Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Start With a Soldering Iron
Close followers of TheHackerCIO will know that he's in major retooling mode. Fresh back from Karate in Japan, he's retooling not only his Kata, but his technology. He's donned the white belt for a fresh look at tech from hardware up.
From the basics. The fundamentals.
It was increasingly clear from last year that I needed to get hardware back in my life. Sitting in our CIO and CTO offices, listening to our classical music leaves us far too detached. We need to get physical, physical. We need to get to the hardware. At the AT&T Hackathon several months ago, the hardware hackers impressed and inspired me with the "wearables" they concocted. And now, it's easier than ever to get involved with Rasberry Pi -- whatever your age -- and do some interesting hardware/software projects that interact with the environment in interesting ways.
I wish I still had the URL to an essay I read years ago about how to become a "guru" at programming language X. [I no longer remember the exact question, or language, and Google hasn't helped source it]
The advice given, I'll never forget:
1. Start with a soldering iron ...
2. move on to mastering operating systems ...
3. now learn networking ...
4. and assembler ...
5. Start working up the High Level Language Stack. A lot of optionality here. Perhaps:
Java [forget C++]
Which short-list gives us a good basis in procedural, and then functional languages. Maybe throw in Prolog for a declarative language.
There are other considerations, of course, but this makes a good overall syllabus. And it's more or less the program I'm embarking on for the next good while.
Bought an Asus laptop as working fodder for the review: I'll start by picking up the new-to-me windows 8 touch-screen nomenclature and interface, then re-partition it to become a dual-boot ArchLinux and Windows box.
I already learned that, unsurprisingly, as CDs and DVDs are increasingly scare on laptops, recovery disks in Windows are now just USB sticks. And, they only take 512M, which easily fit on the 7G stick someone was nice enough to give me at the SCALE 12 conference last month. All of this is good to know, and once again, helps keep everything real.
Keeping It Real,