I have not been able to learn to speak in a foreign language. I have tried Spanish, French and Russian. Didn't take. Programming languages - a different story. I seem to understand code like it was the dominant language of my youth. I pick it up quickly. If it is something I am unfamiliar with all I need to do is read a source code and I can figure it out.
I had a Commodore 64 when I was 11. I was able to figure out the code to make the creepy voice speak phonetically to pronounce curse words until my dad caught me. After that, the computer moved locations and I had to use it in his presence. Blah! I was off to a good start though.
My early foundations were on DOS. It really blows me away that no one seems to use DOS anymore. If more people understood it they wouldn't need computer repair technicians as often. Many of my computer problems have been solved at home by using what is now called “Command Prompt.” When I was on the phone with tech support for a networking problem, they actually tried to walk me through it. It was hard not to laugh.
When I first started a geocities web page (1997ish), I had windows 3.1. It was not Java enabled. I couldn't use the cool features to drag and drop text and images. I checked out a HTML book from the library and typed the whole page in longhand. I was dedicated and bored. I can still program in HTML and the things I don't know I just look up on the internet.
In college, I spent at least one class a semester programming and coding which was later used for GIS. I know there was basic, python, visual basic, C, Pascal, and java (which I studied on my own). I can produce queries like no other in Access and link them through other applications. I also learned how to import data from other programs and geographically represent them on maps. Oh, good times...
The new web page at works allows widgets for text and images but not solid coding. You can't upload scripts--only images to the host site. I have found how to circumnavigate this to produce flash slideshows. I researched flash enabled slideshows using flickr. The slideshows that are created through flickr are boring. They can't continually run. They automatically stop when the last picture is reached and you can't edit information around them to say what the picture is showing.
I found a slideshow I liked and embedded the link into the new work website. I edited the source code to reference our flickr account and the set of pictures I wanted. Because I copied a section of code, I could modify the background colors, text colors and image size. The best part is the source code file is located on another site so no extra storage space is used on the hosting site. Quite ingenious. The new web page has two different galleries: one of promotional items and one that shows the screen prints we have produced. I am now starting to learn CSS3. I would like to modify the site to be more personalized and professional. Just because we have a basic template doesn't mean I can't jazz it up. I have also signed up with Code Academy (if it is good enough for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it is good enough for me). The best way to learn is by doing and for free!
My years of coding in html, basic and C++ are finally coming in handy. It is nice to have a job that uses some of my former abilities and encourages me to learn more. Now, if I can convince them to let me me take the online class for Illustrator...