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Learn to Program (Pragmatic Programmers)

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It's now easier to learn to write your own computer software than it has ever been before. Now everyone can learn to write programs for themselves--no previous experience is necessary. Chris Pine takes a thorough, but light-hearted approach that teaches you how to program with a minimum of fuss or bother. Starting with small, simple one-line programs to calculate your age in seconds, you'll see how to have your webpage send you email, to shuffle your music more intelligently, to rename your photos from your digital camera, and more. You'll learn the same technology used to drive modern dynamic websites and large, professional applications.

I vividly remember writing my first program. (My memory is pretty horrible; I don’t vividly remember many things, just things like waking up after oral surgery, or watching the birth of our children, or that time I was trying to flirt with this girl when she tells me that my zipper is down, or setting my shoes on fire in my middle-school P.E. class, or writing my first program...you know, things like that.)

I suppose, looking back, that it was a fairly ambitious program for a newbie (20 or 30 lines of code, I think). But I was a math major, after all, and we are supposed to be good at things like “logical thinking.” So I went down to the Reed College computer lab, armed only with a book on programming and my ego, sat down at one of the Unix terminals there, and started programming. Well, maybe “started” isn’t the right word. Or “programming.” I mostly just sat there, feeling hopelessly stupid. Then ashamed. Then angry. Then just small. Eight grueling hours later, the program was finished. It worked, but I didn’t much care at that point...it was not a triumphant moment.

It has been more than decade, but I can still feel the stress and humiliation in my stomach when I think about it.
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