Thursday, January 18, 2007


I'm here at CodeMash in Sandusky! I'd thought about blogging the whole conference real-time, but I think I'll only be doing a little of that... my laptop is fearfully heavy, and dragging it around all day would seriously inhibit my enjoyment of the Hallway Track (the stuff you learn chatting informally with people between sessions).

Anyway, so far, CodeMash is AWESOME. Very professionally run, and with excellent content. It began last night with a great expert panel discussion on languages - the sort of experts who seem to know a dozen different languages in more depth than you know your very favorite. It feels so good to have something like this here in Ohio.

A couple notes from the language panel...
  • As a Pythonista, I was very gratified that the whole panel had a lot of knowledge of and respect for Python; it seemed to be mentioned more than any other single language!
  • Tha panel took up the question of "which language should new computer science students learn?" The consensus was that sticking to any one language is a real mistake. Every language carries its own limitations and patterns of thought; learning new languages broadens the ways you have to think about a problem. Teaching students only one language risks hard-coding the assumptions and limitations of that language right into their brains. The rule of thumb "learn a new language every year" came up.
  • As for specific languages, Python was the first reccommended... and assembly ended up also very highly reccommended.
Anyway, it's going to be a great conference. I'll try to update tonight. There will be a lot of tough decisions about which talks to go to, and I may decide against some of the Python talks - partly because I might be already beyond some of them in skill, and partially to honor the cross-language spirit of CodeMash.

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