January 16, 2006 fun

My Son’s First Computer Program

Wonderful things happen when I tell me kids to stop playing video games and to stop watching TV (I try to limit them to an hour of each/day). I mean, aweful things happen at first — you’d think I stuck a sharp stick in their eye. But, after the hollowing stops (and the pull the stick out), the imagination kicks in and they think of stuff to do. Today (they were home from school on MLK Day) John asked if he could write a program.

Now, as you may or may not recall (or as you may or may not care), I just moved a few months ago and I haven’t built enough shelves to hold all my books yet, so my copy of Microsoft C# Programming for the Absolute Beginner, by Andy Harris (which I’d purchased in case this day every came) was buried who knows where. I scoured every book box stacked in the closet in my office and every book box I could get to in the garage before risking an antique painting and crawling behind four matteress to dig through the one box I just couldn’t reach to find it (why is it that whatever you’re looking for is always in the last place you look?!?).

Once I’d found it, I handed it to John so that I could ready the computer for his programming genius. I knew right where to go to get Visual C# Express and I loaded on MSDN Express and SQL Server Express, just in case (Mozart’s dad got him more than one instrument, didn’t he?!?). Of course, I got to the spot where I needed 1.7GB on the C drive (even though I was installing on the E drive) and I only had 1GB, so I had to clean the drive and uninstall a bunch of stuff, all the while John’s pestering me, Do I have to read this part called Intro? What’s .NET? What does the C in C# stand for? I don’t want to read stuff, I just want to do stuff!” Clearly, Mr. Harris had a different audience in mind when he used the phrase absolute beginner.”

So, after about an hour of searching and uninstalling, downloading and installing, and then showing him the difference between the development environment, the documentation, debugging and running, I was ready to give up the driver’s seat and let John try his hand. Here’s his first program:

using System;


namespace ConsoleApplication1 {

  class Program {

    static void Main(string[] args) {

      Console.Write(Hi, Mom!”);