27 Nov 2004 donscarletti   » (Master)

Well I'm into my copious amount of holiday I get for being a student. I am trying to work out what to do with it. My half finished multiplayer space shooter-rpg (an old but almost stable version can be found at www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~cmmo862/ripoff.tar.bz2) needs love. But rsvg could do with some elbowgrease as well. I'm wondering what I should devote myself to first. Well, no, that isn't exactly correct, I'm really wondering whether to work on those two projects or just sit around, play computer games and drink beer for the whole three months (which is what is actually going to happen whatever I decide).

I'm going back to the beautiful Coffs Harbour to stay with my family for the last time ever. Even though I myself moved out of that city two years ago, it still seems like a second severance from my childhood to have my parents move from the town I grew up in. I imagine saying goodbye to the place and the people I know for the second time will be just as hard as it was the first. Having my parents move to the same city as me will also be strange. I have never properly used my new found freedom that I got from living 700km from my parents. I havn't yet used my freedom to run a pr0n site, a meth lab or an international governmental extortion syndicate, but I sure will miss it. Of cause it's not like I'm moving in with them, but I just would feel more comfortable the next time I wake up next to a transvestite midget prostitute with one arm after a night of hard drinking if I can simply assume that my parents were a day's drive away and therefore didn't see me.

I'll be teaching my little brother (who is 13 now) how to program while I am staying with him. I've already sent him a list of languages I'd be willing to teach him (Python, Haskell, Perl, Java, C, C++, 386 assembly). I also gave a list of pros and cons for each language. I've tried to make it fairly impartial and accurate, but you know, that's hard sometimes if Java's on the list. I stuck the asm there because I though hell, if people learned with assembly back in the sixties when nobody knew how to use computers then my brother who's been using computers all his life aught to be able to learn it as a first language. I didn't put basic in there because if I taught him basic he might keep using basic and that would shame me more than if I found out that one of my great grandfathers was really Hitler. Sure, I used basic for a while but that was before anyone told me any better. I really wonder what language he wants to learn and am kind of exited about teaching him.

My university teaches Haskell has a first language, it's kind of an odd choice. If you have never used Haskell before here is a short description: it is functional, before you say "oh, that's just like lisp, it isn't that odd" I will clarify my statement, and say haskell is not like lisp, lisp is a "functional language", Haskell is an "anally functional language", that is: no iterative elements, none. Haskell is what I'd call a bureaucratic language. It has it's weird ways of doing things and if you don't conform it will just send you away. So basically students come out of Comp 1011 not knowing what a variable or loop is (Before you say "monads dude, monads", we were told not to use them). 1011 is long gone for me of cause, I just thought I'd mention it because I was thinking about first languages.

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