Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

some odd minutiae

Two towns over, the water main broke, reducing water to the county by 70 percent. We're all on "don't sprinkler your lawn" rationing, and hoping for smooth restoration.

We went for a walk last night with our little dog on the Trinity Trail, on which the katydid and cricket song now makes a "wall of sound" I find appealing. Then we dined on turkey hot dogs.

I joined two yahoo message boards this week--one for the Logo computer programming language and one for the folks, whose music I have followed for some years. I note the way that netiquette varies so much from group to group. I posted something about hunting unique, non-virtual-synth software ways to make music, and the Odd Music forum folks replied with ten great ideas, ranging from ring-tones to odd granular synthesizers to using a gamer's power glove as a music maker. I posted on the Logo board my desire to write a Logo string art program that also makes music as the "turtle" draws the strands, and the moderators have yet to allow the comment to post.

All hobby things I pursue are silly, and my Logo idea may be sillier than most--but it was certainly no more silly than interminable posts of "I'm a school teacher and computer engineer in Yonkers. I use Logo to illustrate collaborative learning technology in my classes to teach inter-dynamic multi-phasic simple addition to 6 year olds. I'm interested in fellow education technology specialists to explore unique interfaces for universally sustainable tortoise-ian robotic sum extraction".
I rather sympathized with the fellow at who downloaded Logo from a free site, only to find the instructions for this easy to use language incomprehensible.

I used to have Logo on my Commodore 64. I had the coolest Commodore 64 on the planet, a special limited-edition run with initials like DX or SX or LX which looked like a modern CPU with a little computer monitor screen built in. It was like one-stop computing. Its full 64K of raw, molten power ran a Logo program on which I could do all of the simple things, and none of the complex things. I wish I still had that computer, but my wife sold it to an eager child at a yard sale in 1991. Commodore user groups still flourish, of course--even user groups for the old Adam computer, a marvel of limitations, still abound. But I do not think I'll troll eBay this week for Commodore 64s.

I do want to re-learn Logo, if for no other reason than that I'm tired of never having known much about computer programming, and of having forgotten all I knew, since those heady days in college in which one class actually had us build a little Heathkit computer, using pliable lead wires and a "motherboard" that was rather skimpy, but had light bulb sockets.

I do like, a bit, that Logo and Lego teamed up, to use Logo in robotics. I think that the similarity in spelling, if nothing else, is a good reason for the two notions to work side by side.

I suggested to my wife that we could have tremendous fun taking a vacation in New York City to take the Logo Foundation's week-long instructional seminar in how to program in Logo. I proved unable, despite significant advocacy skills, to "sell" the idea of how sitting in a classroom for a week convincing a turtle to graph out
lines would provide the vacation experience she traditionally seeks. Yesterday, she worked on finding us a nice lake rental instead, centrally located near a lot of people we know and a lot of historical sites.

With all the freeware I have located lately, posted by noble and saintly open source software designers, I go through three phases. Phase one is the thrill and excitement of finding just what I was looking for, in a website which writes who
code should be free and how the desiger has created this piece of software to do
x, y and z. Phase Two is the download phase, which always involves a bit of suspense as one sees if, after unzipping, the program will actually load. Lastly, there's the
"big picture of an interface with incomprensible functions and knobs", that moment in which I realize, with a sinking feeling, that virtually no documentation exists on the program and that the program will only work for the creator and for people who know how to work other, similar programs which use similarly weird interfaces.

In other world news, hate is all around us, including in our neighborhoods in the unlikeliest suburbs. Love is what we need.

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