Results tagged “books” from Ye Olde Rad Blog III

"Pick the professor, not the course" is sage advice for those heading off to college. With that in mind, I've discovered an exceptional instructor for folks wishing to master some of the programs contained in Adobe's Creative Suite.

Deke McClelland | Boulder, ColoradoSeems like I'm always up for learning some new digital tricks and » Deke is da-best instructor of Adobe programs I've found yet .. where the term best means easiest to learn from.

He specializes in Photoshop, but also teaches Illustrator & InDesign. It's clear he has been teaching and refining these courses over many years.

Of course, we all have different learning styles, so we respond differently to different types of instructors. But I feel comfortable recommending any of the titles he has authored, especially those contained in his trademark series » One-on-One.

I like how he comes across as someone who is more concerned that students learn the program and its accompanying toolset than trying to impress you with their level of knowledge. I most like that he obviously has the technolust. His enthusiasm is contagious.

His courses nicely balance a folksy demeanor (he lives in Boulder) with technical jargon. Very personable. Doesn't seem to take himself too seriously.

For example, he has no problem referring to Illustrator's Selection and Direct Selection tools as » "the black-arrow tool" and » "the white-arrow tool." Little touches like this help demystify Adobe's most sophisticated programs.

As mentioned last week, here's a brief ('Radified') intro to the introductory course on Programming I've been researching » How to Design Programs (HtDP).

This entry is distilled from info contained in the Preface. If a real programmer could check my phrasing for accuracy (to ensure no glaring errors) I'd appreciate it .. cuz I'm not yet familiar with all the terminology. See here:

How to Design Programs | An Introductory Course on Programming

Everybody should learn to program! Programming teaches a variety of skills (e.g. » critical reading, analytical thinking, creative synthesis, & attention-to-detail) important to many professions.

Educators should therefore give Programming the same priority as Math or English. [ RADical statement, no? ]

The HtDP course de-emphasizes the details of programming languages in order to focus on » the design process.

Two things make this course different from other introductory courses on Programming:

  1. Explicit design guidelines (comprising a 6-step process that begins with Analyzing-the-problem and concludes with Identifying-errors-thru-testing).
  2. The DrScheme programming environment (which is able to grow with a student as they master more material).

Programming boils-down to two essential concepts:

  1. Relating one quantity to another
  2. Evaluating a relationship by substituting values for names

The Scheme programming language allows students to focus on these two basic aspects, making it the natural choice for beginners. Students are therefore able to develop complete programs during their very first session.

"Computer Science is not a science," proclaims a professor at MIT, drawing an X over the word. He's introducing an introductory course on Programming called » 'Structure & Interpretation of Computer Programs' .. aka SICP. (Watch the video yourself » HERE.)

The Wizard Book » Structure & Interpretation of Computer Programs, by Abelson & Sussman

Less than a minute into the lecture and already I'm curious. "If it's not a science," I wonder, "then...??"

"It might be engineering," he continues, as if reading my mind, "Or it might be art. We'll actually see that computer so-called 'science' actually has a lot in common with magic."

I smile at this point, having gained insight into the graphic displayed on the book's cover, understanding why some refer to it as » The Wizard Book.

Then he draws an X over the word 'Computer' and says, "It's not really about computers either." (Okay, now I'm really interested.)

"The reason we think Computer Science is about computers," he continues, "is for the same reason the ancient Egyptians thought geometry was about surveying instruments ..

.. » because, when a particular field is just getting started, and you don't really understand it very well, it's easy to confuse what you're doing with the tools you use."

So-called Computer Science (he explains) is really about formalizing intuitions & knowledge about » Process (a word he writes on the board .. he's a lefty, btw). He then clarifies himself by saying, "How to *do* things."

Started reading Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground today. Somebody wrote (in pencil) on the top of the title page (library book, I have the Pevear/Larissa translation) » Extreme feelings of the underground man: anguish, caring, inadequateness .. all of which I can easily relate to.

Notes from Underground | Dostoevsky

So, even before the first page, I became intrigued. I actually *like* books that are marked up .. to see what others have found interesting. And this one is well-marked.

Wikipedia says it's, "considered by many to be the world's first existentialist novel." Plus its main character is a writer whose entries resembles a blog. Another source claims this is the book that made Dostoevsky Dostoevsky.

The book (1864) opens with the very first sentence connected to the second by an ellipsis. I've long-used a shortened version of this technique to connect many of my own sentences. (The two-dot ellipsis.) Never saw anybody else do it, either. Just created it myself. (Which is why you won't find anybody else doing it.)

Three dots seemed too many. I tried using a semi-colon, but it felt .. awkward. (Necessity is the mother.) Maybe some day they'll give my two-dot ellipsis a name .. such as » the radicon (Radified pausing connector), as a grammatical technique to connect two thoughts with a brief, thoughtful pause.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » Fyodor Dostoevsky Notes from Underground book 


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