Cybernetic Shamanism: Programs

I finally caved after about five minutes of standing in the stairway pacing back and forth, thinking to myself. What had she meant that her club was too good for me? Maybe it was I who was too good for her stinking club. But computers had always fascinated me, and the idea of learning to program was magnificent.

Heading to the fourth floor, I stood before the computer lab. The computers were relatively new, which was surprising to me. After all, you’d think a Catholic school would try to keep their students away from the evils of the internet and science. Apparently I was wrong. The computer lab had a good twenty or so computers and sitting at one of the computers was that Waridi chick. She seemed to notice me, and patted the empty chair next to her.

“I see you’ve decided to join the Computer Club.” She grinned at me.

“I’m checking it out first. If I like it, I might join. So, are you going to teach me the basics?”

“I don’t know if I should waste my energy on somebody who isn’t even going to stick around.” She yawned and stretched.

“Aw. Don’t be a loser.” I found myself grinning at her. She just had that sort of personality that you couldn’t help but smile at her.

With a sigh she caved in and responded, “Alright, alright, I’ll teach you.” She proceeded to open some program. I couldn’t catch sight of what it was. “So the first thing you’ll want to do is number sign include less than iostream greater than.”

“And… why would I want to do that?” I stared at her blankly.

“You’re such a noob. It tells the preprocessor to include the iostream file, which has all the basic commands we’ll be using for input and output. Now hit the enter key and type in using namespace std semicolon.”

“Ha. STD. That stands for sexually transmitted disease. Are you trying to program something dirty?”

“You’re a dork. Std is the standard library of expressions for this program. That’s why we’re using it. We want the program to access all of the identifiers in the std namespace.” Waridi sighed heavily. “Are you going to give commentary for everything or are you going to listen to me?”

“Meh, my bad.” It was my turn to sigh. I glanced at the screen. Two glorious lines of text on a white background. That was the start of a program. I’d never known it, but programming was starting to sound difficult but look easy.

“So then we do int main open parentheses close parentheses. That’s where the program starts, all programs start with a main function. Then you do enter, open brace. Following that is cout less than less than apostrophe Hello World! Apostrophe semicolon. Cout tells the program to output whatever it is you type after the two less than signs. If it’s not in apostrophes, though, it’ll look for a variable. Do you understand?”

“Not exactly, but, does that mean that when we start the program it’ll show Hello World?”

“Yes, exactly. We need to finish the program first, though. To do that, we do enter, return zero, semicolon, enter, close brace.”

“Why were there so many semicolons?” I asked, tilting my head to the side slightly.

“Those tell the program where a line of code stops.” She smiled at me again. I felt my heart skip a beat. She really was quite a charming girl when she wasn’t insulting me for asking questions and being curious.

“So then we compile our program and…” On the screen appeared a black box with the white words, “Hello World!” on it. I smiled a bit. She closed the box and said, “And that’s the basics.”

“So, can I like change the words around that come out?”

“Of course.”

I went to the code and deleted the word world and replaced it with Waridi. I hit the compile button, and on the screen the words, “Hello Waridi!” appeared.

“Great job. You’ve got it now, freshy.” She ruffled my hair and got up to stretch. “Read the guide next to the computer to learn more.”

I stared at the massive book then looked back at her. “You’re kidding me, right? That thing is gigantic.”

“All worthwhile things are difficult to obtain. This includes knowledge. Get reading.” I groaned and opened the book and began reading. “One day, I’m going to make computer chips so that all this information can be loaded directly into my brain.”

“Well, what if you could? Would you really do it? Or are you all bark and no bite?”

“What the Hell are you talking about?”

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