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[Comments] (8) Shoes: Often I complain to Evan (and anyone who will listen, which mostly means Evan) about my childhood growing up in the middle of a grape field. There's no point dwelling on the past like this, but I do it anyway. Here's the approximate rundown: I was just ordinarily unhappy until in early 1994 I got a copy of The New Hacker's Dictionary at the Cal Poly SLO college bookstore. I was a middling BASIC programmer, and suddenly I wanted to be a terrible C programmer who made an ass of himself on Usenet. This, I felt, was the future. But this future required connections and money and knowledge I didn't have. Frustration!

Now I can see things I could have done back then, but I'm fifteen years older and I've achieved the dream of being a terrible C programmer who makes an ass of himself. So I'm kind of nonplussed when I see people like famous science fiction author David Brin wax about the 80s and early 90s as a golden age of kids' programming education. BASIC, be it GW or Q, is lame, and to paraphrase a common saying about SF, the golden age of programming education is whatever age you are when you get Internet access.

These days the problem is that there is a plethora of programming environments, fragmenting the market for supplementary educational material. The one I most wish I'd had in 1994 is definitely Shoes, _why's Ruby toolkit that lets you do GUI programming with web-programming-like layout instead of the dominant widget-packing layout paradigm which is pretty insane. Of course in 1994 it would have been ANSI art windows or something, but you get my point, which is: Shoes is awesome.

My blurb for Shoes is: "Super-Hypercard". And rather than do a big boring document for Shoes like I did with Beautiful Soup, _why did the Shoes documentation as a fun little book. The dude is classy.

[Comments] (1) Dwarf Fortress Variant: Yesterday I thought of a new mode for Dwarf Fortress. In this mode you play an individual dwarf, as in the Roguelike mode, but instead of exploring ruins solo you're part of a running fortress. So this could be something you could drop into and out of in fortress mode; possess one of your dwarves and then jump back into planning the economy when neccessary.

Unfortunately I don't remember why I thought this mode would be fun. The only thing I remember deciding is that it was important your character be someone who'd created an artifact, but this was for story reasons. The other dwarves are willing put up with an artiste artifact-creator type wandering around doing random stuff instead of working.


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