Seeking the name of the programming book Leo recommended

Hi Leo,

Years ago you mentioned a wonderful introduction to programming that could be downloaded from Rice University.

I wrote down the information on a scrap of paper and have carried it around, but never got around to using it.

I decided to download it today and realized that I had put it “somewhere” - but can’t remember where.

I would GREATLY appreciate a copy of the “recommendation”, so I could seek it out.

Thanks much.

stevesr0

If you’re serious about learning programming, I would recommend you take the free self-paced CS50 course from EdX. My review can be found here:

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Also, @Leo is a LISP programmer, and I know in the past he has recommend a specific book. I think it’s this one:
https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/sicp/full-text/book/book.html

@PHolder,

Thanks for the replies. I have recently turned 78 and am cautious about starting a new strenuous enterprise. I am a curious beast and Leo’s comments about the Rice offering were to the effect that it was the best introduction. I recently started to try to install something not available as a package in my distribution (blue-alsa) and that also turned my thoughts to “programming”.

Having misplaced the scrap of paper (a worrying sign for me) doubly motivated me to try to recapture that reference. So I still hope that Leo (or someone else who remembers the Rice program reference) will respond.

Having said all that, I will keep the references you provided in mind (and available through this forum).

stevesr0

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Ha - making progress. I believe he mentioned Dr. Racket and downloading something with it from Rice University.

I also found a comment he posted on a mastodon site that he found a teaching approach derived from this by a teacher at UBC (Gregor Kiczales] to be much easier to use to learn, than using the HTDP approach that the developers of Racket produced.)

So now, I have several things to investigate.

Thanks all.

stevesr0

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Well, learning is good for the old noggin they say, so good on you to have the fortitude to play! :slight_smile:

The EdX course starts off teaching with a drag and drop visual tool, called Scratch, which is very good for learning beginners. And it covers the basics of computers in a very engaging way. The videos are on YouTube, so I’ll link you to the channel because there is a lot of interesting videos there, though out of context of course, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcabW7890RKJzL968QWEykA . The “Lecture 0” (because computers start counting from 0, not 1) is this one, so you have a flavour of the course presentation:
https://youtu.be/jjqgP9dpD1k

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@PHolder,

thanks for all the suggestions. I will check them out and get back.

stevesr0

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@Stevsr0: SICP (The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs) is the legendary first course in computer programming from MIT, but it’s very difficult for beginners.

Before you attempt that, I recommend you start with How To Design Programs (that’s the one that was used at Rice and elsewhere): https://htdp.org - it uses the free DrRacket environment. Racket is a scheme, a latter-day lisp, but as they use it in the book it’s a much simplified teaching language. It’s intended to get out of the way so you can learn coding concepts without having to struggle with language syntax.

There’s a well-done free pair of online courses from the University of British Columbia that teaches HtDP at edX.org: https://www.edx.org/course/how-to-code-simple-data I highly recommend them (I’ve done them myself.)

When you’re ready for SICP (and I suggest a strong math background) check out the videos from the original MIT course on archive.org: https://archive.org/details/mit_ocw_sicp

All this used to be in my email signature - but then I deleted it prematurely when I exited Keybase. grrr.

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Hi Leo,

Thanks for the detailed exposition. That gives me enough material even if I have to shelter at home through 2022.

stevesr0

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Addendum: Am looking forward to a new show on Linux that people have been talking about.

(Also would like a show on networking.)

stevesr0