🏛 Stoas near [[@agora/2022 11 07]]
📚 Node [[2022-11-07]]
↳ 📓 Resource [[@agora/2022 11 07]]
- delivered an iteration on agora chapter very early today to the editors :)
- but alright
- This week looks tricky; I need to do my tax return by Friday (ideally by Thursday), and I can't really take a day off work as I have at least one crucial meeting to attend every day. Oh well. I'll do it in a half day?
09:53 birthday weekend
23 now. feels old; margot reminded me that 23 feels like a real adule age, where you have no excuses for being a kid and doing silly things or have any presumed institution shielding you from the real world. 23 is real; it's an age where I feel culpable for anything that happens, where I feel completely responsible for my world. i've wanted this kind of agency for a long time, and it feels both isolating and liberating - most and more aspects of my life are direct consequences of my actions rather than downstream from something set in motion not entirely under my control. this is good if i leverage it.
party at mine friday night after some late-night computer-aided reasoning homework; i'm getting tired of these events. i just want the space to create. saturday was margot and book fair (beautiful, inspirational work) and sitting in a park and reading mindstorms while watching berklee jazz musicians in Titus Sparrow park. the south end is beautiful, historic, and reminds me a bit of new york's east village; the otherwise haphazard buildings have a uniquely uniform brownstone look to them, the community feels incredibly diverse, and the nature makes the place feel incredibly pleasant to walk in. music playing out of windows and in streets. weird vegan places though. that fomu cookie tasted like a terrible granola bar.
reading mindstorms and helping arman learn web from scratch on sunday was enlightening; for one, starting with a client+server web application is a disgusting requirement for people learning to develop; if you thrust people into the deep end of software development, they'll drown and give up. i've seen this in oasis time and time again, in friends who copy pasted demos then never touched a line of code afterwards, in students of matthias' software development course who had no idea what the hell any of their code was doing when they presented it.
i buy that tools like replit and glitch.me make today's software development experiences more accessible for others; they allieviate the static costs of setting up development environments and hosting that keep people from building today's real-world, deployable software with today's tools. as a general educational device, though, these tools fall short; they allow anyone to be able to code and develop software from any sort of device - which is beautiful. they don't take the next step of learning through coding, though. papert's book intends to develop this symbiotic relationship between programming the computer and understanding the fundamental laws of our world through the robust development of analogy and the view that, in essence, learning is debugging some model you have with preconceptions about the world. No doubt, I've used robust systems like MIT Scratch, code.org and Lego Mindstorms with the express intention of conveying papert's work by starting with (literally) the concept of turtle graphics, but they throw away any notion of more developed physics simulations by continuing to encourage their users to memorize notation about class names and concrete syntax.
the coding environments and their silly little games in a sandbox are cute, but they never teach kids to break out - anecdotally, i built a little model operating system in scratch in the sixth grade with a friend - complete with garbage can and painting program - but proceeded to drop computer programming for years because i felt like i had hit the limits of the medium (and i had; the program was 5 mb, somehow maxed out the CPU power of the devices I had access to at the time, and occasionally crashed the scratch VM). I didn't program for years afterwards for this reason - that i no longer saw a path forward with the skills i'd developed through this programming environment - and because i had an incredible amount of difficulty attempting to translate the skills i'd developed with this model of a programming system to other models, like python, at the time. (this then opens up another box - the "which programming language should i use?" one - that keeps you on the edge and encourages you to dip your toes in different pools and youtube videos and blogs without diving in. I honestly think my world would have been simpler if someone cut off the internet, passed me a common lisp textbook, and told me to start writing). I ended up exploring other cultural avenues through the consumption of fashion, music, photography and design media, but taking a break from software set me so far back that i fear i'll never catch up to some of my peers - and the math and science misunderstandings i have might not be recoverable.
i don't want this to happen to other people. i want people to use learning tools that translate into real-world, deployable, "adult" things that feel no different than what is real. it's silly to me that there is this divide between educational tools and pragmatic ones; the transition should be seamless and obvious. (and provides opportunities for income… pay for hosting at a domain, for example).
should also encourage computing agency. introduce a metaphor for the desktop not as a way to open programs others have created, but as a programming environment where all of the code in the windows is code you can write and fiddle with and explore. my hypothesis is that building this metaphor and extending it to real, production software capabilities will improve learning and product development demonstrably. the sandbox should expand to the browser, to the operating system, and to shipping products in the real world.