Thursday, December 1, 2011

Return From Paris

Went to Paris on sort of whim and because off season is like 1/3 the normal price. The history of technology has been an inspiration to me since my grade school days and Lavoisier was calling me.  I was able on the trip's long flights and occasional sleepless nights to figure out how to make an edge triggered D flip flop from NOR gates only which is imperative for this project which does not allow capacitive coupling.

Also started accessing the SICP (Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs) lectures and learning resources here:

If you have ever wondered "how" to program, rather than apply example code snippets and hack. This might be just the ticket.  It certainly has opened my eyes.  The video lectures are engaging and inspiring in that they specifically address using imagination as the starting point to programming.  Of course rigor follows but rigor informed by "wishful thinking."  Good stuff!

The original motivation (and continuing) to study SICP is to design a NOR gate only digital simulation environment to complement the hardware.  SICP addresses how to "build" a digital simulator as part of the course.  I think this is just so handy dandy I can hardly stand it. Particularly since it is presented in such a comprehensible fashion.

I was able to watch several lectures during the flights and work through some of the examples on constructors and selectors.  I have learned about these concepts previously in computer science courses but was so intent on "getting done and getting a grade" that I didn't appreciate their power.  Talking to the senior software engineers at work (I am a hardware dude) we now have a much richer and constructive conversation about "how" software is constructed by determining data structures first and letting the functions almost write themselves.

I should go to Paris more often.

If you have a mind to go see Foucault's Pendulum at the

Musée des arts et métiers it may just rock your world.

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