare to argue that my dilettantism with various languages, scripts and frameworks would ever qualify me as a developer.

But I am a problem-solver by nature and nurture, and I love technology. And I learn best by doing or teaching. And man, do I love challenges.

So today – partly on a whim, partly because I have for some weeks been surrounded by talented developers of all stripes and inclinations, and partly because I’ve been enchanted by the ethos & team behind Skillcrush – I decided to get my technowonk on and set up (yet another) blog.

The devil is in the details of the ‘setting up’ – SpintoApp, which launched into public beta today (and which I read about on Hacker News, as good international relations majors do) – requires a working knowledge of Git, a more than passing familiarity with the command line and a willingness to spend some time haunting Stack Overflow if you possess insufficient quantities of either. Oh, and a Markdown- compatible editor (I recommend ByWord).

These words might mean nothing to you, or you might be in stitches at the sheer n00bness of it all. Doesn’t matter. There is no One True Path. The tools and technology available today have made it cheaper, easier and more possible than even for ‘non-technical‘ people to learn and experiment. 

I don’t agree with the argument that “everyone should know how to code”, but I do feel very strongly that no one should feel too intimidated to learn.