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Letters to the Editor Dec. 17, 2013

Lovely experience flying out of Crescent City

About 2 months ago I had the pleasure of waking up at 3 a.m. to meet our red eye flight to SFO that departed at 5 a.m. When I arrived after a lot of anticipation and primping only to find the plane was fogged in and wasn’t there, I decided to go back home and get a little more beauty sleep (at my age, I need all I can get). Well, by the time we flew out at 2 p.m. the sky was sunny and blue, you could easily see the white caps on the ocean and the whale vapor from the occasional passerby. 

For anyone that has never flown out of Crescent City, I highly recommend that trip — it is so beautiful from the air. 

I had a lovely visit with my sister-in-law and sister down in Thousand Oaks, enjoyed being driven around the big city, seeing all the lights, stores and sights, seeing my brother too, and, of all things, running into a family that moved away from here only one month before — Mike and Gabby Sweeney happend to be at the Camarillo farmers market. When I returned to SFO, I felt like part of the “North Coast” pod of special people that gather together to return to our little seaside town ringed with a giant redwood tree necklace. 

Vel Rinehart, Crescent City

'Coding' lesson is well-intentioned but superficial

I must make a few comments about the front-page story “Coding:  The new foreign language” in Saturday’s  (Dec. 14) Triplicate.

I worked as a computer programmer for 30 years before retiring a few years ago. I am glad to see that the subject is receiving some attention in public schools, but I must say that the “drag-and-drop” game described in the story is not computer program “coding” by any stretch of the definition. The students are merely using a fun screen game which has already been designed and programmed for them by real programmers at Microsoft or Apple.

Yes, I know that modern programmers have all sorts of automated visual screen aids available to make their job easier, but in a back room somewhere a real programmer had to design, create and actually code individually all the thousands of detailed computer “machine language” instructions that make those visual aids possible.  By itself, a computer is nothing but an inanimate hunk of metal and plastic. It cannot even display a single pixel on a screen without hundreds or even thousands of detailed instructions created by a human and pre-loaded into it.  

Referring to using a mouse to move a few images around on a screen as “coding” is absurd and a little offensive to anyone who has actually coded many thousands of detailed computer instructions to make up even a relatively simple computer program. 

Anyway, I approve of the schools’ attempt to introduce computer programming, even if I do believe the attempt as described in the story is hopelessly superficial.

John Cupp, Smith River

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