Programming Languages - look how far we've come!

by @edent | # #
List of computers.

Back in the 1980s, when my family first got a micro-computer, there were only limited ways to program your machine. The Internet was basically non-existent for domestic users. You could buy thick computer manuals, swap cassettes with other enthusiasts, or build a light pen and point it at a flashing square on your TV (Really!)…

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Why do we have different programming languages?

by @edent | # # | 6 comments | Read ~2,777 times.
Pencil protrail of William Shakespeare - as though he were a Klingon from Star Trek.

I made a little girl cry recently. "But why do I have to learn Python?" She wailed, "I like Scratch!" "I know," I said, "But there are different programming languages for different sorts of tasks." "That's stupid" she said, with all the perception of 6 weeks Code Club experience. "You can do everything in Scratch."…

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"Please interrupt me if I use an acronym or term you don't understand"

by @edent | # # # | 1 comment | Read ~190 times.

This isn't a new speaking tip - and it is one I've stolen from several other speakers on the conference circuit - but I want to explain how it made me feel to use it. I started my talk at Hackference Birmingham with an impassioned plea to the audience. If you don't understand something I've…

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Artificial Intelligence is a Horseless Carriage

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~256 times.

I've been thinking about words. The Chinese word for "train" - the mode of transport - is 火车. Which literally translates as "fire chariot". Long gone are the days when trains were pulled by a fire-breathing engine at the front, and yet this linguistic skeuomorph hangs around. English is not immune from this. The television…

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How bad is Scotland's Computer Science Exam?

by @edent | # # # | 7 comments | Read ~2,604 times.

Oh noes! The computer science exams taken by 16 year olds may contain errors! Computer science exam had coding errors https://t.co/hljJetFSbf — BBC News Technology (@BBCTech) October 17, 2016 As a professional computerist, I was intrigued to see what our fine young minds are being tested on. My memories of "computing" at school was being…

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Disappearing Computer (2002)

by @edent | # # # # # # | 1 comment | Read ~141 times.

In 2002, I wrote this dissertation as part of my B.Sc. at UEA. I've kept this edition as close to the original as possible. I've added in links (where they still survive) and inserted a few comments where I was ludicrously wrong or unexpectedly right. This paper is not especially well-written and, if memory serves,…

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