The Steampunk Vicar

A Presbyterian Pastor on Neo-Victoriana and American Faith

Category: Concerning Technology

Primer Codicoris

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Friends and Neighbours, members of the Mind Enhived, I crave your Indulgence. As some of you may know. I have been embarked on the Study of various Languages for the Programming of Electro-Differential Engines, notably the Grammars of Pythonidae and Carbunculus (better known to the illiterati as Python and Ruby). At this latest Juncture, I found I’ve hit something of a Wall, and am not sure how next to proceed.

The Academy of Code

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Imagine this with less Plato and more Tab

My first entre point into the Field of modern Coding was provided by Codecademy, who I highly recommend. Beyond the charming portmanteau of their name, their Primers on HyperText Markup Language (HTML, I am informed) and Cascading Style Sheets, as well as my first Foray into Ruby, were exceptionally good. The in-place Development Environment for Ruby was particularly helpful, and I feel that I’ve an excellent Groundwork, now.

Unfortunately, the next in their Succession of Projects is the Pursuit of Ruby upon Rails. I cannot begin to state my Excitement to learn this Skillset – for what red-blooded Victorian Man loves not Gemstones upon Locomotive Tracks? – but, alas – my Place of Employment does not support their Development Environment, and I was swiftly swamped by their Implementation.

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Sisyphus

Gentlemen, this is my Mountain. Find your own Hill to endlessly push a Rock up.

My next Endeavour was Learn Ruby the Hard Way, which has the Virtue of Honesty about it. Twelve Lessons in, I discovered that, indeed, the Gelatin of Ruby had been so compressed by these Methods that I was able to, successfully and independently, create my own Program of Interest to myself.

Sadly, I have now reached the Termination of the free (as in, free tea) Portion of the lessons. For nominally similar Fees, these two Web Sites will joyously offer me prodigious Excesses of increased Content – Codecademy in monthly Payments, Learn Ruby the Hard Way in a single one.

My Query to you all, wise Denizens of the Internet, linked in Mind by Optical Fibres and Aethernet – which of these should I pursue? Codecademy? Learn Ruby the Hard Way? Or some other Option I’ve not yet discovered?

The Floor is open, Friends. What think you?

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Ruby

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Solvo Problemata

I turned to regard my Interlocutor as I waggled the Cursor across the limis between the Monitors. “Just so,” I said, indicating that, indeed, she would also be able to copy and paste Text across the Boundaries. “This Soft Ware will permit transference of Cursor, Key Board, and Data between the two Apparati.”

Mrs. Goldberg had a nearly indescribable Expression on her Face. “I find,” she said, “that I must rather restrain myself from dancing. Thank you, oh, thank you, Mr. Johnstone. You’ve no idea what a Difference this shall make to me.”

Yes, I rather think that I do, I thought wryly as I replaced my Hat upon my shiny Pate. I rather think that I do.

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Perhaps the single most frustrating Aspect of the Pastoral Work is the Crisis of Completion. Infrequently, at best, when one serves in the Parish, is one able to complete or succeed or repair. So much of Church Employment is pure Process, and rightly so. God is best understood as in Process and Perfect, Complete and in Motion all at once. So, too, the Person and Work of Christ, and the life of the Church, which is Christ’s Body in the World.

It is a Truth to which I must accede, but which I also detest, that a Pastor’s Work is Never Done. This speaks both to the Sisyphean Proportions of our Call, and to the daily and unending Rigour of its Execution.

And so, in this Hour of my own Transition, as I stand at a Multiplicity of Crossroads and work, possibly for the Nonce, possibly for the forseeable Future, at the Technology which was an early Interest of mine, I find the sudden, sharp Relief of proscribed Problems, to which there are definite and attainable Solutions. The Art of a Technician has Scope and Depth and Range, and an End – both in the Sense of Time completed, and in the Sense of Purpose.

My mission as a Differential Engine Professional is to help Users to succeed at their Objectives. Every Day, when I walk out the door of the Information Services Department, my Aim is to assure that Nurses, Doctors, Janitors, Purveyors of Food, Administrators, and, most of all, Patients are in a Position in which their Technology is completely invisible. I have failed when the Printer or the Computer or the Endoscope is a Thing Noticed, rather than a Thing Used.

For Mrs. Goldberg, her Technology had become an Obstacle. It was actively obtruding in the Flow of her Work. The Fix was complex – it required Time, and Tenacity to achieve, and the Courage to ask a Favor.

But the Light, the Expression of Joy in Mrs. Goldberg’s Eyes! Here is Triumph, here is the Victory! Not over the Children of Earth, but over their Creations. When I left Mrs. Goldberg’s Side, she was enabled, ennobled by a Sensation that her Life and Work were made easier by the Technology and Tenacity of her obedient Servant.

Treasure, too, has a Part to play in this Trifecta. All Hard Wares have Cost, and my Pay is not Insignificant. But grant me these three – Treasure, Time, and Tenacity, and I will ease your Burdens, restore your Services, make you User rather than Used. And I shall do so taking as little Treasure as I can conveniently arrange.

For I am the Steampunk Vicar. And I solve Problems.

Solvo Problemata

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