Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind programmers

  • From: "Littlefield, Tyler" <tyler@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2011 07:49:11 -0600

Lol. you're placing you and Ken on some pedastal for what ever reason. Chris -is not- denying that understanding about opcodes is good. he's saying that knowing how to whip up a program in machine language is utterly pointless.

On 4/10/2011 6:40 AM, Sina Bahram wrote:
But it's not even that. What these folks, I feel, are failing to realize is 
that even today it's important to understand two's
complement and other fundamental concepts.

Maybe some of you have heard of twitter. Well, guess what. If those folks had 
paid attention in computer freaking science 101, then
maybe they wouldn't have used unsigned 32-bit integers for an application that 
obviously would break 4 billion in no time. So you
know what happened? All of twitter went down for hours and hours because some 
idiot used a 32-bit int and they all rolled over to 0.

But hey, let's just ignore the basics. In today's high level languages, it 
doesn't matter, right?

And if you want real stories, ask Ken and I about the military screw ups with 
binary roll over, missle guidance systems screwing up,
etc, etc.

The basics matter folks .. it's just that simple.


Take care,
Sina



-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ken Perry
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2011 12:46 AM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind 
programmers

Yes and I suppose that assembler wrote the code in what?  How did he know
what to tell that assembler to write.  Excuse me mister assembler please
output my code into the binary format made for this particular chip which I
designed.

Sigh I said I wouldn't say anymore now I am done.

Ken


-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
Coale
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2011 12:22 AM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
programmers

People need to understand though... I understand what you're saying, but
even in hardware design, it is not important. Yes, the designer of a
processor needs to know their own instruction set and how the
instructions are encoded. However, and that's a huge however, they are
not going to continually be writing test code by hand.

A good friend of mine has been working on a processor design. Yes, he
tested a few things out by feeding it raw bytes, however, he did not
ever once write a full program for it using his machine language. In
fact, instead of having to do that, he wrote his own assembler that
would compile to his machine language, so that he was able to do
something similar to:

mov reg0, 100
add reg0, 50

and then test that. Point being, it is impractical to do what you are
talking about in the real world and is therefore not important to be
able to do. I hate for this to come out the wrong way, but maybe in the
time you were working on hardware it was required, but today it is
definitely not. Now don't get me wrong here.. it's an impressive skill
to have if you can do it, and congratulations for being able to do it,
but I'm just trying to get the point across to everyone else that it
isn't an important skill that they need to develop.


On 4/9/2011 9:10 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
I think the problem is  the meaning of important is different for
different
people.  For example.  Knowing how the core of a bowling ball is important
to a professional bowler while knowing that it has 3 holes and has to hit
the pins is fine for people who bowl for recreation.  I will yield in that
it may not be important to some and probably not many but it all depends
on
which place you are coming from.  I am coming from a frame of mind that
hardware design is just as important as coding and both have to meet in
the
middle.  I don't just deal with Intel or AMD and sometimes the compilers
are
not as good as those you might be dealing with.  So I am finished with
this
conversation mainly because it's getting out of hand.  Besides in the
immortal paraphrased words of two famous presidents.  "let me be perfectly
clear",   " it all depends on the meaning of 'is'".

Ken
Ken

-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
Coale
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 10:36 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
programmers

How kind of you to join, master. Can you tell me who said that low-level
was NOT important to know and understand? You admittedly stated that you
ignored 65% of the messages, but then tell everyone to take Ken's side?
Are you kidding me? You admit that you don't know what the argument
(friendly argument) is about, yet you still pick a side? Come on now...

Ken stated that --being able to write a program in pure machine code (no
compiler or assembler)-- is important. I disagreed saying that it is not
important. Knowing low-level concepts (like I pointed out earlier.. how
the processor works, operating system design, etc.) is definitely
important. Writing a program in pure machine code is an unnecessary
skill, not an important one.

On 4/9/2011 7:27 PM, Sina Bahram wrote:
I haven't read 65% of the messages in this thread, frankly because the
SNR
is far too low.
So can you guys please just listen to Ken on this one?

low level is important to know and understand. End of conversation.

Now go do something fun. It's Saturday night.

Take care,
Sina



-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ken Perry
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 8:06 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
programmers
I think we are just going to have to disagree on this.  While I doubt
anyone
is going to rush out and write a bit of Machine language I think it is
still
important to know how.  It's sort of like saying it's not important to
know
that there is a linker and what it does most people on this list will
never
know what the linker does because they deal mainly with High level
languages
but that doesn't mean the linker is not important.  Most people will
never
write machine language but when creating electronic circuits with smaller
chips it is a useful tool.  True you may never hand write it but in
creating
hardware it is very useful in reading it.  I just found learning to write
it
was very useful back in the good old Hack hardware cartridges days.  Sure
the Intel book has both got bigger and more complex but I just saw a post
where a guy wrote a hello world in Machine language just to prove it
could
be done.  Now I will point out he did it in Linux and he had to make his
own
linker of sorts well a shell linker all it did was write the file with
the
numbers he wanted but I think he did that just so he could use a normal
editor and he had to add the Aelf stuff on top but he did it in 120 bites
which I find pretty impressive since 80 of the bites were AELF stuff.
Anyway I am sure we are boring most of the people on this list.

Ken



-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
Coale
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 7:39 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
programmers

Wait, you are adding new stuff in here. Yes, to me, it is important to
know how to optimize code for either size or speed. It is also important
to know how programs are executed and created (knowing the PE32 format,
for example); however, knowing how to write a program by scratch by
using a hex editor and writing pure byte code is not important. And, you
are misinterpreting my reason for saying it is not important. I'm not
saying it's not important because it is nasty studying. I'm saying it is
not important because it is simply not practical and teaches you no more
than studying assembly and operating systems (assuming you are actually
learning). And I didn't say it wasn't useful, either. Knowledge for
knowledge's sake is always good. But, I said it wasn't important. You
seem to be mixing up the knowledge required to do something and the
knowledge gained from doing said thing. In order to start editing a
program using a hex editor, you have to already have the knowledge to do
it (as in, you have to know that there is a data section, a symbolic
table, etc.). You gain no new knowledge (aside from knowing how to edit
executables) from editing, and/or writing, executables from within a
hex-editor.

On 4/9/2011 3:59 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
Oh really?  I found it very useful knowing how to minimize code and data
sections by hand.  It explains what compilers and linkers have to go
through
and ways to get around problems that exist.  It even is nice knowing how
exe
files are laid out.  I agree that it's a nasty bit of study to get to
that
point but I totally disagree that the knowledge is not useful.  In fact
if
you ever want to get involved with the GNU compiler group believe me
it's
useful.


Ken

-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
Coale
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 6:52 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
programmers

My knowledge of how the processor works (by means of knowing assembly
and OS development) is useful. Knowing how to write a program using only
byte code is not (and I couldn't do it without many free hours and lots
of reference manuals, and even then it would be a difficult task). Not
to belittle your knowledge, but I'm just saying that being able to write
a program using a hex-editor (and if you can, more power to you) is not
very helpful in understanding how computers work; learning assembly and
learning operating system design is where it is important, I would say.

On 4/9/2011 3:45 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
Yes and us true geeks used to dream hex in our sleep.  I think there
are
still some of us left and I am no longer one, I know of all the
possibilities and I can still code in ASM for burning chips but I no
longer
dream in op codes and registers, memory locations and IRQ's.  All I was
saying is learning of the existence and how it works is invaluable to a
programmer even today.  Are you telling me your knowledge of the
subject
is
not useful?

Ken

-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
Coale
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 3:30 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
programmers

I didn't say it was impossible (after all, how else would a compiler
work?) I said that it was asinine and impractical.  I say this because
the x86 instruction set is amazingly complex. Sure someone could use a
debugger to look around at machine code, that's not hard at all (in
fact, I do it a lot with vc++ to debug things and get performance
boosts). But, writing a binary file from scratch? I see it being
possible, but you would need to know the encoding of every instruction
you use. For example, "int imm8" is apparently 0xCD + the immediate
byte, so to do int 80h, you'd have 0xCD80. That is fairly simple, but
the "mov" instructions where you can have memory, immediate, and
register operands are difficult, and then for each memory, immediate,
and register operand you have an 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, and for x64,
64-bit versions. It's no small feat to write a binary by hand.

Laugh yes I have read them and there was a time I could write some
very
good
stuff with nothing but a debugger.  Just because it's nasty don't mean
it's
impossible.  I was not even in the same class of some of the guys I
used
to
hang out with.  I knew one that won a programming contest who wrote a
program to display a naked woman with nothing more than Assembler and
a
text
editor.  As for machine language you can write it on your own if you
know
enough.  Unfortunately time has dulled my memory of useless interrupts
because we have so much easier ways to do things now.  I think I could
probably get a command line app to run with nothing but a hex editor
but
calling the GUI might be beyond me because you would have to do some
serious
digging to get that to work and sometimes the information is just not
available anymore.

Ken


Ken

-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Christopher
Coale
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 2:23 AM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for
blind
programmers

What? Have you ever read the x86 information sheets? Teaching someone
assembly is a good way to teach them how a computer works -- having
them
write programs in pure byte code (especially for x86) is both asinine
and impractical.  Maybe not so much for an extremely extremely simple
virtual machine or basic processor, but complex instruction sets like
x86 are flat-out beyond writing op-codes by hand. If you don't believe
me, just take a poke at the NASM source code. ;)

On 4/8/2011 6:47 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
I am not quite as old as you but I come from the same time zone.  I
had
to
learn assembler to hack games on the Vic 20 and the commodore 64 and
the
TI
but more than that when I joined the Air Force and took on
Electronics
Assembler made my life easier.  Then later in life after I lost my
site
I
took software engineering and had to burn chips and while we could
have
wrote stuff in C it was much easier to control the registers and
stuff
with
ASM.  If we used C we allot of the time had to use special assembler
keywords to get things to work quite right.  If you look on the Fruit
Basket
page I was also insane enough to write the fruit basket in Assembler
for
windows xp and it runs in vista.  I am not sure if that runs in
Windows
7
but I should revisit it and make sure it does.  Lost knowledge is not
a
good
thing.  Assembler may not be a way I would write a project now days
but
if
you want to teach someone how your computers work there is only one
thing
better.  The one thing better is straight opt codes using a debugger
and
watching what is going on.  Well you could also write straight binary
files
like a good Fortran coder but who does that any more.  That what I
should
do
is create the fruit basket with nothing but a hex editor.

Ken


-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Bill Cox
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 11:40 AM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for
blind
programmers

On Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 11:16 AM, Littlefield,
Tyler<tyler@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
wrote:
Assember?  Really?  You must be almost as old
as me!  I can't even find people who care about speed or memory
usage
anymore.
I love assembler. It's a great way to teach people what's going on
under
the
hood and make them think about what they do. Every time I see
someone
reserve a 100k buffer just because, I cringe. :)
We must be from the same generation.  I'm 47, and learned to program
in machine code on an 8080 based Intel board with a hex keypad and
some LEDs.  It was a couple of years before I found out that people
programmed using assemblers, rather than entering hex by hand.

I worry that the new generation's early experience with computers is
amazing games and technology so complex they could never
realistically
hope to understand it.  What's the natural path now days for kids to
go from playing computer games to writing them?  On the old Apple
IIs,
you just typed list instead of run, and there was all the code.

Bill
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--

Thanks,
Ty

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