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28 May 2013 @ 09:48 pm
Code Monkeyization  
So, I've been thinking for a couple months that I should really learn to code. I actually originally got into Penn's School of Engineering for Computer Science after taking a programming class focusing on C++ in high school, and with visions of string.h and void main()[1] dancing in my head, I went off to Penn, where they proceeded to focus on OCaml, which I both hated and couldn't wrap my head around--the two concepts may be related, come to think of it. Anyway, I transfered over to the School of Arts and Sciences, got a degree in English, and went into journalism, bailed on that for teaching, and bailed on that for data entry.

Increasingly, though, it seems like programming is just one of those things people should be familiar with the same way computer literacy became a thing everyone had to have over the last two decades. I've written before on Facebook about Peak Employment, and it may or may not happen and may or may not be as bad as the apocalyptic projections, but I think it's undeniable that the trend is toward increasing mechanization, streamlining, and computerization. There's still plenty of space at the moment for people to fill in the cracks where computers are inadequate--hell, that is literally the function of my entire department at the AMA--but that space is going to get smaller and smaller as time goes on.

This is also kind of a problem with my desire to do translation work. Japanese is different enough that anything more complicated than simple phrases has about a 50/50 chance of being total gibberish if run through automated translation, but it does keep getting better and better, and I've seen it get much better even just in the past few years, even if my friends do sometimes have to come to me to translate things because Google Translate isn't cutting it.

On a more practical note, during my interview for my current job, my boss asked me specifically if I had any programming experience, and I said that I did not. I obviously still got the job, but I wonder what would have happened if I had said that I did know how to program? That seems like a pretty good hint that it's something I should look into.

And in a more personal goal, I'd love to make my own roguelike. Much like with RPGs, I prefer a classless, levelless, skill-based system in my roguelikes, and the field is really small. There's Cthangband, and...sCthangband, and...basically nothing else. TOME4 and Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup kind of have a level/skill hybrid, but it's nothing like the Cthangands.

I do have some resources already (for example), and since my father is a tech executive who used to be a particle physicist[2], I asked him for resources as well. It does add another task on to the pile of things I want to accomplish, both useful--study Japanese, read books and write reviews, finish my novel I'm already 100K words into--and less useful--beat the games in my Steam backlog, read books and write reviews[3], read the various forum threads I have saved in my Pocket account, catch up on my blogroll...

I never used to understand people who asked for more hours in the day, because I didn't have that many long-term goals I wanted to accomplish. Now, I'd gladly take a few extra hours.

[1]: Though checking on the internets, apparently "void main()" was nonstandard usage introduced by Microsoft's compiler and not anything inherent to C++ itself, and is now heresy like unto Monophysitism.
[2]: Or as he will clarify when asked, assistant particle physicist.
[3]: How useful this is is heavily dependent on the book I'm reading. Something like this is probably a waste of time, for example. :p
 
 
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