tonybaldwin | blog

non compos mentis

itchy itchy

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For some reason, I’m kind of itching to hack on something…
I haven’t really done anything more complex than a simple bash script or two now in months.
Of course, I’m busy, busy, busy, with tons o’ work, at the moment, so it’s not really an option.
And, another thing is, although there is a lot I would like to do with TransProCalc (user configuration of no. of certain parameters, working calendar/reminder thingy, clientdb, providerdb, etc….of course, I know absolutely nada about working with any kind of db, at all…), and even some work on my todo list for Tickle Text (find/replace needs serious re-working),
I don’t feel like working on that stuff.

If I didn’t have to work for a living, I could spend all kinds of time learning how to do the stuff that I want to do with TPCalc that I currently don’t know, and that would be cool, but, I suppose if I wasn’t working as a translator for a living, I might be less interested in developing a translation project management tool…catch 22, n’est-ce pas?

But, like I said, I don’t feel like working on that stuff.

I feel like starting a new project, or, really, cutting my teeth on a new language (or, at the very least, expanding my very dismally minute skills with either java or python).

The thing is, I confess, I took the fast-food approach to learning to hack in the first place.
I learned to write some bash scripts, and then moved into tcl/tk, in which it was practically trivial to start writing full blown gui applications, without really learning a whole lot about programming…
Heck, TransProCalc is the only thing I’ve written that I can claim as fully original, since a lot of bits and pieces of TickleText and TickleDict and other stuff I slapped together are borrowed code from tutorials and other FOSS projects (although, at least I modified the borrowed code, in many instances, to fit what I wanted it to do, to my credit…that’s gotta count for something, that I understood enough of what I was borrowing to make it do what I wanted, no? You’re allowed to do stuff like that with GPLed FOSS code, so long as you respect the license and, in turn, GPL your work.)
You know, like, I bought a working motor and dropped it into a pre-fab autobody, hooked up a few hoses and wires, using a very explicit instruction manual, and called myself a mechanic.
Or like I bought a keyboard with all kinds of preset rhythms and stuff built in, and pressed a few keys to turn the machine loose, and called myself a musician…
I mean, tcl/tk does all the work. It is a very easy language to start learning, and lends itself to allowing those with even a rudimentary and superficial knowledge to build stuff that not only works, but looks nice, too.
I want to know more, but, I lack the patience to slog through learning the real basics of a “real” language, like, say, C.
And, I kind of wonder if learning tcl/tk, possibly the world’s easiest programming language, hasn’t spoiled me a bit in terms of picking up a more object-oriented, although still interpreted, language, such as java or python.
To tell the truth, I don’t really think tcl/tk was the best choice of languages for my translation project management tool, anyway.
I think java or python would have been better, probably. I don’t know.
]project-open[ is largely written in tcl/tck, and it’s a huge, overly complex, grossly bloated (for my needs, anyway) project management program (although not specifically for translation projects, and, due to its complexity, not useful to me).
And the truth is, even my knowledge of tcl/tk, as mentioned above, is pretty superficial.
It’s a powerful language, really, but, you know, ridiculously easy to learn a few tricks and smack together some monstrosity that does stuff and looks nice doing it, without really having any real hacker skills, like the big boys have (mattcaron comes to mind).
I think I should learn perl and php, too. I’m certain those would come in real handy.
Oddly, even with the infantile skills I have gained with bash scripting and tcl/tk, I can read some perl scripts and make some sense of them, sort of.
Kind of like, knowing French, Spanish and Portuguese have enabled me to read something in Italian and figure out maybe half of it.
But, I couldn’t write or speak Italian (or perl).
I confess that java and python are less obvious to me (although I’ve managed to write a few nifty scripts in python. Can’t say the same for java, at all).

Basta ya….
I’ve got work to do…

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Written by tonybaldwin

July 23, 2008 at 9:25 pm

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