"Be This Guy"

Richmond richmondmathewson at gmail.com
Sun Oct 13 14:52:42 EDT 2013

On 10/13/2013 08:02 PM, Mark Wieder wrote:
> Richmond-
> Sunday, October 13, 2013, 12:30:10 AM, you wrote:
>> Anyone can code rather like any European can speak Mandarin Chinese;
>> with an incredible amount of effort, time and instruction.
> True, but I think it misses the point somewhat. I haven't seen the ad
> in question, so I can't comment on that directly. I can, however, say
> that coding like a European speaking Mandarin may be enough to spark
> some interest in going further and then diving head (or feet, it
> matters not) first into the LC world, making mistakes, asking for
> help, and then gaining enough experience along the way to start
> helping others on the same path.

I cannot disagree with that.

What I disagree with is RunRev's way of trying to achieve it with 
adverts that imply learning to use xTalk
is dead easy.

>   It's the community paying it forward
> that moves this process along, not so much the documentation or the
> training materials. But the introductory materials are very important
> for those crucial first steps.
>> If I were to state "I speak Bulgarian", giving the imporession that I
>> have a very high standard in the language that would be dishonest and wrong.
> ...and after x years of xtalk, would you say you could code?

Not nearly as well as I would like to.

I can function in certain areas rather well (think Unicode and funny 
writing systems), and awfully
in some other areas (I will forgo those revelations), just as I can 
function vis-a-vis running my school
and telling parents that 'little Ivan' is "brilliant", and 'little 
Mitko' is "as thick as mince", and go shopping
in Bulgarian.

I can code a subset of the Livecode dialect of xTalk, just as I can 
speak a subset of Bulgarian.
>   I don't
> think it's a binary yes-or-no question... I think there are levels and
> degrees of knowledge, experience,

Well put.

>   comfort...

'comfort', really, do tell :) Err, but I digress.

However both the Bulgarian and the xTalk 'came' over a number of years. 
The children who came along in June and July, while being able to cobble 
together a clone of a very basic pocket calculator, and make a 'game'
with pictures of Super Mario moving around the screen, do not have the 
level of skill I have, and are not
likely to for a while yet; and never without a lot of very hard work.

If I had told them that they would be making "whizz-bang" programs for 
Android licketty-split, children that
they be (Hey, score another one there, that's the fourth subjunctive 
construction I've managed
this week - whoops, sorry; personal bee in my bonnet), they, 
nevertheless are not so green-as-cabbage-looking
that they would not have laughed at such a daft prediction.

This seems to be the implication of the "Be This Guy" (Jimmy Neutron's 
next-door neighbour perhaps)
school of advertising.

While being a rightwing sort of chap, I'm all for "power to the people" 
when it involves education
and educational/creative empowerment [just leave out the collective 
farms]; but an advertising campaign that
pandered to people's ambitions in a relatively realistic way rather than 
Jimmy Neutronesque characters
might do better. I don't know how things are nowadays, but I do have the 
feeling that a lot of the teenagers
that "This Guy" might appeal to [Oh, and it's sexist, too] probably 
don't have the crinklies to hand for
a commercial licence; while theor Mums and Dads might, they might also 
take a dim view of forking out
for something that seems infantile (which we all know isn't true; but do 

Most people on this Use-List, unless they are lying their socks off, are 
all in favour of the installed user base
of Livecode increasing, for all sorts of reasons. Most people on the 
Use-List are well aware of the time and
effort that goes into getting comfy and relatively competent with a 
computing language.


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