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As someone in their 20s who has not actually lived through the history of programming and computer technology but can still very much appreaciateappreciate it, here's a handful of things that have helped me appreciate the progress of computers:

  • Watching (and laughing at) various episodes of "The Computer Chronicles" (a handful can be found on youtube). Especially ones where they demonstrate cutting-edge technology (I especially like the one where they're demoing what is basically paint 1.0 for some system or another). Similar old television programs discussing 'modern' technology should get similar results. The older the better. Usually people's reactions and interest say it all.
  • Going to a computer museum and actually trying out some old systems. Some were a bit broken, but having a proper old terminal to play with was fun (apart from the means of editing programs, it's not that different to modern command lines).
  • Often simply being told the facts, like learning that the first 'compiler' was an assembler created by Grace Hopper, where there was mostly a one-to-one correlation with machine instructions (and that was a massive step up from switches and punch-cards).*

To be honest though (and some may disagree with me), personally I think that programming is like playing an instrument. Pretty much everyone thinks it's cool, but some people are drawn to it more than others. You can't force an interest in it, someone will be interested in it or they won't be. It depends what they want to do with their lives and what their interests are. Likewise some people are more naturally talented at programming than others (typically people with inquisitive problem-solving oriented brains), much like how some people have 'a musical ear' and some are 'tone deaf'.


* (If you'll excuse the reductio ad-absurdum, I don't necissarily need to attempt cleaning my backside with a vinegar-soaked sponge to imagine how awful roman hygine was.)

As someone in their 20s who has not actually lived through the history of programming and computer technology but can still very much appreaciate it, here's a handful of things that have helped me appreciate the progress of computers:

  • Watching (and laughing at) various episodes of "The Computer Chronicles" (a handful can be found on youtube). Especially ones where they demonstrate cutting-edge technology (I especially like the one where they're demoing what is basically paint 1.0 for some system or another). Similar old television programs discussing 'modern' technology should get similar results. The older the better. Usually people's reactions and interest say it all.
  • Going to a computer museum and actually trying out some old systems. Some were a bit broken, but having a proper old terminal to play with was fun (apart from the means of editing programs, it's not that different to modern command lines).
  • Often simply being told the facts, like learning that the first 'compiler' was an assembler created by Grace Hopper, where there was mostly a one-to-one correlation with machine instructions (and that was a massive step up from switches and punch-cards).*

To be honest though (and some may disagree with me), personally I think that programming is like playing an instrument. Pretty much everyone thinks it's cool, but some people are drawn to it more than others. You can't force an interest in it, someone will be interested in it or they won't be. It depends what they want to do with their lives and what their interests are. Likewise some people are more naturally talented at programming than others (typically people with inquisitive problem-solving oriented brains), much like how some people have 'a musical ear' and some are 'tone deaf'.


* (If you'll excuse the reductio ad-absurdum, I don't necissarily need to attempt cleaning my backside with a vinegar-soaked sponge to imagine how awful roman hygine was.)

As someone in their 20s who has not actually lived through the history of programming and computer technology but can still very much appreciate it, here's a handful of things that have helped me appreciate the progress of computers:

  • Watching (and laughing at) various episodes of "The Computer Chronicles" (a handful can be found on youtube). Especially ones where they demonstrate cutting-edge technology (I especially like the one where they're demoing what is basically paint 1.0 for some system or another). Similar old television programs discussing 'modern' technology should get similar results. The older the better. Usually people's reactions and interest say it all.
  • Going to a computer museum and actually trying out some old systems. Some were a bit broken, but having a proper old terminal to play with was fun (apart from the means of editing programs, it's not that different to modern command lines).
  • Often simply being told the facts, like learning that the first 'compiler' was an assembler created by Grace Hopper, where there was mostly a one-to-one correlation with machine instructions (and that was a massive step up from switches and punch-cards).*

To be honest though (and some may disagree with me), personally I think that programming is like playing an instrument. Pretty much everyone thinks it's cool, but some people are drawn to it more than others. You can't force an interest in it, someone will be interested in it or they won't be. It depends what they want to do with their lives and what their interests are. Likewise some people are more naturally talented at programming than others (typically people with inquisitive problem-solving oriented brains), much like how some people have 'a musical ear' and some are 'tone deaf'.


* (If you'll excuse the reductio ad-absurdum, I don't necissarily need to attempt cleaning my backside with a vinegar-soaked sponge to imagine how awful roman hygine was.)

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As someone in their 20s who has not actually lived through the history of programming and computer technology but can still very much appreaciate it, here's a handful of things that have helped me appreciate the progress of computers:

  • Watching (and laughing at) various episodes of "The Computer Chronicles" (a handful can be found on youtube). Especially ones where they demonstrate cutting-edge technology (I especially like the one where they're demoing what is basically paint 1.0 for some system or another). Similar old television programs discussing 'modern' technology should get similar results. The older the better. Usually people's reactions and interest say it all.
  • Going to a computer museum and actually trying out some old systems. Some were a bit broken, but having a proper old terminal to play with was fun (apart from the means of editing programs, it's not that different to modern command lines).
  • Often simply being told the facts, like learning that the first 'compiler' was an assembler created by Grace Hopper, where there was mostly a one-to-one correlation with machine instructions (and that was a massive step up from switches and punch-cards).*

To be honest though (and some may disagree with me), personally I think that programming is like playing an instrument. Pretty much everyone thinks it's cool, but some people are drawn to it more than others. You can't force an interest in it, someone will be interested in it or they won't be. It depends what they want to do with their lives and what their interests are. Likewise some people are more naturally talented at programming than others (typically people with inquisitive problem-solving oriented brains), much like how some people have 'a musical ear' and some are 'tone deaf'.


* (If you'll excuse the reductio ad-absurdum, I don't necissarily need to attempt cleaning my backside with a vinegar-soaked sponge to imagine how awful roman hygine was.)