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Gregory Weber
Attended University of Evansville
Lives in Tipp City, Ohio
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Gregory Weber

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While reading up on graphics processors, I was diverted (via graphics workstation -> workstation) to the IBM 1620, which was considered a "workstation" in its time.  I cut my programmer's teeth on this machine, around 1970.  Oh nostalgia!

It was a strange machine, by today's standards.  "Everybody knows" that computers use binary numbers, but this one represented all its data and instructions as decimal digits!*  It even did its arithmetic the way we learned in elementary school: one column at a time from right to left, using addition and multiplication tables stored in memory, and could do this with pretty big numbers (thousands of digits).   Computing was a lot simpler in some ways then -- a human "operating system" to load programs, and no worries about proprietary graphics drivers, since the only I/O devices were a typewriter, paper tape, punch cards, and a few switches.

There is nothing intrinsically "binary" about computing.

Let's face it: my programming teeth were chipped badly enough from writing in a decimal machine language; if the machine language had been binary, my teeth could have been knocked right out of my jaw.  I have to agree with the authors of a popular programming book of the era:

'For the following two reasons, the machine chosen for this total organization study is the IBM 1620 computer: First, the 1620 is a physically small machine of good computing power whose size makes its availability to a university, and subsequently to a student, more practical; second, the 1620 is a computer that uses the decimal system of arithmetic.  It is our belief that a "first" machine
should be decimal in its internal arithmetic. This is not to say that a decimal machine is superior to a machine using another arithmetic system, or that the converse is true. There is much to be said for each one. However, the problems of learning basic machine concepts are difficult enough without confusing the situation by adding the complexities of a new or less commonly used type of arithmetic.  It is also our belief that adequate study of this single computer prepares one for further study on a whole host of other machines, including computers using binary arithmetic internally.'

-- From the Preface of "Basic Programming Concepts and the IBM 1620 Computer", by Daniel N. Leeson and Donald L. Dimitry, (C) 1962 Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.  This and other documentation available at http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/ibm/1620/

*It was all decimal down to a certain level.  Below that level, each decimal digit was stored as binary coded decimal 4 bits for the 8 4 2 1 and two extra bits.  But the decimal level was the level where one programmed.
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Gregory Weber

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Joy of programming, joy of teamwork:
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Gregory Weber

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"Gimme Shelter" -- I would see this, if I were still going to movie theaters.
 
"If you try to extend your empathy to every human being on earth, from conception to natural death, you will simply fail -- as liberals do, so they end up favoring free laptops for Rwandans, along with abortion on demand. There’s not enough butter on earth to spread across that much bread. On the other hand, if you limit your moral concern to those with whom you can feel empathy, you will act like a moral monster. The answer lies elsewhere -- outside the emotions, in the solemn and timeless rational truths that compose the natural law. Whatever your gut pretends, the fact remains that every human being on earth, regardless of age, is starkly your moral equal. That’s true in the same sense that gravity and mathematics are true, and true regardless of how you feel about it. So act accordingly, and maybe your gut will catch up with your brain. Or maybe not. Do the right thing anyway: it’s called being an adult." [emphasis added]
A new mainstream Hollywood film, 'Gimme Shelter,' explores the world of “throwaway girls” and the crisis pregnancy shelters that embrace them.
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Gregory Weber

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Wildly inaccurate, and wildly funny for anyone who knows about a few programming languages!
 
Incomplete and mostly wrong history of programming languages.

"1957 - John Backus and IBM create FORTRAN. There's nothing funny about IBM or FORTRAN. It is a syntax error to write FORTRAN while not wearing a blue tie."
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Gregory Weber

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Holy Saturday: "He descended into hell"
 
Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.
"W</i></b>hat is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and rai...
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Gregory Weber

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I need to read this!  Or at least skim it!!  Or---!!!
The hours stretch on, the to-do list grows,you have to work late again, otherwise you’ll never get it all done—right? Wrong.
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Have him in circles
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Gregory Weber

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Posts like this are seriously tempting me to do a little Haskell right up front in my beginning programming class, currenty using Python.

#Python #Haskell   
I've been inspired by the efforts of others (Chris Smith, Manuel Chakravarty) to try teaching children haskell as a first experience of programming. Haskell has a reputation of being a "hard&q...
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Depends a bit on what you want to achieve. Having taught both, I don't think there's a big difference in intellectual capacity you need to learn either.

What Python does well is giving a pleasant introduction into lightweight imperative and OO programming. What it does somewhat worse is structured efficient algorithm development.

What Haskell does well is mathematical/algebraic reasoning. But that comes at the cost of a self-imposed straight-jacket of pure functional reasoning over programs. They trivialized algorithmic development to the point that it sometimes becomes impossible.

So it depends on what you want to learn students. Algebraic reasoning or mundane program development. It makes sense to see either as the precursor to the other.
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OpenShot, my favorite video editor.  Thanks to a successful Kickstart campaign, this open source program, developed originally for Linux, will also become available for Windows and Mac OS X.
 
Video preview of OpenShot 2.0! For all the awesome details, check out http://www.openshotvideo.com/2014/05/may-development-update-video-interview.html.
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Gregory Weber

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 'they kept reflecting on a comment made by Paul Graham ..., who said something along these lines:
"If you're a technologist, most software is bad. Think of the worst software you use and you probably have a business idea." '

Sounds like good advice to me!
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Gregory Weber

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Here is a nice "philosophical rant" about the differences between BSD and Linux -- philosophical and technical differences.    It seems a bit dated, but still relevant.  Short story: order or chaos.
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Gregory Weber

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xkcd nails it again with their excellent explanation of the Heartbleed Bug http://xkcd.com/1354/
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Have him in circles
72 people
Anita Weber's profile photo
Ambrose Little's profile photo
Zander McLander's profile photo
Alex Flory's profile photo
Kyle Jacobs's profile photo
Daniel Santa Cruz's profile photo
Pamela Justice's profile photo
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Tipp City, Ohio
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Ann Arbor, Michigan - Mobile, Alabama - St Paul, Minnesota - Green Bay, Wisconsin - Bloomington, Indiana - Evansville, Indiana - Angrenost - Anorien
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  • University of Evansville
    Mathematics, 1969 - 1973
  • Indiana University
    Philosophy, Business, 1974 - 1981
  • University of Michigan
    Computer Science and Engineering, 1990 - 1992
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April 6