Programming skills (was: Teaching kids about computers...)
ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Sun Nov 25 17:33:03 CST 2007
> Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2007 23:54:44 +0000 (GMT)
> From: ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk (Tony Duell)
> Subject: Re: Teaching kids about computers...
> >> Tools are developed to make a job easier and do it better; in my opinion taking
> >> advantage of those tools and doing things "the easy way" makes you more
> >> professional, not less.
> >I would agree, but...
> >1) Being able ot use the tools, however proficiently, does not
> >necessarily equate with being able to design/make those tools.
> Why do my recent posts seem to generate such odd responses...
> Or is it just me?
I shall refrain from commenting :-)
> Why the "but"? Did I imply anything of the sort? Did I say that a
> carpenter should know how to make an electric saw or even repair
> it when it would be a more efficient use of his time and skills to just
> take it to a shop or buy a new one?
I would not consider anyone to be a competant machinist if they couldn't
grind their own lathe tools. In fact just about every book i have on
metalwork, amateur angineering, clockmaking, etc. points out that many
specialised tools do have to be made in the workshop.
> >When you're prodcuing something, of course you use all the applicable
> >tools. When you're leaning about things, you have to do things 'by hand'
> >to understand them (and example of this, from another context, is that
> >photography couses used to insist that the students used cameras with
> >manaul focuessing and exposure cotnrol, so they could learn what said
> >adjustments meant, even though if you were being paid to take photographs
> >you would _probably_ welcome some automation).
> >In fact I will go further and say that the true professionals not only use the right
> >tools, but also fully understnad how those tools work and behave, because that
> >way they can use them more effectvely.
> I kind of thought that being "proficient," i.e. "having an advanced degree of
> competence" in their use of tools expressed the same sentiment.
> Of course as a professional you should know what those camera adjustments
> mean and do, but you don't necessarily have to know *how* they work unless
While I wouldn't expect a professional photographer to know, say, the
exact operation of the 3 escapements in a pre-war Contax II shutter (!),
there is rather more to knowing what a shutter pseed control does than
'it varies the exposure time'. I can think of serveral instances where
knwoing rather more about the shutter operation is essntial, e.g. flash
work with a focal plane shutter, and more interestingly how the shutter
design can distort the image of moving objects.
> you're interested or plan to go into camera design or repair, or expect to have
> to repair it in the middle of nowhere; "how they behave" is not at all the same
> as "how they work."
_I_ find it easier to know how something will behave if I know how it
really works. The latter is based on a few simple physical principles
most of the tiem, so it's not something I am going to mis-rememeber at a
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