Nothing is withheld from us...
August 8, 2012 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Two things about working in coffee shops. First, don't assume everyone else in there is a hipster. Second, don't assume that the elderly person who befriends you is a crazy old man telling tall tales. Else you may miss out on the meeting experience of a lifetime.
posted by Wordshore (71 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite

 
"The guy who invented the computer" is a bit much, isn't it?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:33 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cool story, and one more reason to pay attention to older people. This may be attributable to the fact that I don't live in Portland, but none of the coffee shop encounters I've been suckered into are remotely as fun. Maybe I ought to move to where the cool people are. All I have here are college students, proselytes, and people who use their laptops as boom boxes.
posted by Nomyte at 5:37 PM on August 8, 2012


There's something rather sad about Russell Kirsch being reduced to hanging around coffee shops, chatting up young whippersnapper programmers about his glory days in computing.
posted by zachlipton at 5:38 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


And by a bit much, I mean no one considers this guy "the guy who invented the computer". Babbage, Turing, or von Neumann, right? At least if you're in the Anglo-American world. The Germans might name Konrad Zuse. But really, it was Turing.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:38 PM on August 8, 2012


"The guy who invented the computer" is a bit much, isn't it?

"I created the world’s first internally programmable computer." isn't. Especially when it's true.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:39 PM on August 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


That being said, I have written maybe a hundred columns and composed three albums worth of music on the iPad. There is plenty you can create with it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:40 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's something rather sad about Russell Kirsch being reduced to hanging around coffee shops, chatting up young whippersnapper programmers about his glory days in computing.

He's retired! Leave him alone!
posted by eugenen at 5:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [32 favorites]


The World Cup on NW Glisan, huh?

Guess I could have run into Russell Kirsch, that is, if I ever brought a laptop with me to the coffee shop. That's a great story, though.
posted by furiousthought at 5:44 PM on August 8, 2012


I'll never forget the time I went to a nationally-known expo for photography gear and gushed over an ingenious piece of darkroom equipment I had recently purchased. "It's such a clever, elegant solution for a home darkroom, you wonder who thought of such a thing." The shy, retiring floor representative paused and replied with typical British modesty, "Why, well, I did." Hasselblad sent trade show girls, Nova sent a man in his 50's who had invented things.
posted by availablelight at 5:46 PM on August 8, 2012 [25 favorites]


"I created the world’s first internally programmable computer." isn't. Especially when it's true.

Yeah, but internally programmable computers were von Neumann's idea all the way. Sure, "created" is ambiguous, but I think "invented" is just wrong. And SEAC was just the first American internally programmable computer. SSEM beat it. UK for the win. Even the Aussies beat SEAC.

So, yeah, it's not true.

But inventing the drum scanner... that's something! I'm serious; that's an important piece of technology.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:49 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


“I’ve been against Macintosh company lately. They’re trying to get everyone to use iPads and when people use iPads they end up just using technology to consume things instead of making things. With a computer you can make things. You can code, you can make things and create things that have never before existed and do things that have never been done before.”

Maybe not everybody has this compelling drive to create things? Or the people who want to program will choose the tool appropriate for the job?

Blaming iPads for not being suitable for programming is like railing against televisions for not being movie cameras.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:56 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Damn.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:56 PM on August 8, 2012


I like this guy. He understands creativity is more important than the desire to consume. It would solve all of our problems as a human species, actually.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Blaming iPads for not being suitable for programming is like railing against televisions for not being movie cameras.

True, but the prevailing "wisdom" at the moment is that soon desktop PCs will no-longer exist and everyone will be using iPads for every damn thing. That's the part that's bullshit.
posted by Jimbob at 6:05 PM on August 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


There's something rather sad about Russell Kirsch being reduced to hanging around coffee shops, chatting up young whippersnapper programmers about his glory days in computing.

Hanging around chatting to whippersnappers is how we used to transmit information.
posted by Kerasia at 6:05 PM on August 8, 2012 [69 favorites]


Reminds me of when I worked third shift Waffle House and had a regular customer who was an actual rocket science. Lot of these old guys hang out in such places.


(I also met the original Mr. Clean there too, but that's a tale for a different thread.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:05 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I must say, some of you are really very hard to please-- and thanks eugenen--I do not have this man's portfolio but I have coffee every morning with friends of all ages and really do not need anybody's sympathy--i have never been happier, love the freedom and manage some creativity of my own.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:08 PM on August 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


Maybe not everybody has this compelling drive to create things?

That's sort of the point I think. People with compelling drives will take care of themselves, it's everyone else who is floating.

If you put a paintbrush in most people's hands they will go to town for a little while. The same goes for other artistic tools. People like to create, they want to do it, but mostly it's a passing fancy they will only indulge if the tools are close at hand.

The personal computer is a remarkably flexible tool to have close at hand, but a tablet is much less so. So yeah, I think he has a point that we'll lose something important if we move to a tablet only world. "Casual creativity" perhaps.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


The World Cup on NW Glisan, huh?

yes! That's my favorite haunt. There's a rumor that the World Palindrome Champion hangs out there, too.
posted by msalt at 6:17 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For some reason, after having read the first 3rd of the post, part of me thought that the old man would turn out to be the author from the future. (Perhaps it was because I saw the title of the blog was Blog of Impossible Things). Anyway, I think the actuality of the situation turned out to be pretty impressive in its own right.
posted by sendai sleep master at 6:18 PM on August 8, 2012


So cool!
posted by Kevin Street at 6:30 PM on August 8, 2012


I loved this story! Thank you.
posted by sweetkid at 6:34 PM on August 8, 2012


Thank gawd it wasn't a mefite there:

RK: I did some pretty interesting things.
MF: Like what?
RK: First internally programmable computer.
MF: Hold on old man.
MF:
MF: You haven't done shit, and here's the hair splitting that allows me to trivialize your career.
RK: Ah, well...I'll get back to my coffee.
MF: Damn right, old man. And I'll get back to my role as guardian of Wikipedia-as-fact, since that's an acceptable alternative to actual creativity and accomplishment.

posted by kjs3 at 6:42 PM on August 8, 2012 [80 favorites]


Very cool story. Thanks!
posted by woolly pageturner at 6:46 PM on August 8, 2012


I, a not all that techie person knew the name well enough to exclaim audibly at the reveal, so I'm not too hung up on the semantics. But then I felt starstruck when I found out I'd been in the cyber-presence of Tom West's daughter, so maybe my conception of techieness is miscalibrated.

But that's a pretty awesome quote too. Brings something to mind...

Nothing is withheld from us which we have conceived to do.
Do things that have never been done.

Do what thou wilt.
posted by cmoj at 6:47 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty great story.

Reminds me of the eloquent and elegant old bloke I got chatting to into a cafe one time in St Kilda who turned out to be an Auschwitz survivor, with tattoo and all.

Oh, also, is there really a thing about being in a cafe and being a hipster? Maybe that's a Portland Oregon thing?
posted by wilful at 6:47 PM on August 8, 2012


Something I just worked out was that this computer (which clearly wasn't the first, but was clearly very important) was built by Kirsch and others when he was only 21! Pretty amazing.
posted by wilful at 6:57 PM on August 8, 2012


cmoj I came across the post and FPP/MetaFiltered it because someone on FB publicly posted it to her, I noticed it in the column of stuff FB scrolls on the right hand side, and it looked interesting. How small is this world? :)
posted by Wordshore at 7:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spent a lazy afternoon a few weeks back at a local bar chewing the fat with a multimillionaire VC, a pair of college professors at a very, very prestigious uni, a Hugo nominated author, a surgeon, two executive chefs and a guy who drove a forklift. Thing was, the forklift driver was also a professional long drive competitor and scratch golfer. We all got some really good tips on our golf games.

Never underestimate what the random person you meet at a coffee shop/bar/book store can teach you.
posted by kjs3 at 7:05 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I’ve been against Macintosh company lately. They’re trying to get everyone to use iPads

When did the audio gear producer Mcintosh start trying to get everyone to use ipads?

is there really a thing about being in a cafe and being a hipster?

Once one defines 'hipster'....because most of the 1950 hipsters would have caffeine interfere with their meds.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:13 PM on August 8, 2012


People with compelling drives will take care of themselves, it's everyone else who is floating.

That's a good point I hadn't considered previously, and it totally resonates with me. I used to play piano when I lived in a house with a piano. I could just sit down and start playing something and before I knew it I was writing new melodies. Now I have a keyboard, which sounds close enough to a piano and is close to the same experience to play. But I never play it. And I think the reason why is that I have to turn it on before I can play. That little step of intentionality is generally enough to keep me from casually playing piano.

The thing is, I feel like tablets, not laptops, are the piano or the paintbrush in this analogy. I make websites for a living, and the idea of using a tablet for that still seems crazy to me. I'd probably just stop doing that if all I had was a tablet. But I don't draw or make music on my laptop. I do both on my tablet. In all of my casual creative pursuits, I prefer my tablet. It's only where I have the compelling drive to make stuff that I prefer my laptop. And even then, it feels like more effort.
posted by scottreynen at 7:14 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


But then I felt starstruck when I found out I'd been in the cyber-presence of Tom West's daughter, so maybe my conception of techieness is miscalibrated.

When my dad retired he'd have his regular lunch place where he was basically an 11:30 fixture every day the place was open. Occasionally one of the waitresses who knew he had done something "with computers" would tell him about some PC problem she was having and he'd take the thing home and take it apart and put it back together again and usually fix it.

He was quoted in Wired as saying "Nobody in this town knows who I am.... I don't talk about what I did. They don't ask." he was very happy to have it be that way but was occasionally stoked to get to help someone out. I thought about him when I read this story.
posted by jessamyn at 7:15 PM on August 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


There's something rather sad about Russell Kirsch being reduced to hanging around coffee shops, chatting up young whippersnapper programmers about his glory days in computing.

Seeing past the inspiring words and "be creative" message which I normally enjoy without additional analysis, I have to kinda agree.

It would be one thing if the blogger reached out to the old man first, but in this case, the guy starts up a conversation about computers with a young guy using a computer, knowing full well that he's going to completely blow his mind in 2 minutes.

It's a little like Buzz Aldrin hanging around the planetarium asking kids "so, you like outer space?"

Eh, who am I kidding, that would actually be pretty awesome.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:15 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


What a cool story, thanks for sharing.
posted by device55 at 7:18 PM on August 8, 2012


word to ksj3. Naysayers can suck it. Dude rocked an enviable career and is also apparently a decent human being.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:20 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, he's wrong, in that the iPad is an incredible tool for artists, musicians, writers and organizers. You can create you plenty with the tools at hand on the iPad. It's the original Macintosh resurrected in its pure platonic form... and it's less than $500 bucks. $200 in 1980's money, when the original Mac went for $2500.

He's right in that you can't use the computer to its fullest by programming it - the tools to interlink and automate data aren't there. You can't dive into the guts to create a new computer from the old.

This is Apple's fault. They should have put a lot more time, money, effort and deep thought into how to get artists, musicians, writers and organizers to modify their own tools, and share their modifications safely and simply. Hypercard was the first and last heave in that direction. Automator and AppleScript are cool and all, but... too tiny, too hard, too marginalized.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:30 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude rocked an enviable career and is also apparently a decent human being.

Yes, so why inflate his accomplishments?
posted by grouse at 7:35 PM on August 8, 2012


(Also, I once yelled at Vint Cerf for fucking with my DSL service. He was the newly appointed chief technologist at Verizon, and had not yet been informed at how Verizon was screwing over CLEC data providers, and was proudly wearing the "Cerf - Verizon" nametag at an EFF fundraiser my brother had dragged me to. It wasn't until I got home until I put together that CERF was not an acronym.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:38 PM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Nothing is withheld from us which we have conceived to do.

I haven't won the Tour de France yet. Just sayin'.
posted by klanawa at 8:09 PM on August 8, 2012


You haven't tried.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:10 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


a regular customer who was an actual rocket science

Was it metallurgy?

posted by stebulus at 8:12 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, so why inflate his accomplishments?

Sure, Von Neumann had the idea, and Kirsch built the thing.

But if you think having the idea is the hard part, and not actually making the thing, I don't know what to say to you.

You've never made a thing. That's the hard part.
posted by mhoye at 8:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


He was quoted in Wired as saying "Nobody in this town knows who I am.... I don't talk about what I did. They don't ask." he was very happy to have it be that way but was occasionally stoked to get to help someone out. I thought about him when I read this story.

I was starstruck by the fact that you chilled with Tracy Kidder, myself.
posted by liketitanic at 9:04 PM on August 8, 2012


Kirsch built the thing

But what is "the thing?" It's not the first computer. The Colossus, the Zuse Z3, the ENIAC, the EDSAC, the EDVAC, SSEM—all these predate SEAC. Kirsch is simply not "the guy who invented the computer" in any sense, in terms of concept or implementation.

This is bewildering—it's as if someone wrote an article describing a chance encounter with William Boeing and described him as "the guy who invented the airplane." Then when it is pointed out that no, the Wright Brothers invented the airplane (or maybe Alberto Santos-Dumont depending on you ask), but no one knowledgeable credits Boeing with inventing the airplane, people attack the messengers.

Why? Why is it so important that the inaccurate narrative stand? Why can't Kirsch simply be someone who created one of the first computers, or the guy who invented the image scanner? The description doesn't change the validity of his insights.
posted by grouse at 9:14 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


cmoj: Do what thou wilt.

I'm glad I wasn't the only person who immediately thought of Thelema.
posted by gilrain at 9:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting artifact of this encounter... perhaps Mr. Kirsch realizes that the more he talks about it, the stronger the history becomes?

(thanks realtime search results!)
posted by rh at 9:31 PM on August 8, 2012


This is bewildering—it's as if someone wrote an article describing a chance encounter with William Boeing and described him as "the guy who invented the airplane." Then when it is pointed out that no, the Wright Brothers invented the airplane (or maybe Alberto Santos-Dumont depending on you ask), but no one knowledgeable credits Boeing with inventing the airplane, people attack the messengers.

Thanks for putting words to that; I was having trouble expressing exactly why it bothered me so much.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:42 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


mhoye: But if you think having the idea is the hard part, and not actually making the thing, I don't know what to say to you.

I think your statement is correct but does not apply to the case at hand. Von Neumann and Turing and all them did a lot more than "having an idea". They didn't just say, "you know, maybe you could make a machine that computes whatever you tell it to compute and not just what you built it to compute, yeah, that would be cool" and take another hit of the bong. They developed the foundations of a rigorous theory of computation in the abstract. That's not "having an idea", that is 100% "making a thing", just as much as creating a device is.
posted by stebulus at 9:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a little like Buzz Aldrin hanging around the planetarium asking kids "so, you like outer space?"

That was actually the first thought I started typing, and then I went for something about Neil Armstrong shaking his fist at Curiosity and those meddling kids exploring his solar system, but I realized that really didn't fit the situation here (as Kirsch's message was fundamentally inspirational).

The reason I immediately rejected the Buzz Aldrin comparison is because I saw Aldrin when he was the keynote speaker at the California State Science fair when I was in 7th grade (2001 according to Google, which answered the question faster than I could do the math). The man frankly appeared like he didn't have the foggiest idea where he was, who he was talking to, or what he was talking about. He pretty much just mumbled something incomprehensible for a few minutes before we got Grey Davis' wife to tell us how science was so important to California that the Governor dispatched her to speak to us all. For all I know, Aldrin thought he was on the moon at the time.

So maybe Buzz Aldrin hanging around the planetarium asking kids "so, isn't this one-sixth gravity amazing?" would be more apt. Of course, Aldrin did punch a moon landing conspiracy theorist in the face, so that's not to say he isn't awesome.
posted by zachlipton at 9:54 PM on August 8, 2012


True, but the prevailing "wisdom" at the moment is that soon desktop PCs will no-longer exist and everyone will be using iPads for every damn thing.

I don't believe that simply because of the gaming community. Angry Birds is not exactly Skyrim.

And if at some point, I can have the power of a hardcore gaming PC in a handheld device, could I not, in theory, also create and program?
posted by Malice at 10:18 PM on August 8, 2012


The idea that you need to be able to code in order to produce anything original and worthwhile in an electronic medium is responsible for some shitty trends in electronic media.
posted by mobunited at 10:46 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you're looking at it backwards. Why would you create computer devices that you can't program? Someone is programming the damned things. Apple has not earned the benefit of the doubt on their openness to DIY.
posted by msalt at 11:08 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]




This was super cool.

I don't believe I could have gotten far enough past the wuffo wuffo stage to have a decent conversation with him.

I guess I am too easily impressed.
posted by mule98J at 11:30 PM on August 8, 2012


"There's something rather sad about Russell Kirsch being reduced to hanging around coffee shops, chatting up young whippersnapper programmers about his glory days in computing."

Russell Kirsch has accomplished more in his life time than any of us in this thread are likely to, he has no need to impress you.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:30 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think the whole thing about what he did or didn't totally, really, actually, 100 percent do is just a big derail on a great story of a young man in a coffee shop running into an older guy with a story to tell, a damn good story, and the luck that the young man had to shut off his self-importance enough to allow himself to enjoy meeting this fine man.

Was he *right* or *wrong* about tablets? Who gives a rats ass? He had an opinion, he backed it up, he was kind, he didn't try to run over the younger guy, he tried to impart some hard-won wisdom and it appears he was successful.

It's a real nice column about a real nice slice of life. The writer was open enough to be party to it, alert enough to recognize that it was/is important, savvy enough to keep track of what was said, and kind enough to write it for us to enjoy.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:35 PM on August 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Wikipedia has Kirsch down as "created America’s first internally programmable computer" rather than the "created the first", but I'm all for a teeny bit of poetic license from 80 year olds.
posted by memebake at 12:06 AM on August 9, 2012


Two things about working in coffee shops: Writing a blog is not "working." Unless someone pays you for it. Which they don't.

I forget what the second thing was...
posted by sour cream at 12:59 AM on August 9, 2012


I must remember when I'm next chatting to someone in a coffee shop or bar to make sure that everything I say is precise, footnoted, cross-referenced and backed up with a literature review. Because we all know this man was WRONG to say "I invented the first computer" and should have quoted Wikipedia word for word just in case someone on the internet gets upset.

I'm more concerned why people are arguing over this interesting man and not the blogger whose mission statement is

> "I try to live a life worth writing about by pushing my limits, living an adventure and telling a great story by doing the impossible"

I mean, come on.
posted by milkb0at at 3:59 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


> But inventing the drum scanner... that's something!

Click through a few wikipedia pages and you come to Kirsch operator, which turns out to be edge-finding. All those photoshoppers out there turning photos of their grandkids into "pencil sketches" owe this guy.
posted by jfuller at 6:13 AM on August 9, 2012


What a great story.

"...had a regular customer who was an actual rocket science..."

Heehee. I don't usually point out grammar errors on MeFi (I reserve that for watching prime time TV), but this one made me smile. I'm imagining an ethereal cloudlike being rolling into a Waffle House.

'HELLO, HUMAN,' it purred.
You stand behind the counter, befuddled and anxious. 'May...may I help you?'
'I SHALL HAVE COFFEE.'
You pour the coffee, never taking your eyes off the cloud. Finally your curiosity overwhelms you. 'Who...or what...are you?'
'I...AM ROCKET SCIENCE. I SHALL HAVE A PECAN WAFFLE AS WELL.'
posted by spamguy at 6:22 AM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


This old man did something with his life. Who cares about a how he actually described it. What the @#$% have you done? Get to work!

Brought to you by an old man that hasn't done @#$%.
posted by incandissonance at 7:23 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blaming iPads for not being suitable for programming is like railing against televisions for not being movie cameras.

That's a story that Apple dearly wants you to believe, but the iPad is fundamentally a computer. It cannot be programmed by users because Apple does not want it to be programmed by users. Security and quality assurance are the nominal reasons, but it doesn't take much to see that Apple is raking in money hand-over-fist with their vertical monopolization of the software development process. They don't have any interest in opening the platform, even if it could be done in a secure and high-quality way.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:33 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't have an iPad, but it's my understanding that you absolutely can write code on an iPad and run it on an iPad without any intermediation. There is nothing whatsoever stopping you from writing a program in javascript in a text editor on the iPad and opening it in Safari on the iPad.

Can you code in your coding environment of choice? No. Can you code in your language of choice? No. Can you compile natively-executable code on the iPad and then run it on the iPad? No. But you can create programs and run them.

Is an iPad a full-featured development environment? Nope. It's also not a television set, a recording studio, or a newsroom above a printing press, but people make videos, record songs, and write news stories on it every day.
posted by gauche at 8:00 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great story!

Also, I'm surprised the nitpick derail was about which computer he invented/created. I figured it would be a number of people grousing about how his inspirational quote was related to God and what a horrible person he was for daring to get all Fundie on the blogger.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:03 AM on August 9, 2012


glanced at his half-eaten pastry now-cold

The thing I am getting from this article, other than the points mentioned above, is that there is a coffeeshop in Portland that serves fresh, hot pastries and I need to go there.
posted by spec80 at 8:40 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Writing a blog is not "working."

I'm guessing that you're not familiar with the world of non-fiction publishing. Even putting aside self-publishing, which a successful blog can make lucrative, the absolute most reliable way to get a book contract today is to have a blog with 100,000 unique page-visits a month or more.

A social media following has become the publishing industry's main definition of a "platform," which is their primary qualification for writers who want to get published. If you're not a celebrity, you need one.
posted by msalt at 9:00 AM on August 9, 2012


I don't have an iPad, but it's my understanding that you absolutely can write code on an iPad and run it on an iPad without any intermediation.

That's a good point, you can run JavaScript, although you would need to go through an intermediary web server since you can't open local files with iPad's Safari. It seems like some enterprising Javascript hackers have even figured out how to get things like multi-touch to work, which is pretty neat.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:17 AM on August 9, 2012


although you would need to go through an intermediary web server since you can't open local files with iPad's Safari.

I thought I'd seen an article about a text editor that had a "save and open in safari" option but it's very likely I'm mistaken. Seems like an obvious oversight, though, especially since it's apparently pretty easy to incorporate webkit into your own apps.
posted by gauche at 5:46 PM on August 10, 2012


Heehee. I don't usually point out grammar errors on MeFi (I reserve that for watching prime time TV), but this one made me smile. I'm imagining an ethereal cloudlike being rolling into a Waffle House.


Autocorrect is my nemesis....but good guess on the pecan waffles.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:28 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's something rather sad about Russell Kirsch being reduced to hanging around coffee shops, chatting up young whippersnapper programmers about his glory days in computing.

However true this is, one must find a deeper meaning. Perhaps he knew that this would find its way to the blue and inspire someone to, I dunno, cure cancer or something.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 8:27 PM on August 10, 2012


Just to follow up after looking around the App Store a bit: there's a free app called JavaScript Anywhere that does just what I'm talking about: you can write html, css, and javascript, and execute in a browser.

There's also Codea, (formerly Codify) which lets you write lua code and run it on your iPad. There's at least one python coding environment. There's an app called "CodeToGo" which lets you code on your iPad (but you have to run it remotely via internet connection) in a long list of languages. There's an app to write and run ProcessingJS. May of these apps are free.

Like I said, I don't have a dog in this fight one way or another, but it seems like there are at least some ways to write and run code on iOS, (and "having an internet connection" does not seem like a particularly onerous form of intermediation, although it is probably not in the spirit of the inquiry.)
posted by gauche at 11:03 AM on August 11, 2012


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