Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

The Art of Programming

My recent (relatively) stellar performance in posting every day came to an end this week as the small matter of work got in the way. As well as trying to maintain a trickle of income coming in from mundane sources (the mortgage’s thirst is never slaked), I’m tricking around trying to get a blog tool built. I won’t go into details (I’m not sure if I could) and I’m no farther than coding the login screens and messing around with database structure. (This doesn’t stop me from cultivating dreams of cunning venture capitalists offering suitcases of cash to invest in my “innovation.”)Don’t hold your breath about seeing anything soon. For the sake of cheapness, I’m using Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition Beta (a sort of stripped-down version of Visual Studio.NET) and a trial version of SQL Server 2000 (for Enterprise Manager). Both free for the time being. The only real cost is the hosting. And time, lots and lots of time. Few activities seem to consume your life as effortlessly as trying to communicate with these sphinx-like electrical devices. Despite diligently ploughing through books such as Charles Petzold’s excellent though exhausting Code, I still find the chasm between, say, creating Pivot Tables in Excel and the routing of electrical pulses by semiconductors hard to fathom. (Give me a break, I’m a Humanities graduate!)Viewing the workings of your PC as an innate mystery is probably not the best stance to take if you want to program the thing. However, in a way, it helps ease the associated frustrations–you’re actually surprised when your interventions into this underworld are successful. Nine times out of ten, of course, your computer will blurt out an objection that would put the Sibyl to shame in terms of ambiguity. Ah well, as the great artists used to say, I must get back to my “Studio.”