The Code of Blogging

For me to be writing a post on a Thursday evening is the strangest thing that has happened to me in a while, mostly because tonight is possibly the only night since the start of the new school year where I have no homework. This, however, is a special post, being a rare tangential post, of which I only have 2 currently, but before we get into the post, I have an update.
After careful deliberation, I have finally decided that I will migrate my blog to WordPress and manage my own hosting. The biggest, and possibly most important reason is that I am able to manage the nitty-gritty details of the blog without using incomprehensible HTML editors. There are however, a few points I would like to make about Tubmblr. Firstly, I see now that it is not a blogging service, but a micro-blogging service, which is all about small and frequent posts. Although that might prove useful, the available time I have is nowhere near enough to do such a thing. Secondly, Tumblr is idiot proof. Yes, that is a good thing, for some people. For me, however, I like a challenge, something to aim for, something that makes me think, but being not outrageously improbable to accomplish, like coding the next great operating system in 24 hours, although some may be able to do so.
That is exactly what this post is going to look at and attempt to explain, from my perspective, the story of the code of blogging.
Arriving at my new school, I was naïve enough to expect I would be one of the best at tech-stuff within my year. I was so confident in that fact, that I even had a row with, my now good friend henry dyer, about something as silly as who was the best at Theatre technical. Little did I know that I was going up against one of the greatest tech gurus from the school’s junior section! It took about a week until I came to my senses about where I actually stood in the tech-hierarchy and it took a further 6 months until I actually fine-tuned that position, relocating people in my mental list of techies, who I never even expected would even appear in that mental list.
While all this reordering and restructuring was going on, I was also forced to make a blog for our ICT lessons using Blogger. I shall never understand why they chose blogger, WordPress is much better, but without that initial push, TheCompBlog, the successor of NicsCompBlog, would have never come into to existence, and you readers would have lacked the absolutely vital incessant ramblings of an adolescent that formulate my arguments and opinions.
The ICT course opened up a whole new way of thinking for me: previously, I would learn how to use the tools provided to do stuff; now I make actually make stuff, not do stuff. There is a subtle, yet important, difference between the two, but that’s for another time. I was introduced to the possibilities of what the world offered to me, and exposed to great, but less well-known, works, from which I drew initial inspiration to continue blogging.
There was a time when I figured I had to learn to code. I had seen people in my school coding apps, websites and ingenious problem solving programs. I wanted to be able to do that, but for some strange reason, I could never get into it. I started learning lua, javascript, pascal and HTML, but not one of those appealed to me. I knew how to read them and work out approximately what they were doing and in the case of HTML, I learned a bit by just fiddling around with my blog.
Around the same time, I was learning Linear Basic in my tech (Systems & Control) lessons. I remember the day I downloaded my first “11-basicLinear” program to the PICAXE: I was amazed at what the code could do! It was unbelievably simple code, granted, but it was a milestone for me. By this stage in the post, Henry Dyer & Co. will be calling me a noob (or n00b, to be precise), but regardless, here is the code I used in my first ever program:
    high 0
     pause 100
     high 1
     pause 100
     high 2
     pause 100
     high 3
     pause 100
     high 4
     pause 100
     high 5
     pause 100
     high 6
     pause 100
     high 7
It turned on the lights on the test board we were using in sequence, and it was astounding! For the first time, I had programmed something!
We continued with the tasks until we had programmed an electronic die as our final project. I took it upon myself to code in a cheat, with my good friend Ben.W, where if the button were held down for more than 2.5 seconds, you would get a 6. A year later, and I am currently doing the same lesson for GCSE with our first project being a temperature-controlled fan. Mine will be special though, as it will display the temperature on two 7-segment displays. Fun fun!
In maths this year, we did some excel tasks, as one does, involving VBA macro programming. Most in my class wimped out, but I stuck to the challenge and coded a macro that found a value of X for the highest value of Y in y = (20 – (2 * x)) * (10 – (2 * x)) * x:
x = 0
ymax = 0
xmax = 0
    For x = 0 To 5 Step 0.0001
         y = (20 – (2 * x)) * (10 – (2 * x)) * x
            If y > ymax Then
                ymax = y
                xmax = x
            End If
           
    Next x
 Cells(2, 2) = xmax ‘display the variable xmax in cell B2
Cells(2, 4) = ymax ‘display variable ymax (capacity) in cell D2
Again, I felt the sense of accomplishment, as I did with the first linear basic program. It was an enlightening feeling to know that I overcame the barrier I did not think I could overcome.
The likelihood is that I will continue with simple linear basic and VBA and ignore all the high-level programming stuff, but the link between my blogging and coding should now be staring you in the face, and to be honest, it’s not an unknown fact. In fact, it is unbelievably obvious and one might find it stupid of me to have written a whole blog post on it.
When my ICT teacher showed me my aforementioned initial inspiration, I thought I could never in my entire life do what he did, write 1000 word blog posts regularly. Look at me now! When I looked at my coding/tech-orientated friends, I thought I could never get into coding, and although I am not doing exactly what they are doing, I know my way around a few low-level languages, ansd even though I have come to realise that, even though I should not force myself to code, I might one day learn Objective-C, as I did with blogging.
I don’t know what it was exactly that influenced me into blogging. The ICT course, the bloggers I started following in the first weeks of my new school, or just the desire to express my somewhat incoherent opinions? It’s a mixture of all three, and its determination that will make your work great. It may not me a worldwide hit, or an initial success, but it will still be great in some way. Challenging yourself will always reveal a new aspect of you. Breaking the mould you have set around yourself and go tinker with different things and experiences will expose you to new things you never knew you liked (in my case, Excel work, strangely…), but when it comes down to more serious things, make sure, at all cost, you do what you love.
And there we have it, my great conclusions.
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