thedeadparrot: (geeky)
(posted by on Apr. 12th, 2011 07:18 am)
So I was reading Zadie Smith's review of The Social Network, because at this point [personal profile] ninhursag and [personal profile] merisunshine36 have convinced me that I need to see it, despite my initial resistance.

Anyway, it's worth reading as a meditation on a changing internet society from someone who does not quite understand it but is willing to try, and even though I don't agree with her about everything, I liked the thoughtfulness she brings to the subject. She's fully aware of her own uncertainty and lack of full understanding. (Also, for you Eduardo fans, she has some things to say about Andrew Garfield's face that made me think of you. :p)

But what really struck me is this section:

If it’s not for money and it’s not for girls—what is it for? With Zuckerberg we have a real American mystery. Maybe it’s not mysterious and he’s just playing the long game, holding out: not a billion dollars but a hundred billion dollars. Or is it possible he just loves programming? No doubt the filmmakers considered this option, but you can see their dilemma: how to convey the pleasure of programming—if such a pleasure exists—in a way that is both cinematic and comprehensible? Movies are notoriously bad at showing the pleasures and rigors of art-making, even when the medium is familiar.

Programming is a whole new kind of problem. Fincher makes a brave stab at showing the intensity of programming in action (“He’s wired in,” people say to other people to stop them disturbing a third person who sits before a laptop wearing noise-reducing earphones) and there’s a “vodka-shots-and-programming” party in Zuckerberg’s dorm room that gives us some clue of the pleasures. But even if we spent half the film looking at those busy screens (and we do get glimpses), most of us would be none the wiser. Watching this movie, even though you know Sorkin wants your disapproval, you can’t help feel a little swell of pride in this 2.0 generation. They’ve spent a decade being berated for not making the right sorts of paintings or novels or music or politics. Turns out the brightest 2.0 kids have been doing something else extraordinary. They’ve been making a world.

I'm at the point in my life where I'm really bad at teaching programming, because all of the assumptions, all of the thought patterns you need for programming have become second nature to me. It's hard for me to rewind to a point where I can understand what it's like for people who have never seen code before and who have no idea how to

So then, how do you explain programming to someone else? How do you write about it? How can you represent it? Programming at its heart is an act of creation, but the process of programming isn't very interesting. You can't fill people's minds with the joys of using a well-written library or the thrill of getting your code to compile for the first time. Literal programming is almost impossible to make exciting to non-programmers. The same vocabulary and background just isn't there. Most of the time I see programming show up (usually in the context of scifi), it's deeply metaphorical. There are virtual realities where you can craft entire buildings or artificial intelligences that are slowly manipulated into being.

I write about programming metaphorically, myself. It's such a huge part of my life and my the way I look at the world that I keep trying to describe what it feels like, and I'm just bad at it. My best attempt is probably Interpreted Languages, since technopathy is just an extremely advanced version of programming, is all. In order to be good at programming, you have to understand how computers think. You have to listen to them when they're telling you things aren't going right, and you have to be patient with them when everything is going wrong. I don't think computers are alive by any means, but I think that when you learn programming, you are learning a new way to talk, a new way to think. The vocabulary of a language defines how people can think in it, what ideas can be expressed, and computer programming languages make that so very literal.

I tried writing some stuff about programming languages into a fic once. This is only bit of it that's worth reading:
The theoretician in Rodney loves Haskell, loves the pure mathematical beauty of the language, but the engineer in him can't stand anything but the right-up-against-the-hardware power of C. The Ancients only use one language for their systems, simple and clean and powerful, and Rodney spends a lot of time staring at the unearthly code of their systems, tracing the control flow with the tips of his fingers.

I think that's some of the best I could do to capture the magic of it, the joy of understanding and learning and creating. It's a little like the joy of writing and reading, but not quite, and it's sort of like the joy of building something with your hands, but not quite. It's like both of those things and like neither of those things, and now I'm just going around in circles so I'm going to stop.

Also, I'm not convinced that Zuckerberg did it all for the love of programming, I gotta say. That dude's an asshole.

Because I might as well:

I'm at faviconthedeadparrot on the AO3. Subscribe to me - fandoms in the immediate queue include Sherlock Holmes (2009), SGA, and Sherlock (BBC)! (You'll need to log in to see the subscribe button.)
thedeadparrot: (Let it be)
(posted by on Jan. 20th, 2007 06:37 pm)

I have developed a taste for Bollywood. There's just something wonderfully honest about it's desire to entertain. It's action! It's angst! It's romantic comedy! It's a musical! And even when it's being absurdly cheesy, it's just so unselfconscious and kind of earnest about itself that you kind of have to love it. I've also kind of developed a crush on Shahrukh Kahn, even though he's not hot, like at all.

As of right now, I've only seen Main Hoo Na, and about half of Devdas, but never fear flist! I shall see more.


Anyway, yeah. I've been thinking a lot about female characters in pop culture and the lots and lots of issues surrounding them. Mostly inspired by this post and some of the comments.

I think one of the problems with ass-kicking female characters is that some people feel like making a female character ass-kicking is sufficient character development for a "strong female", and then just sort of let that be her only character trait. Oh, and maybe also falling for the hero.

Another major problem is that there just aren't enough female characters in general, so that the small number of female characters are charged with the burden of being almost representatives for all women everywhere, which they just can't live up to. In order to get a real representation for what women are like, you need a lot of female characters, to show the whole gamut, the whole range of possibilities. It's the same thing with a lot of other minority characters, too.

BSG is quite amazing in the sense that it has a lot of different female characters, and not only that, they bothered to give their female characters actual personalities. This is not the case on a lot of other shows. Which makes me sad.


Less depressing things! I've spent most of today messing around with Nightvision. The most obvious change is the new recs page, which is pulled from my bookmarks. These won't be updated all that often, as I generally only save the ones that I have a hard time finding again, and the only real point of doing this was so that I could mess around with Wordpress plugins for fun and be really, really nerdy.

I'm also kind of in love with Smart Link, because it's cool, and it makes my life so much easier.
thedeadparrot: (geeky)
(posted by on Aug. 4th, 2006 09:21 pm)
okay, so I've borrow the complete works of Arthur C. Clarke from the library, and I'm definitely not going to be able to read them all in time. So, If anyone's a fan, a list of stories I have to read would be nice. Like really nice. Please?

There's also this awesome Linux commercial that IBM did a few years back, and it's just plain cool, a little creepy as well, and not entirely accurate. Plus, it's kind of old. But it's still a really good ad. Go watch.
thedeadparrot: (there there)
(posted by on Jul. 30th, 2006 10:20 pm)
I'm trying to use Wine to run old school Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? and Oregon Trail II, but it's not working. This makes me sad. Very sad.
thedeadparrot: (good is dumb)
(posted by on Jun. 12th, 2006 06:09 pm)
Have been messing around with Deskbar and Beagle. Pretty nifty. It's trying really hard to be Quicksilver, I think. Still, I like it perfectly fine on its own. I'm still not used to using it, but I'm sure I'll fall in love pretty quickly once I use it on a regular basis.

I also installed Ubuntu on my parent's desktop. It's name is "wampa". I changed the name of my laptop, as well. It used to be "emery-419" after my room at Brown, but I figured since I won't be living there anymore, I should probably change it. It's now "tauntaun", because apparently I am a giant nerd.

Just watched the season finale of Smallville, and it's such a bad show, omg. And yet, for some reason I still watch it. Lois is still awesome. Chloe is still cool. Lex's manpain continues to bore me to tears. The Clark and Lex subtext is still going strong. Lana is beginning to develop a personality. I think. It's kind of hard to tell. Lionel continues to confuse me (in both good and bad ways). James Marsters speaking with his American accent still sounds weird.
thedeadparrot: (tux the linux penguin)
(posted by on Mar. 14th, 2006 11:39 pm)
I am quite in love with this multiple workspaces thing Linux has going for it. It means that I can separate out all my weirdnesses. Also, Linux makes it really easy for me to work on the CS lab's resources over SSH (considering that the CS lab also runs on Linux). I am very much in favor of that.

I somehow managed to finish my CS homework today, despite not being quite done with Giant EVIl CS Project of Doom, even though it's due afterward, though GECSPoD is close to being done, as I don't think I know of any other test cases to throw at it. Hopefully, the TAs won't throw anything really, really crazy at it. Hopefully.

So hopefully, I'll be done early tomorrow, and I can frolic amongst the pretty flowers. Or whatever.
thedeadparrot: (oh the angst)
(posted by on Mar. 3rd, 2006 08:21 pm)
Only use Limewire for one or two songs every gazillion days? There's the rather cute Cabos, which works for both Windows and Macs. No Linux, weirdly enough, considering that it's written in Java.

Boring screensavers getting you down? Really Slick Screensavers are, in fact, as slick as advertised. They're incredibly beautiful, though I would watch out for using them on older/weaker machines.

CSS Vault. Pretty CSS designs. I am so jealous. Fucking creative people. Oh wait, the alternative is really shitty looking, hard to read websites. Come back, good web designers, all is forgiven!
thedeadparrot: (geeky)
(posted by on Feb. 25th, 2006 11:15 am)
Dear Internets,

I think I love you lots. Let's go elope.

thedeadparrot: (mozilla love)
(posted by on Nov. 29th, 2005 10:00 pm)
Firefox 1.5! I'm all asquee. (though you should probably watch out for broken extensions and the like if you're updating.)

Release notes with all the new stuff. I'm especially digging the drag-and-drop tabs and the quicker forward and back functionality. The new site is looking kick-ass as well.

I also have a new, spiffy portable hard drive. When I get the chance, I'll see if I can get Gentoo onto it. Not sure when, precisely, but it would be cool.
thedeadparrot: (geeky)
(posted by on Oct. 26th, 2005 09:42 pm)
Mashups! Score. I love these things.

I'm digging The Colbert Report. Not a perfect show, not by most means, but it's still pretty good. I am also still amused by the fact Comedy Central could conceivably have a "news headquarters".

Also, there's a speaker coming to talk about George Lucas and Lucasfilm and ILM and stuff like that. I need to remember to go to that. I did a report on George Lucas in 9th grade. It kind of sucked, but I did it and I want to check it out.

My roommate is sick, which means I'll have to be extra careful if I don't want to end up taking my Econ midterm with a cold. Speaking of my Econ midterm, I'm still certain I'm going to fail. Yup.


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags