Software Tip of the Code Iceberg

The week 1 introduction was already very helpful because it opened up the basic rules and syntax to how computer code works and made some of the functions of software I use, like Photoshop and CONTENTdm, more clear. The examples were demonstrations of how Javascript works (because it only needs a browser to work) with simple commands like “print”.

One example code snippet looked like this: print (1,2).

The computer will then spit out this: 1 2

R G B GraphicPhotoshop and Digital Images

Some concepts I already had a good grasp of like the RGB model of how color is produced on a computer where each of the three color channels; Red, Green, and Blue, have a value from 0 to 255. I hadn’t seen the RGB Color Explorer tool that he used that is similar to RGB Explorer from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project by Jon Perry

The programming piece that Nick Parlante explained so clearly was how a program can target individual pixels in an image and change their color or size and it gave me better insight into how Photoshop works on a much larger scale.

Green XSyntax and Error Messages and Algebra, Oh My

The explanation that was given about the ways that computers understand lines of code and how the error messages don’t always seem to make sense really clicked for me. When working with lots of metadata and trying to load it into CONTENTdm with a tab-delimited text file one can get very frustrated with the error messages and their lack of helpful information. I have more understanding of why it is difficult to give clear feedback on what went wrong and how diligent you have to be with details like punctuation that can make or break a line of code. I also see how the concept of variables and the way that learning algebra allows you to do more advanced functions in computer code, so I do have to dredge it up from its deep junior high grave in my brain. X = [whatever you want it to be] allows you to do lots of functions and change many things efficiently if you’ve coded correctly.

Computer Coding is People!

I appreciated the perspective that the professor gave on how computers are powerful in a certain way, such as their ability to quickly complete a massive amount of commands, but they are dumb in that they simply carry out mechanical commands and need specific syntax in their code to be able to function correctly. It takes human creativity to see a specific problem or function and figure out how to tell a computer to do it in computer language. As a librarian, I have many problems that I want to solve or cool features that I would like to provide to people but I need to learn to speak better computer to do it.

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