How to learn programming (part two)

From part one, you should be all set up to write a program that’s a little more cool than “hello world”. Let me reiterate why we’re about to do this: the best way to learn programming is to 1) think of something to make, then 2) figure out how to make it. Step 2 is where all the learning comes from.

Step 1 is not trivial, though. In fact, when I was a fledgling programmer, that was the hardest part. That problem will get easier as you get better at programming. But to start out, I highly recommend writing simple games. That gives you more options because games don’t have to be useful. It takes a larger knowledge base to write a useful program. The end result is also 1,000 times more interesting than a typical “write an inventory program for this imaginary store that no one cares about”. I’ve been afflicted with that in at least one introductory computer science class. Continue reading

How to learn programming (part one)

Welcome to programming, the chemical process by which pizza is converted to software. Most people have sufficient experience with the first half of that process, so here we focus on the second half, which is slightly more difficult. I assume you already know why you want to learn to code, but if not, there are several great reasons:

  • so you can have a better career
  • so you have more reasons to eat pizza
  • so you can ascend to a higher plane of existence
  • so you can get points with the ladies

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Nearer, Dear Savior, To Thee

I recently performed the hymn “Nearer, Dear Savior, To Thee” in church. I adapted it from a great arrangement by Andrew Hawryluk. I condensed the choir parts into a clarinet solo, adding some ornamentation to the third verse. The piano part is the same. In addition to the PDF, I’ve included the lilypond source code so others can modify it further if desired.

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Money management

I made an awesome new budget thing last week. I hesitate to call it a budget because that word has connotations of strict categories for all expenditures, careful logging, etc. I find those things aren’t helpful to me. Those might be needed in a situation where you have to coordinate between different people (e.g. a family, a business, the church), but I’ve found those types of system to be unhelpful for me personally.

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Child Labor

I didn’t have my first job until last September. I was 20 years old, recently back from my mission. I had somewhat half-heartedly tried to get a part-time job while I was still in high school, but I never landed any interviews. My income throughout childhood was thus limited to family related things such as doing extra chores for money. I wanted to get a job in high school because I wanted to help pay a little bit for my mission, and I simply thought it would be the nonlazy thing to do. In hindsight, it’s probably best I never got a job. Continue reading

Clarinet Ergonomics

I’ve played the clarinet since 6th grade; about nine years as of writing this. Through much of that time, I’ve received a lot of trouble from my right pinky finger. D/Eb trills and the like were my nemeses. I would practice for a few hours each day before my mission, and a great deal of that time was spent working on nothing but my right pinky. I never really conquered it. Below is a video of me playing the first movement of the Mozart concerto at a solo & ensemble festival in 2012. My sluggish pinky got the better of me in measure 110 (2:50 in the video—start it at 2:43).

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One Eternal Round

The fourth article of faith states, “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” These four elements, with the addition of “fifth, enduring to the end,” make up what Nephi refers to as the doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31:2). Most of us are aware of the cyclical nature of this doctrine. Continue reading

Why blog?

I like writing about the thoughts in my head because it helps me to have more thoughts.

(That’s why I’m writing this particular post, in fact. I want to make sure I understand concretely what I’m trying to get out of this blog)

I often have rather in-depth monologues going on inside my head, but they usually stay there unless they make it into my journal. Blogging will help me to get a tighter grip on all the ideas that come into my head, and ideas are valuable things. Paul Graham has written an entire essay about this concept. In it he explains: Continue reading