Obligatory "ignore this space" : https://sacoronavirus.co.za

There we go! Another right-wing nut job gone made up a conspiracy theory about PTA meetings.

If someone told me that the parent-teacher association is running the country, and has been doing so for as long as I've been alive--which means that all the nonsense I've believed about voting has not only been a waste of effort but has made me look like a blessed fool for half my life--I would probably ask for evidence.

If someone mentioned bicycle helmets as representing this evidence, I'd ask them what kind of bicycle they're talking about, and what kind of helmet. If someone told me that there are things that only women can know, I'll ask them about weeds which are innocuous except as a means of getting a man who thinks he's independent (and who thinks he's a man) to look on a woman as a baby would its mother.

Uh oh!

If someone told me a kilobyte was a thousand bytes, I'd have to admit I got caught by that hoax too: defacto app standards were already unarguable, so that it was no surprise that defacto programming standards got told to play with themselves.

I cannot speak for she-programmers; a he-programmer being told to play with himself, by a woman, recalls to his mind his early instruction as to his dealings with girls who insult him in contrast to boys who insult him.

I was a weakling as a boy, but when I reached adulthood people stopped insulting me to my face--friends and those protected by social acceptability rules excepted.

She-programmers have existed for as long as he-programmers, but I know of no she-microkid. In the very early days, microcomputers were hobbies for hubbies and programmers had better things to occupy themselves with, like contemplating demons.

A microkid is a self-taught microcomputer programmer; STEM hadn't been invented yet, so girls didn't know how much their brothers were oppressing them. I know Dad had nothing to do with it because even he didn't notice the subliminal message on the boot screen which told us boys to keep the secret of microcomputer programming to ourselves. To do so we had to risk retribution by telling all girls we met that they were too stupid to programme. The retribution I received was having to learn machine code on an old microcomputer that only had a keypad and lights. The result was that if ever I did interest a girl that suited my ideas of indescribability I would the rather have blown up her ideas of being on an equal footing with me.

I don't doubt that she-programmers can be just as good has he-programmers; assuming they're given the task of maintaining what they've written. If people believe they'll be hailed as breaking down male-dominated defacto standards by cobbling something together which will be handed on to lesser mortals to work around year after year until these second set rewrite the thing from scratch, surreptitiously, then the first set might also find affinity with words which sound like cobble.

Some women are known for following the thoughts of others, without words. Boys can be taught this, but it is believed to only be possible for him to learn if a girl gives him the right to crow like a rooster about being a man; which is at odds with my recollection of a time when I was in my mid-twenties, thinking about religions which insist that only assets aught to be treasured.

Things don't always go well if one submits to unwritten communication from all sides.

Some years down the line one might find oneself being required to respond to written communication; one might then find oneself receiving the unwritten words which state in no uncertain terms that the only way of making a living is to have a good relationship with one who is not on an equal footing with oneself, in terms of having a say in the relationship. Relationships are important, as mommy says. The only option, seemingly, is to keep up the illusion for a decade or more and then say, well, I didn't like you in the first place and I only kept up the illusion for the sake of Dad and his friend.

This is life, friends: if your parents are constantly reminding each other about the combination to the gun safe, in your presence, this is what we call unwritten communication. Everyone knows the joy of living is in risking the end of one, not in the beginning, but the safety first campaign goes back to the American Civil War, around which we find evidence of genetic experiments; which explains the restrictions on vehicle manufacture far more sensibly, and inclusive of our personal experience of parents, than some conspiracy about holes in layers related to the vacuum of space.

Or holes in the head other than the eyes.

My mirthful grandfather would resort to the expression of someone talking through a hole in their head if they started to think too laterally for his liking. Especially on religious matters and conspiracies behind them. Being one who was expected to know everything except what was said without words at parent-teacher meetings, I nonetheless received the unwritten communication that there was now at least one other who carries the same set of skills as me: which is how people used to shut me up when I started to talk about apps which provide no value to me. On account of receiving a delightful bashing of the head eleven years ago, which was one I had not specifically requested, and which didn't have the effect that is so often talked about when being knocked on the head is referred to, I started to think I was making other people's lives awfully convenient by keeping my more ridiculous ideas to myself, like that of my very blood being my worst enemy, which my parents were telling me to love, even though they were clearly still expecting me to outright reject our parents' instruction.

I must allow the most ridiculous possibilities, for if I'm not the only guilty one I am wasting my life away.

I certainly won't be giving fatherly advice to sons of people who would laugh in my face about ridiculous possibilities, except that they aught to make use of services which fall under the broad term of hospitality the moment someone seems to be working their way into their heart. But hold out until you're sixteen at least: basically the only reason we were forced to waste twelve years of our life was to keep us from producing children before this age (in terms of disease, you're on your own).

Bringing myself back to what I was spending almost all my time doing when I was seventeen and my dad told me to get a girlfriend but not to make her pregnant, and jetsetters were going to places to look at things which we could see in photos instead of reading about them and thinking, and then coming back to tell us what they heard from the locals, who couldn't or wouldn't read themselves, so that we started to think the only reason they went away was to get under our skin, because the thoughts they brought back disturbed our happy meditations (but they weren't the least interested in practical considerations such as going to Jerusalem second class or warning us of empty-headed creatures of the earth and the sky), I recall I still have some interesting projects to work on.

These projects got left for a long time because I started to think I needed to impress someone with my coding skills. In my experience the only thing a girl will take an interest in (if she's not the type that only cares about making use of government money so that she and her daughters can communicate with pictures instead of words) is recurrence relations; but if you tell her she's just described a recurrence relation she's likely to give you a blank look and switch the subject (which can be changed at the touch of a button these days) to that of elephants.

It's a feather in your cap if you can write a useful app (useful to yourself) in machine code. The word ego is one that seems to have been invented to describe a person who learns assembly language in university, which is why a self-taught coder aught to get their hands dirty before then. If one is interested in learning how machines boot or what an actual operating system is, by looking at actual code and not block diagrams which suggest layers (and holes by the power of suggestion), this is one route. Or one might find one of those first microcomputers that can do the useful thing of changing lights. Making an app in GNU with assembler is possible (but you'll need to learn C first, anyway); in MSW it would be a total waste of time.

The most important thing to me was to stay out of language wars; but that was the long way round to taking the advice which came from three words of wisdom which had been repurposed.

"Write in C!"

Knowing machine code or assembly language is necessary if one wants to understand what a C compiler does. Unless you know everything about the exact architecture you're writing the machine code for, you're unlikely to make your code more compact than an optimizing C compiler can make it, and if you think you can write a few heavily used routines in assembly to speed it up, you haven't yet done any research on what an optimizing C compiler does.

If someone talks to you about artificial intelligence, simply tell them about what an optimizing C compiler does (I don't know because I'm partially blonde). Language theory is interesting in the same way that operating system theory is interesting, and in the same way that Grub Theory is interesting. In other words, more block diagrams.

People who look at block diagrams and feel enlightened are likely to eventually get annoyed with the different meaning of the prefix kilo as it applies to byte.

People who like to understand by doing a little experimentation themselves will eventually have to contemplate things, such as lvalues, which are not yet given the credit that is due to them as being mathematical facts.

Mathematical progress, as we know it, has been going on for about 2^11 years. We're closing up to 2^31 seconds since the lvalue was discovered, if I am permitted to attribute it to the inventors of the C language.

For the sake of keeping the peace with a screaming girl we will allow them to tell us that a woman discovered it. But then we'll be sure to leave them to work around the potential problems that are foreseen by those who know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of code which uses signed ints to store a unix-time value (unfortunately for those who build actual kernels, there are those nincompoops who demand an extra second to the day instead of doing the sensible thing by adjusting their clocks, but refuse to talk about machine words and time).

I wondered for a long time why there seemed to be no sensible discussion on the internet about these matters; at last I had to allow myself to recall some details which gave me the assurance that they are being discussed, but one is likely to meet with a blank look if one asks a person, who is known to be affected by these problems, how they are effecting the discussion.

But I'm now talking myself into joining a monastery, so I'm going to nuke the section of the previous revision of this webdoc called 'a dress' and try to tidy up some loose ends in case my better feelings return to me.