I downloaded the preview of Microsoft Shell, aka Monad. One of the reasons I use Linux as my primary OS has always been the functionality of the shell. I won’t bore you with all the details, suffice it to say, it’s always been the most direct and easiest way to communicate with the kernel. Even a moderately skilled System Administrator can do impressive feats with the shell. If you put some time into it, you can quickly do things a GUI can only dream about.
A few years back, Microsoft declared the death of the DOS terminal and the command line in general. They figured that everyone had surrendered to their GUI interfaces and typing obscure commands into a shell was ancient history. Well, they were wrong. The success of Linux in the server room gave newbie Sys Admins a taste of the power of the shell. Before long, they were demanding that Microsoft bring back the shell and to make it more like the Linux shell. Microsoft has never been slow to answer the calls of their administrator and developer users. So we have Monad.
The first thing I typed into the MSH was the UNIX command – “ls
There is a really interesting article here – Does Visual Studio Rot The Mind? by a long time Windows programmer named Charles Petzoid, the author of Programming Windows.
In the article he questions the reliance of Windows programmers on the use of Visual Studio and it’s “code for you and hide the details”, way of programming. He feels that VS encourages poor programming skills and he frets that modern coders have become too reliant on the eye-candy of the GUI builder.
I have to agree with him on that. It’s interesting to see how reliant Windows programmers are on VS. Many of them have no idea that .Net allows them to grab a real text editor and code everything for them selves. You don’t have to use Visual Studio, in fact you actually learn more about how to program by doing things for yourself. I’m not saying that you should never use VS, it can be a real time-saver for quick, one-off tools, but for serious, very large projects involving many coders, it’s almost always better to do everything yourselves. That way there are no secrets in your code and everything works the way you intend it to work.
The whole XAML thing that Microsoft claims to have invented is not new at all. Linux programmers have been using Glade’s XML based interfaces for years. It’s just astounding to me that Windows programmers are so ignorant of how other platforms work. If you are a Windows Programmer I highly recommend that you get yourself a Linux box and do a little programming on it. Read a few Linux programming books and see how other programmers have lived for years without VS. It’s a real eye opener. I’m not saying you will like it better, but it will make you a more critical Windows developer for having taken the time to learn something different.
Who knows, you may actually find yourself loading Vi on your XP box and compiling your C# from the terminal.
NASA has released an overview of their next space ship. How We’ll Get Back to the Moon Looks like they are using Shuttle solid rocket boosters and shuttle main engines to design two rockets, a heavy lift cargo rocket and a Apollo-era style crew rocket.
Has NASA finally waked up from the Shuttle era deep sleep and realized that the best technology to get things into space is the rocket? Think of where we would have been had they chosen this design instead of the shuttle. I grew up watching shuttle launches in Florida and I always thought they were cool. But please, it’s a mini-van. We need a semi-truck to get things up into orbit and on their way to the Moon or Mars.
I just hope they can get this new set up built and tested before the Shuttle Program falls apart completely. I somehow feel that Burt Rutan will be finishing the ISS instead of NASA.
Programmers are just like any tradesman. We have several tools in our tool box that we use to make our lives easier. Over the next few blog entires, I will be exploring some of the tools programmers have in their tool boxes. As a tradesman you are expected to know how to use your tools to their fullest and to be able to pick which tool is the best one for the job.
Some of the tools a programmer will need include: In depth knowledge of your chosen platform – Operating System, understanding of your primary object oriented language, a passing knowlege of one procedural language and one scripting or text manipulation language, mastery of your chosen editor and IDE, knowledge of your chosen shell, the ability to debug, knowledge of web programming including HTML, a library of technical books that you can readily refer too, humility.
I will also be reccomending books on coding and anything else the least bit related to the art of programming. These will include essays and blogs by established hackers who should be known to all coders. Just like in any profession, you should know who is at the top of your field and what they did to get there. A fair amount of programmng history is also required to understand the jargan and the reason certain things are done the way they are.
If you think you might want to learn to program, get a Linux box, open a terminal and type “python”. Then get yourself a copy of Learning Python by Lutz and Ascher. Then code and code and code until you start to dream in code. Take a breaks occasionally, to watch a movie or learn about Linux. But nobody ever learned how to program by reading a book. You must do and do it often.
I’m a parent of pre-school age children. I know all about diversions. I can redirect the attentions of my children at the drop of a hat to discourage deviant behavior. It beats yelling at them and it goes unnoticed by them.
When the current administration railroaded the country into invading Iraq, I saw it for what it was – a diversion. Why else would we put all our military efforts into removing a dictator that we had been perfectly willing to contain for over ten years, while the people responsible for planning 911, go largely untouched into the night?
It’s well know that the Bush family and the Bin-Laden family have connections that are at best dubious. It’s far easier to go after a dictator then to flush out a terrorist. I just have trouble believing that the US Military, the greatest military in History, can not find one man on this planet. If all of our military assets were brought to bear on finding Bin-Laddden and in the process eliminating his cells, I have to believe it can be done. Instead of fighting a war of attrition in Iraq, we should be on a man-hunt for the real criminal.
The only one’s that should be in Iraq are the Iraqi people. Freedom does not mean anything if you have not volunteered to fight for it yourself. We gave them back their country, now let them sort out the details. They may not decide that our kind of democracy is for them. They might have a civil war. We did. You didn’t see any other country come into the US and say we should not fight ourselves?
It’s time to get back on target.
Welcome to my first WordPress blog. I’m not sure if I want to keep this, so don’t expect much from it over the coming days and weeks.