We started with my (Duana Stanley’s) talk “Binary Switches” which introduced the binary numeral system and explains why it is important for computers, even though surprisingly it was not used for some early computers like the ENIAC or Babbage’s Differential Engine. As a group we counted aloud to eleven in both decimal and binary, starting from zero :)
We then moved on to how switches work and how you can create logic gates out of arrangements of switches
After that we had Fiona share with us her experiences (often painful but always good) teaching herself programming. She took a very unusual path of learning first Assembler, then C, then Python.
She said although Assembler was incredibly frustrating, it gave her a good idea of how computers actually work under-the-hood. She had a good support group for learning this and by blogging about her experiences she found that she had to keep going and not give up!
Then in the Learn-n-Tell session we had Bettina and Debbie introduce their web app “Text to Squares” which they built together in their weekly Rails Girls project group. They used Ruby and Sinatra but had to learn many things along the way - like how to use the terminal, git and github, the ruby “irb” console and finally how to build their web app which translates text you type in, to a nice artistic pattern of colored squares.
Such an inspiring evening - thanks everyone!
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://blog.opentechschool.org/2012/10/beginners-meetup-3.html