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Thread: computer commands and programing books for a beginner

  1. #1
    Web Wheeler
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    computer commands and programing books for a beginner

    My 15 year old son who is a borderline genius is really interested in computers, as I was at one time. (except then there was only DOS on my 283 Pac-Bell) He is just learning the proper way to use commands & trying to use java. Can anyone recommend good beginner books that will help him advance his skills?

  2. #2
    Ignore the machine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Trooper View Post
    My 15 year old son who is a borderline genius is really interested in computers, as I was at one time. (except then there was only DOS on my 283 Pac-Bell) He is just learning the proper way to use commands & trying to use java. Can anyone recommend good beginner books that will help him advance his skills?
    I would strongly steer him away from Java/C/Basic/Javascript/PHP, it's too easy to learn very bad programming habits that can be difficult to unlearn and really affect your future opportunities.

    The most important thing for programming is.. you've gotta have 'the knack" (see Dilbert cartoons for more on that). Some people have extreme difficulty truly understanding the concepts necessary to be a good programmer.. and some will never get it.

    IMO getting a good start on programming and computers requires a mentor, I learned to program when I was about 13 or so from a couple of older kids at the library (only place that had a computer). Literally spent 2 entire summers at the library from when it opened to when it closed and since then never stopped learning (that was over 30 years ago)

    I would recommend starting with a strongly typed language, Freepascal is a well developed open source compiler.. Lazarus is pretty much a full featured IDE for GUI development based on Freepascal...there are tons of resources here: http://wiki.freepascal.org/Pascal_an..._and_Magazines

    Computer knowledge in general is a bit more difficult, most people can stick to the very high level. I've found over the years that understanding how computers work at the lower levels helps figure out all sorts of computer related issues, however most of the programmers at work wouldn't be able to design a simple logic circuit.. I think you've got some electronics experience (judging by the stuff you fix up), so you've probably got at least some of that covered.

    Likely the best place for him to dig in now is wherever he's interested.. kids being kids. Maybe look for an open source/free game development system... kids like those I think.

    Good luck.

    EDIT TO ADD: Suggest installing a virtual machine program (http://www.howtogeek.com/196060/begi...Speed=noscript)

    And then jump right into the deep end with a source distribution of Linux (http://www.gentoo.org http://forums.gentoo.org ).

    It'll be safer in a virtual machine, and he can monkey around as much as he likes without risk of messing up the host OS..
    Last edited by braindead0; July 18th, 2015 at 07:59 AM.
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    Desertdog77 (July 18th, 2015)

  4. #3
    Web Wheeler
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    I learned Fortran and COBOL many years ago and then Basic. I have managed programmers for the better part of 35 years. The most IMPORTANT thing(s) to learn is good clean habits. Take a course on computer science or intro to programming and as BD0 said get a good mentor. Things like program efficiency and simple stuff like data entry tests to make sure the user doesn't enter the wrong value, parameter or tag. See if TMCC has some intro courses he can get into. They used to run stuff on the weekend, not sur e if they still do.
    Do you want to be right or do you want to be successful?

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