The concept of programming seems simple enough – you give the computers instructions, and the computer follows them. However, there are numerous times when someone either overestimates the computer's omniscience, or doesn't manage to grasp the concept at all.

I enjoy making computer programs, and I knew someone who enjoys games. Recently, he had wanted to make his own simple game, and I told him that he could use Visual Basic to do this, and I could teach him.

  • Friend: "So, how do you make a game with Visual Basic?"
  • Me: "Well, basically, you open up Visual Basic and make a new project. Then, you write code to make the game work."
  • Friend: "Then I'm going to make a game that will take up a gigabyte!" (seeing my incredulous stare) "...max."
  • Me: "Even Nookkin's Paint Shop uses maybe 20 MB. Do you have any idea how much coding you will need to do to make a game that takes up so much space?"
  • Him: "Well, then, I can make one that takes up only 2 MB."
  • Me: "First, you'll have to learn how to make a simple program, then go more complex. I will teach you how."

(He then proceeded to take out a slightly crumpled sheet of notepaper, about twice the size of a post-it note.)

  • Him: "Just write down the code on this paper, and I'll put it into the Visual Basic on my mom's computer, and I'll have a working game! Then I could sell it for forty bucks a copy and I'll be rich! Of course, I'll give 20% of the profit to you.
  • Me: "Your mom's computer doesn't have Visual Basic!"
  • Him: "Yes it does! My mom has Microsoft Word, and it has Visual Basic!" (He was referring to the built-in VBA in Word.)
  • Me: "That's the VBA macro language. You can't make a game with that."

The following quote is from the default "welcome" active wallpaper that came with my new HP computer. I opened up the source, and saw the following lines of code:

MenuText1.innerHTML = SmallPrompt ;// infact this is long text MenuText2.innerHTML = LargePrompt ;// in contrary, it is small text
Isn't it easier to just call the variables with their respective names?

Once, I made a comment to a classmate about how I prefer Windows PCs over Macs. The following dialog ensued:

  • Him: "Well, Macs are good. I mean, you can do so much on them! I've even programmed a Mac before!"

(This guy was what I would call a "computer wannabe"; he was not the kind of guy to actually make a program. So I gave him a test.)

  • Me: "Okay, so what language did you program in?"
  • Him: (Looking at me like I was crazy)
  • "Well, ENGLISH, obviously!"

I almost burst out laughing, but I restrained myself to ask another question:

  • Me: "What kind of program did you make?"
  • Him: "Well, it's like a game thing I made with [name] using a game design tool. But it had some code – you know, like I typed C-slash-the character's name and stuff like that."

I still cannot figure out what in the world he meant.

NOTE: I hold nothing against Macs, even though I do prefer Windows. The point in this anecdote is that some people don't get the concept of programming, NOT that Macs are bad machines.

Once, I was talking to a friend about programming. He sent me an email telling me that he was learning C++ and "assembly line". I think he meant "assembly language".

"I can make an html webpage but the url is a C:\ type thing instead of an http:// thing. how do i fix this?

Comments (2)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 10:44 PM
I saw a game in Excel made from VBA so I am sure there are ones for Word. It was like breakout if you are curious.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 12:52 PM
I stand corrected: it is, in fact, possible to make a very simple game in VBA for Word. I have seen tic-tac-toe done in Excel. My point, however, was that Microsoft Word is not a software development tool – it is a word processor.
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