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Good books about computer science fundamentals for newcomers?

My friend and I are interested in recommendations for books that explain fundamentals of computer science for readers without any prior knowledge - preferably not just about how to write code, but about computer science in a larger sense, and illustrated is especially helpful. For example, around 2003 I read a slim library book with explanations of fundamental computer science topics (including binary, machine code, and how compilers work) with cheesy 90s graphics, but I don't remember the title. What was that book, and what are others like it? [more inside]
posted by dreamyshade on Sep 30, 2014 - 7 answers

C++ for Snowflakes

I'm looking to get good at C++ fast. I have a math phd and many years of experience with collaborative python development (including just a small touch of cython), but now need to start coding in C++. What are some good resources to get me where I'm going?
posted by kaibutsu on Sep 23, 2014 - 12 answers

Learning to use classes in C#

Mr. Killian is struggling in an intro to C# programming class, specifically learning to use classes. Are there online resources out there that would supplement his classroom work? [more inside]
posted by PussKillian on Aug 31, 2014 - 12 answers

Where can I learn/get back to speed with *practical* Java?

I majored in CompSci. I have 7 years of programming experience. I spent 2 years coding in Java. But then I took a break from programming, which lasted for about 5 years, and now I'd like some hand-holding while I'm finding my way back. [more inside]
posted by gakiko on May 12, 2014 - 3 answers

I have no IDeaL what I'm doing (IDL programming for absolute dum-dums)

So, I recently got selected to do undergraduate physics research this summer. Great! Awesome! Yay me! However, my research advisor has asked me to use something called IDL to analyze tomographic images of compounds and turn them into 3D images. This is good news, because IDL is used a lot by astronomers to analyze astronomical data, and I want to continue my education in astronomy. But, I've never used IDL ever before. I'm not even sure exactly what it is (a programming language?). My question is this: how do I get up to speed so that I can hit the ground running with my research? Difficulty: Research begins in two weeks. Details: [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw on Apr 25, 2014 - 12 answers

I wish life wouldn't get in the way of my lifelong learning

How do you balance "life" (ie. full-time work, family, chores etc) with hobbies/projects that can't be done in short time periods or occasional bursts of action, but require a longer sustained activity? [more inside]
posted by gakiko on Jan 12, 2014 - 11 answers

String, or nothing!

Beginning enthusiast programmers on MeFi are often advised to learn by working on a substantial project and then exhibit it publicly on GitHub. How can someone new to a technology or tool scope out learning projects that are (a) commensurate with the learner's current, possibly rudimentary skills, (b) substantial enough to be a significant learning opportunity, and (c) interesting enough to hold the learner's attention past the initial phase? I'm especially interested in suggestions for learners who aren't learning front-end technologies or don't want to build yet another shopping cart or calendar widget.
posted by Nomyte on Aug 1, 2013 - 12 answers

Coding in a corner of the world

I’m a US citizen and would like to go somewhere for a coding 'vacation' for a few months. Essentially I just want to live somewhere cheap and work to improve my software development skills – learn new languages, build a couple projects, etc. Where could/should I go? [more inside]
posted by twobit on Jul 15, 2013 - 19 answers

I can FizzBuzz! Where do I go from here?

I am teaching myself how to program. But there seems to be a big gap between intro courses/resources (CodeCademy, O'Reilly books, Learn X the Hard Way) and Actually Doing Things. Help me figure out a road plan? [more inside]
posted by Phire on May 6, 2013 - 16 answers

I want to see what my code is doing

I am taking an entry-level college class in programming. We are using Javascript "playground" that works within a web browser. I am a visual learner and the textbook and exercises are useless to me. We're only six weeks in and I'm in the weeds. Is there a tool that shows what exactly is happening at each step in the Javascript code? [more inside]
posted by crosten on Feb 27, 2013 - 15 answers

Teach a kid to Raspberry...

Raspberry Pi online forum or F2F user groups for kids? [more inside]
posted by Currer Belfry on Jan 2, 2013 - 2 answers

Wie sind die Roboter.

Basic programming using C++ from the ground up, high school edition. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Jul 25, 2012 - 14 answers

Top Tutes

Lynda.com has a very excellent video tutorial covering the essentials of Objective-C. Where else can I find tutorials of this caliber that cover the basics of Mac programming? [more inside]
posted by run"monty on Jun 3, 2012 - 4 answers

How do I relearn how to focus? How do I relearn how to learn?

How do I get back into the swing of programming and coding regularly when I can't concentrate and can't find the motivation? Long, continuing illness has made me out of practice and lacking in energy and concentration. [more inside]
posted by WasabiFlux on Jan 28, 2012 - 13 answers

Best free online computer science training

What are the best free online courses to learn computer programming and technology? [more inside]
posted by bottlebrushtree on Jan 5, 2012 - 5 answers

Training for a new career in IT

I'm ready for a career change and I've always wanted to work in IT. What would you recommend? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 16, 2010 - 12 answers

Coding Practice

Programming Filter: I'm applying for software jobs, but I don't want to forget what I know. How should I practice to keep my skills sharp? [more inside]
posted by Chicken Boolean on Oct 21, 2010 - 22 answers

How long is it going to take me to build a web app?

How long would it take to go from zero experience in programming to releasing a simple data-driven web app? [more inside]
posted by AmitinLA on Sep 12, 2010 - 8 answers

From 0 to Android App in …

I want an Android app that makes, edits, and manages lists, and haven't been able to find what I'm looking for. Say I want to write my own program. Say also that I don't have any programming experience, and no programming knowledge beyond the basic concepts. What sort of steps would I have to take and what sort of timeline would I be looking at before I produce something useable? [more inside]
posted by Busoni on Jun 19, 2010 - 6 answers

Help me OWN this shiny box.

I want to become a little more badass at using my computer and dip my toes into the command line and eventually a little programming. I've identified some benchmarks / goals. Any advice on how to start? [more inside]
posted by jlowen on May 2, 2010 - 13 answers

Programming for my brain

Programmers - I would like to build some software to help myself study languages. What language would you recommend? [more inside]
posted by mammary16 on Apr 5, 2010 - 9 answers

How do I explain programming to a 12-year-old?

Looking for some resources for explaining a programming career to middle school kids. [more inside]
posted by tantivy on Mar 17, 2010 - 8 answers

Beginner resources for ASP.NET and SQL?

So the company I've started working for has asked me to step into a website development role, and while I've got some limited tech knowledge, I need to find some resources to start really digging into ASP.NET and SQL. [more inside]
posted by Mali on Mar 2, 2010 - 5 answers

Where did my Little Java Link Go ?

I found a great Java programming site awhile back. I was given a programming task and could get immediate feedback on whether or not it was correct. Tasks were things like, test if two integers are equal and 'reverse a string'. It was targeted toward learning .. but I seem to recall the tasks had advancing levels of complexity. This is not Java BlackBelt. I can't believe I didn't bookmark it. Anyone know what I'm talking about?
posted by duckus on Oct 14, 2009 - 6 answers

Help me learn Perl, Python, Lisp, Haskell, Ruby

Help me learn a few new programming languages. Python, Perl, Lisp, Haskell, Ruby. [more inside]
posted by jgunsch on Jul 9, 2009 - 22 answers

Help me learn PHP!

I'm looking for basic scripts/example projects so I can hone my developing PHP skills... [more inside]
posted by Funky Claude on Jun 30, 2009 - 5 answers

Programmable Logic Chips and Microcontrollers: Which language and where to learn online?

Programmable Logic Chips and Microcontrollers: Which language and where to learn online? [more inside]
posted by lekvar on Jun 30, 2009 - 21 answers

Learn Math Via Programming?

I have always been horrible at math, but somehow a great programmer. I have found that writing a computer program that demonstrates a certain mathematical concept enables me to better understand the concept. I'm a psych major and I brought this up once in the research lab I've been working in. My prof said he recalls that someone did research and/or created a system in which a student writes a computer program that is pertinent to a certain mathematical concept and upon completion is given the regular math problem (as it would appear in a math class). This enables the student to better understand the math problem, solve, and learn math. Has anyone heard of this or anything similar? A learning system such as this would be a blessing to my education. Thanks.
posted by fightoplankton on Apr 13, 2009 - 15 answers

What do I teach my kids instead of line number BASIC?

What's the modern day equivalent of old school "line number" BASIC as a tool for young children to play and learn with? [more inside]
posted by majick on Feb 21, 2009 - 42 answers

Suggestions for getting started with Dot Net development?

Do you have any suggestions for getting started with Dot Net development? [more inside]
posted by Flunkie on Jan 2, 2009 - 18 answers

What should I code to learn a given language?

Let's say I want to learn a few (more) programming languages. What application/solution would it be best to try to create in order to really "learn" a given language? [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on Oct 14, 2008 - 17 answers

Learning to program help?

Help me advance my computer education! [more inside]
posted by btkuhn on Oct 2, 2008 - 12 answers

Grownups can't learn programming?

"If you wait to teach them until college, it's almost always too late; adult brains generally can't form the deep structures necessary to learn real programming, only rote copy-paste code monkeying." [article] Uhh... seriously? [more inside]
posted by Tubes on Aug 5, 2008 - 30 answers

Help me, I'm a late adopter.

How do I learn new programming languages and start using modern web apps without getting frustrated and angry? [more inside]
posted by Zarkonnen on May 14, 2008 - 33 answers

Hope me learn teh internets

Help me not be such a clueless geek on the Internets. [more inside]
posted by pjern on May 7, 2008 - 14 answers

*(&wtfdoesthismean);

I can handle Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl, and, sigh, Java. My C and C++ are purely academic. How do I get into 'real' programming as an undergrad. [more inside]
posted by tmcw on Jan 13, 2008 - 23 answers

prove your existence!

Is there a simple way to create a script to check if a specific file exists on a Windows network share? How can I learn to do this? [more inside]
posted by uaudio on Aug 21, 2007 - 9 answers

Newly-learned programming language practice

Suggest programs to write in a newly-learned language. [more inside]
posted by ijoshua on Jun 15, 2007 - 18 answers

Anyone know of a good online Java course?

Does anyone know of a good, online Java course? I will be starting an IT degree at the Harvard Extension School this fall and I was advised to take a summer Java course to refresh my skills. [more inside]
posted by tanglewoodtree on May 11, 2007 - 7 answers

Python for the total n00b?

What books, programs, sites are there out there to teach Python who has never programmed before? Ideally, I'm looking for a resource that teaches me both the language and general programming concepts. [more inside]
posted by dantekgeek on Apr 6, 2007 - 15 answers

What I Did This Coming Summer?

How can a 20-year old attend computer camp? [more inside]
posted by crayolarabbit on Apr 3, 2007 - 3 answers

What's the step BEFORE "newbie" called?

I'm getting into learning web design -- started with the basics of HTML, XHTML, and CSS, and want to move on to JavaScript and Ajax next. Problem: I have zero, and I mean zero, programming experience. [more inside]
posted by hazelshade on Jan 4, 2007 - 15 answers

How can a willing to learn non-programmer build something like those user-supported gas price sites?

I'm looking to build a site that allows its users to submit and/or search pricing and availability information for "widgets" at local brick and mortar retail stores. The model I have in mind would be similar to the user-supported gas price sites that popped up about a year ago, in which people entered what they paid for what type of gas, and other users then could type in a zip code and see the best prices near them. So, being a non-programmer (but willing to learn through trial and error), what language/framework/open-source code do I use to build this? [more inside]
posted by pjhagop on Oct 11, 2006 - 4 answers

Python or Ruby for learning to program?

Python or Ruby? Help me decide! [more inside]
posted by djgh on Aug 31, 2006 - 45 answers

Can you help me find a good overview of .Net

Can you recommend a good class in the Los Angeles area or on the web that would bring somebody who has done some programming in the past up to speed on Microsoft's .Net? [more inside]
posted by willnot on Aug 28, 2006 - 2 answers

Help a geek inherit the earth

What language/environment would be a good choice now for a 6-year old math whizz to learn the basics of programming? [more inside]
posted by unSane on Jun 16, 2006 - 35 answers

Learning programming via web apps

Learning programming via web apps. [+] [more inside]
posted by daksya on Feb 15, 2005 - 21 answers

How can I become an expert at C++ quickly?

How can I become an expert at C++ quickly? I know that the real answer is "lots of experience and work", but I would appreciate some tips on how to get from here to there as efficiently as possible. [MI] [more inside]
posted by breath on Feb 5, 2005 - 24 answers

I want to be a coder!

I want to learn to code. I used to be a good coder - in 6502 assembler and VAX Fortran in 1988. I know nothing of the architecture of modern computers (OOP? kernal? shell? how one set of code on work on Linux and Windows). I guess I should learn C++ - what's a good resource (book I guess) for learning, writing apps compiling etc on my Win XP machine, and finally getting jobs?
posted by Pericles on Jan 29, 2005 - 20 answers

Database-driven web sites using using Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc?

I know how to make database-driven web sites using Windows servers, Access, IIS, and ASP.

I want to learn how to do the same using Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and... whatever you use instead of Access.

Where do I start?
posted by Mwongozi on Dec 10, 2004 - 18 answers

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