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Monday, December 13, 2010

Why Computer Science?

I've always had an interest in things computery. When I was 13, my life goal was to work for Microsoft, but I never was particularly encouraged to do so. Also at 13, I wrote a LOT. My family saw this and urged me to pursue something along the lines of language. I'd tossed around this idea in my head and thus listed out the different "majors" one could have that related to linguistic ability.

I could pursue English as a major, but I never found it interesting to compose large pieces of writing. Creative writing would also be required somewhere along the line which would be enough to make me panic! I often say that I haven't an artistic bone in my body. While this is a slight exaggeration, it is just that: slight.

I did find foreign languages extremely fascinating, but I found that in taking foreign language courses the most fun was had in finding cognates. Not only cognates between language X and English, either. I would search for cognates between languages that were not my own. The problem I had with majoring in a foreign language was that I couldn't learn several at once. I didn't want to major in French because then what about German? And Italian? Russian? Japanese?

I know it is common for foreign language majors to major in more than one foreign language, but I wanted to learn more than just one or two languages. And then I realized it: It's not the languages themselves that interest me. It's the relationships between languages. It was linguistics that interested me: the problems with pragmatics and the translations of historic texts, the different types of morphemes, etc. These things fascinated me, but I always wanted to DO something with them.

I couldn't create a language... well I could, but why? I didn't want to study something that I felt the sole purpose was to teach it to other people. And I do know that linguistics has MAJOR applications, but nothing that interested me.

Learning to program and writing programs... these things make me feel like I do when I am reading something on linguistics. From what I've seen of programming thus far, there are similarities between it and linguistics. And, of course, one being the passion I feel in searching for an answer, trying to figure something out, and reading something new. Yes, I'm new at it, but here I am at 4:57 in the AM (still awake from learning more programming) typing out my thoughts on linguistics and the relationship it has with programming. I could go into depth with the nerdy guts of WHAT it is about linguistics and WHAT it is about computer science that make them similar in my eyes, but perhaps I will do that another time.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holy Crap, I Learned Recursion!

After an extensive (about a week) amount of time I decided to go forth into the unknown and learn: recursion. It was VERY confusing to me at first. VERY! But... I finally got it.

I may need to review what I have learned, but I think I have it down. It was a scary adventure and I may eventually write about recursion down the road as I get comfortable using it so that those who do not understand it can possibly learn it from me. Recursion seriously had to be pounded into my head several times before I got it. At one point I was pretty sure I would never figure it out and wanted to give up learning to program.

I have to remember that no matter how hard a problem is... I will likely always make it to the other side. So, we'll see what other things programming throws at me. Hopefully nothing too scary, but we'll see.

I am very excited to create some programs and already have some programs in mind that I could write given a little more persistence and knowledge. I can't wait until I actually have a cool web app up and running that I can show the world!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Hangman Program

While this program was difficult for me to write, I learned a lot of new things while writing it such as a do while loop. There was a way to avoid creating a do while loop, but it was good to learn something new so I'm glad I used it. Creating this program has really shown me that there are a large number of things you can do to arrays. This is also the first time where I've really experience the fact that in programming there are more than one ways of doing something.

The hangman program can be found here:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

War Game Program

It was actually fairly easy for me to write, but with the help of a friend who writes awesomely in Ruby on Rails, I was able to learn a better way to write this program. The program can be found here: