Computers can’t think...

Moderator edit: this topic has been split off from a post in the tutorials section.

After a 30 year spell in IBM, I don't seem to be able to think either! Having spent my entire career avoiding software, I am now faced with teaching a grandson all about Arduinos etc.. we flashed through the first project in the book, flashed through the hardware for the second (Spaceship) project and then came to a grinding halt with the code to go with it..

I presume that the instructions have been written by a 'softie' who does recognise how a 'hardware man thinks..

I want to simply copy the existing project 2 software into the sketch and download it into the Arduino.

The blink works fine and we can change the delays etc.. but the actual words in the instructions like:press this key and enter that there are actually missing!

True 80 year old eyesight doesn't help especially trying to read small orange print, but even so, I would expect to do this!

For instance ... Precisely where on the sketch page are items entered? Are the line numbers arbitary, or are they generated by the compiling process....?

RSGM

@dickmoger, can you please post the program that is causing you trouble. See How to use the Forum

It would also be a good idea to modify the Original Post and give it a title that summarises your problem.

...R

For instance ... Precisely where on the sketch page are items entered?

In the big white area in the middle. It's pretty obvious. It's just a text editor. I don't think you really don't know where to type the code.

Are the line numbers arbitary, or are they generated by the compiling process....?

This is C++. We don't need no stinking line numbers. :slight_smile: If you're trying to find something you can turn them on to see where things are, but generally we don't have them on. And they aren't even seen or cared about by the compiler.

Perhaps instead of wishing that the whole world could re-hash the whole experience of learning to program to fit your special needs as a "hardware guy", maybe you should realize that programming ISN'T hardware and you're going to have to try to think software. You might even have to start from the beginning like you know nothing about it.

If you're really so lost that you don't know where on the screen to start typing, then look at some of the many youtube tutorials on Arduino. There is a place you can literally just watch someone use the IDE and get an idea for how it's done.

After a 30 year spell in IBM

I always cringe when they start out like this. It's like people think that because they've worked in one part of tech or another that this should be easier for them.

Look man, if the 30 years at IBM wasn't writing code and didn't make it so that you already know how to do this, then you might as well have said "I've been a logger for 30 years." It might just not be that applicable.

Think of it this way instead, after 30 years with IBM you've found a new place to start completely over from scratch.

Hi,
Welcome to the forum.

For instance ... Precisely where on the sketch page are items entered? Are the line numbers arbitary, or are they generated by the compiling process....?

If you see line numbers in the IDE, they are there for debugging when you compile a program, they have no meaning in the code you write.

Tom.... :slight_smile:

Well thanks guys! It confirms my thinking that the project book was written by softies...

One thing I did learn from my career, part of which was as a technical writer, is that you should give any document or flowchart etc, to a complete novice to test, as the writer will make a host of assumptions that do not tally with the user's experience.

The process in the book jumps straight from the easy hardware bit to the code. without enough guidance....

Yes the tutorials are useful and we are making process, but grandson is returning home (to another country) and I am concerned that the investment in time and money will be wasted if this aspect of the project can not be overcome easily... I now understand that this is a common problem and that books have been written to overcome this gap..

First experience of the FORUM? Thanks for those that bothered to answer, but whatever happened to good manners? I need advice on this project please, the rather immature personal comment I can do without thank you..

Hi,
You can change the "theme" or colour scheme and the font size in the preferences tab.
You will find this in the File menu.


Tom.. :slight_smile:

dickmoger:
First experience of the FORUM? Thanks for those that bothered to answer, but whatever happened to good manners? I need advice on this project please, the rather immature personal comment I can do without thank you..

Whatever happened to common sense?

This topic was originally tacked on to an unrelated topic, in a section of the forum with such titles as
"PLEASE DON'T POST YOUR QUESTIONS IN THIS TUTORIAL SECTION"
and
"I'M SERIOUS - DON'T PUT YOUR QUESTIONS HERE"

dickmoger:
Yes the tutorials are useful and we are making process, but grandson is returning home (to another country) and I am concerned that the investment in time and money will be wasted if this aspect of the project can not be overcome easily... I now understand that this is a common problem and that books have been written to overcome this gap..

It is likely from the foregoing, that he will end up teaching you programming.

I presume he will have access to the Internet, email and whatever you can use following the progressive demise of Skype. Either send him with an Arduino kit (this may require some research) or send one to follow him and given that you have the same kit in front of you, you can spend time together. :grinning:

Hopefully your experience in hardware will assist you in making sense of what needs to be in such a kit, but a cheap eBay "starter kit" with the various modules and plenty of "Dupont" cables would be a good start. I advise against the Arduino UNO or the crap imitations (actually, mostly Duemilanove variants rather than UNO variants) in favour of the Nano and its "sensor shield" or solderless breadboard. And ignore the "Vin" or "raw" pin - you want to use an actual 5 V regulated supply such as a phone charger.

If your complaint is about that book, then why don’t you complain to the people who wrote the book? Why are you bitching at us?

Or better yet, talk about what’s confusing you and get some help. But don’t come here to complain that you don’t like how some other person wrote a book.

flashed through the first project in the book

At some stage it might help to say which book the book is, that way the author could respond.

You ask what happened to manners. Do you regard referring to the people you're asking for help with the obviously derogatory term "softies" as good manners? These are the people who make your hardware actually do something useful.

If you want help with something first read "How to use this forum - please read" and then provide a lot more details. Like what book, what project, what code and particularly what EXACTLY is the problem you're having?

OTOH if you just wanted to bitch then go for it. You won't be the first person to waste his time that way.

Steve

dickmoger:
but whatever happened to good manners?

I don't think my Reply #1 was bad mannered - I even said 'please'

But you did not respond to it.

...R

OK .... Let us try again. My concern is that Arduino is clearly a successful medium and worth pointing the next generation towards..... But in order to appeal to as many young people as possible, it needs to be as accessible as possible and that means the ergonomics of the instructions in the very first moments of contact need to be as comprehensive as possible.

This is not easy to do as the people who understand it well are not always the people to write the attendant literature as they probably know too much and will leave out steps that are obvious to them, but not obvious to beginners... Hence the comment about softies... an honourable profession, but not necessarily in tune with the hardware guys..

Mentioning my background seems to have pressed hot buttons in strange places with unexpected reactions! I did so simply because I am concerned that someone coming from an IT background such as myself ought to be able to cope easily.. If I can't, then this will become yet another techie ivory tower, which is not what was intended for it, nor what I want for my grandson.

I found the software portion of Project 2 in the standard Arduino uno package to be short of sufficient detail to allow easy progress to the next level.... That is all!!!!!!!!!

Manners matter! This problem (if it is a problem) is purely technical,, so please be mature and cut out any references to individual personalities which do not progress the situation and are utterly irrelevant in this context...

I thank you for your responses so far, some have been useful.

As for being outstripped by a 10 year old? ... I hope so... the world needs them.

Ok, let’s try again.

Most people here answering questions

a) didn’t write a project book associated with Arduino.

b) don’t own a project book associated with Arduino.

So now, with the tech writer hat on, what seems to be the problem?

dickmoger:
But in order to appeal to as many young people as possible, it needs to be as accessible as possible and that means the ergonomics of the instructions in the very first moments of contact need to be as comprehensive as possible.

One of the considerations is the price you paid for the Arduino IDE!

I agree that good documentation is desirable but the reality is that folk who like writing Open Source software either don't like writing documentation or aren't good at it. And there is no money to pay professional technical writers. But the nature of Open Source software is that everyone (including you) is very welcome to write improved documentation.

All my kids are grown up and I recall one of my sons giving computer advice to his friends when he was 10 or 12. I hadn't taught him - he was interested and he learned it himself. I reckon if your grandson is interested he will pick it up much faster than you, even with poor documentation. Indeed I will go as far as to say that you should be careful that your "formal" approach does not hold him back. If he is not interested there's not much you can do. Maybe sometime in the future he will be attracted by the possibility of implementing something that assists with some other hobby that does interest him. Or maybe not.

If you have bought a poor quality book you have my sympathies. Mark it down to experience and get a better book.

...R

Mentioning my background seems to have pressed hot buttons in strange places with unexpected reactions! I did so simply because I am concerned that someone coming from an IT background such as myself ought to be able to cope easily…

It wasn’t a button. I was just trying to tell you (from experience) that your 30 years in hardware actually don’t make it any easier to learn to code. If anything it makes it harder because it makes you think that it should be easier.

Still the question remains, why are you complaining to us? We are a group of users who will help you if you say what you need help with. But we didn’t write whatever book you’re mad about. We didn’t create Arduino. We aren’t associated with Arduino.

So what exactly do you want any of us to do?

Hello Dickmoger,
Welcome to the forum.

I wanted to comment from the point of view of someone who has written a tutorial; I wrote 'using Nextion displays with Arduino'. One big problem is not knowing what expertise the reader will have. Of course, part of the answer is that all kinds of different readers with all kinds of different expertise will read my tutorial. Some will find it trivially easy with far too much detail, others will struggle with it. I agonised over hitting the right balance, and I took advice from others. Did I get it right? I do not know, but I am satisfied that I made the effort.

Whoever wrote the project book you are reading will have had the same problem, maybe they didn't get it right for you, maybe for someone else it would be too simple. There's no right answer to this.

I hope you get your projects working, I hope you have lots of fun learning with your grandson. I hope you will come back here when you get stuck and I hope you get all the help you need.

For trying to help a young mind to grow ++Karma;

dickmoger:
I found the software portion of Project 2 in the standard Arduino uno package to be short of sufficient detail to allow easy progress to the next level…

For reference, is this the project book text to which you are referring?
https://www.arduino.cc/en/ArduinoStarterKit/Prj02
https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Started-Arduino-Make-Projects/dp/B008SMKPW0#reader_B008SMKPW0

If so it might be more productive to ask questions specific to that with which you are struggling.

As an aside, am I the only one who finds ironic criticizing the clarity of a guide in a post that does not unambiguously identify the guide?

MrMark:
As an aside, am I the only one who finds ironic criticizing the clarity of a guide in a post that does not unambiguously identify the guide?

Hell no.

No, you’re not the only one to see that irony.