Links for May 2017

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Are We Having Too Much Fun?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14228199

The title has been on my mind for I don’t know how long. Content has some good points as well and a good deal of references.

Programming as a Way of Thinking

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14237103

Talks about some interesting ideas that I noticed myself when I began programming. I heard somewhere that “Programming teaches you how to think” and that really stuck with me but I had a hard time putting my finger on exactly what kind of thinking it taught me. Now I recognize it as an ability to think more abstractly about things, perhaps most importantly about higher levels of abstraction.

The article also talks about using programming for a top-down approach to learning/teaching (as opposed to bottom-down common in maths): Start with the high-level concepts (such as using a library for FFT instead of learning how to write your own) and then work your way down as necessary.

Why don’t we have general purpose tree editors?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13578256

(Not posted in May but I’ll include it here anyway.)

I stumbled upon this post as I was working on my LearningTree idea. I enjoyed the topic as I’ve been looking for something like this before. I’ve used stuff like Workflowy, essentially a infinite-depth bulletpoint tree, but didn’t find it general enough or enabling of interlinking. I’m really more interested in a general purpose graph editor.

Since reading the article I’ve found software like yEd which somewhat fits the bill but isn’t a good fit for many usecases I’m interested in such as my LearningTree idea or mindmaps (perhaps more accurately “mindtrees”, or the more general “mindgraph” which would support interlinking).

It might very well be that any general purpose tree or graph editors would end up too generic to be useful. Perhaps that could be resolved by a rich ecosystem of plugins/extensions?