Friday, August 17, 2012

Programming and Cats

I completed all coursework for my B.S. Computer Information Systems a couple of weeks ago. That gave me a pretty good foundation for understanding the physical workings of computers, databases and networks. But, it's not enough. I want to know more. 

So, I've decided, with my new free time, I would learn computer programming. I don't want the formality of going back to school for it, though. I taught myself HTML in the 90s and SGML and XML in the 00s. I should be able to handle this.

I poked around on the 'net for a while, trying to figure out where to start. There are lots of recommendations out there. For me, personally, I decided to start with Python since it is a high level programming language, the syntax of which is human-readable, which is great for a n00b like me. 

The ultimate goal is to be able to program my own iPhone and iPad apps. I have a really good idea for one, but I'm too cheap to outsource - and I'm a terrible control freak when it comes to my projects. But back to the point, I will probably have to learn one of the C languages in order to get the app to do everything I want.

And so, I will begin at the beginning.

I went to the official Python Website ( and poked around there for a while. Ha! I'm such a n00b that they don't even recommend I start there. They graciously redirected me to a basic programming site, Computer Science Circles ( to learn basic programming.

Good recommendation. The site is taking me step by painful step through the basics. Some of this stuff I know, but the exercise won't hurt.

Oh, you're probably wondering what I'm doing up at 3:00 AM. It's because of my cat, Isa. Ever since we got the new kitten, Mufasa, Isa has been staying out of the house during the day. She refuses to like him or get near him. She hisses at him whenever he comes near. She waits until I go to bed, Mufasa in tow, before she comes in the house, drinks water, eats, and sleeps. This makes me worry terribly about her. 

Tonight I fell asleep early, around 8:30 PM, on the living room floor, hoping she would come in and wake me and we could spend some time together. I woke up around 1:15 AM but she still wasn't home. Worried, but resigned to getting some decent sleep, I brought Mufasa into the bedroom to prepare for bed - when Isa decided to show up! I was so glad to see her!

So, I shut him in the bedroom (Sorry, buddy!) and went into my office so Isa and I could have some alone time. It (used to be?) is our habit that she sleeps on a chair next to me while I plink away on the computer. So, she plopped herself down in her usual spot, much to my delight, but then I had to find something to do. 

I no longer have coursework, and I wasn't in the mood for social networking, so … I decided to go ahead and start my programming education. 

OK. Here I go …