Computers: You CAN Master Any Program

Written by Dina Giolitto,

There was a time when I didn't think I'd ever be a "computer" person. I was inrepparttar seventh grade, taking a class in MS-DOS and learning some program called Turtle. (I know why they called it Turtle. It was pretty darned slow.) I had to key in about 50 commands just to draw a half-inch line. I wasn't all that skilled at doing this. One little typo, and my line was going inrepparttar 136973 total wrong direction. I got a C+ inrepparttar 136974 class.

Today, I'm something of an unofficial computer geek. I can pretty much learn any graphics, word processing or utilities program onrepparttar 136975 fly, and I even surprise myself with html tricks from time to time. Now forrepparttar 136976 good news: so can you. "No, I can't!" you say. YES, you CAN.

Today's kids are little tech-heads. Ever seen a four-year-old grabrepparttar 136977 mouse and start web-surfing like it was nothing? It happens allrepparttar 136978 time. By age fifteen, kids are designing websites and manipulating photos like old pros. How can this be? Do they grow them smarter these days?

Well, I know some parents who'll tell you so, butrepparttar 136979 truth is, today's computer programs are designed so thatrepparttar 136980 average untrained human being can learn them quickly and apply them in myriad ways. We call them Applications because they're meant to be applied for practical use to enhance our quality of living.

I mentioned MS-DOS in my intro. Forrepparttar 136981 most part, today's user doesn't need to know a thing about MS-DOS. The reason? Modern computers run on operating systems, such as Windows for PC and OS for Mac. The operating system covers up all that wacky-looking MS-DOS code with windows and buttons that practically beg us out loud, "CLICK ME!" And click them we do.

Just likerepparttar 136982 operating system, most programs use what's called an interface: that shell or skin that hidesrepparttar 136983 code, and allows you to navigate and manipulate using simple clicks and commands. This interface is what enables us to just stroll on over and start making things happen onrepparttar 136984 computer without knowing a darned thing about programming or codes or much of anything.

It's these windows that we can open and shut, buttons we can click, and menus we can pull down using our trusty mouse, that let us accomplish tasks of great magnitude in record time, using these powerful machines. We can do some pretty incredible things just by POINTING AND CLICKING. If you think about this long enough, it might blow your mind.

Point and click. That'srepparttar 136985 basic concept of usingrepparttar 136986 mouse, and it's such a simple method that 3-year-olds take to it with ease. SEE IT, GRAB IT. This is how today's computers work, in a nutshell. With this concept in mind, computer programmers did a beautiful thing for all of us humble users: they were kind enough to develop a standard method of navigating through most programs.

Seek... and find. That's basically what your brain is doing as your hand points and clicks. Every time you use a program, you're searching for a word or a symbol or a button that will perform a desired action or take you to a desired destination. So, what'srepparttar 136987 big challenge? To think ofrepparttar 136988 word that describesrepparttar 136989 action that you need performed. Words like... SAVE. MOVE. DELETE. CHANGE. COPY. PASTE. You know those words! And you can learn even more words, easily.

Start Developing Your Own Software

Written by Daniel Punch

Learning how to program software seems like a daunting task fit only forrepparttar geeks and nerds who lock themselves away in dark rooms staring at their monitors for days on end as they pour over thick manuals written largely in zeros and ones. Fortunatelyrepparttar 136950 reality is that itís not as complicated to make basic applications as people may think. If it were,repparttar 136951 majority of nerds wouldnít be doing it becauserepparttar 136952 defining factor of our kind is an inherent laziness. Why do you think we like computers? The heaviest thing we have to lift is a monitor and thatís done fairly irregularly and for a very short period of time.

There are many different opinions on how you should start programming. Some advocaterepparttar 136953 method of throwing yourself firmly intorepparttar 136954 deep end and if you donít drown then youíre set for life. These people usually recommend getting stuck straight into C or C++. Others recommend a slightly easier starting point such as Java or C#, still quite involved but with a few more safety nets built in. Then there isrepparttar 136955 Ďkiddy poolí school of thought that advocates such languages as Visual Basic. These languages are really easy to get started in. You drag a few elements onto a blank form and then write some code that reads largely like Standard English. All methods have their advantages, but Iím a fan of starting somewhere inrepparttar 136956 middle with Java. My reasons for this are that Java enforces a certain amount of design and forethought as well as correct programming procedures that are somewhat absent from Visual Basic.

I canít go into every single language in one article because it would take too long andrepparttar 136957 only experience I have with languages outside ofrepparttar 136958 Microsoft stable is some familiarity with Java. Here are a few details about some languages.

Java Programming in Java is very similar to C/C++ development. It is object-oriented and well structured. There is wide usage of Java, and therefore there are a lot of libraries around that can be used in your Java program.

Pros: ∑ Java is platform independent, it can be run on everything. ∑ Itís free, you can just downloadrepparttar 136959 SDK and go. ∑ Itís easy to learn if you know C or C++. ∑ It provides automatic memory management. ∑ There are a large library of pre-built classes and many more available from aroundrepparttar 136960 net. ∑ Itís quite safe. Itís fairly hard (if not impossible) to damage your computer through programming in Java.

Cons: ∑ Speed. Java is quite slow, because it is essentially compiled at run-time byrepparttar 136961 systemís virtual machine. ∑ It is difficult to compile into a stand-alone application. ∑ Memory pointers are not allowed. ∑ Some people dislike being forced into object oriented programming.

C C has been around for years and has a large following. Many different people aroundrepparttar 136962 globe use it. A few other programming languages have also been written in C.

Pros: ∑ Large usage base. Easy to find help, other programmers, libraries etc. ∑ Simple core language, with further functionality being added throughrepparttar 136963 use of libraries. ∑ Very powerful. If your computer can do it, it can do it through C. ∑ Low-level unchecked access to computer memory using of pointers. ∑ One ofrepparttar 136964 fasted running languages. ∑ C code can be used in C++ applications. ∑ Programs are compiled and stand alone, no need for interpreters (sometimes external libraries will need to be installed onrepparttar 136965 target PC).

Cons: ∑ Relatively difficult to learn. ∑ Very little safety net. If you choose (accidentally or otherwise) to make a program that will access memory incorrectly and horribly break your system, it wonít stop you. It only pulls you up on compile errors. ∑ Non trivial programs could be hard to port. Programs have to be compiled for each specific platform. ∑ Not strictly object oriented. ∑ Code can get messy easily.

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