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Adventures in Coding, 1 . 0!

net_noob_kid

I admit this up front – I’m not a hacker.  That said, I never claimed to be one…the people that get all the flack are the ones who call themselves “hackers” and don’t know shit.

Some would probably say, “Then what the hell are you doing on the dark web?”  I think of that as part of my education (negative experiences included).

Notwithstanding, it may or may not surprise you that I’m in the process of learning to code (or as I called it when I was a kid, “programming”).  At that time (around age 12) I was learning BASIC, which seems outdated now, but was a great introduction to the concept of coding.  As a matter of fact, in some ways, it was more difficult than the coding I’m learning at the moment.

qbasic_program

 

Back then, there weren’t any little “error notifications” telling you that you had written invalid code until you actually ran the program.  And sometimes, even then, the error messages weren’t all that helpful. This is one of the games that was included with the QBASIC, called Gorillas. Real Xbox One stuff, huh?

qbasic_gorillas.png

OK, it may not look that impressive, but now that I’m working with code again, those early lessons are coming back to me.  Despite the fact that all coding languages have differences, they do have some things in common.  I have fond memories of a text-based RPG game I created back then, in which you would fight against different opponents using a list of spells, like “fire,” “ice,” and “earth.”  The outcome was decided by some kind of random number generator.

When the fight actually took place, two stick figures would shoot the “spells” at each other (which were basically just colored circles).  It looked a lot like this:

jkfight2_small

Hey, if we had never had ATARI or Odyssey, we wouldn’t have Xbox and PS4 now, right?  As I’m sure my hacker and coder friends know, you do have to start somewhere; you weren’t born knowing how to code.

Coding Once More!!

Currently, I’m using several self-directed learning platforms, including freeCodeCampCodePen, and Codewars.  Through freeCodeCamp, in particular, I’ve learned a lot more HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, Bootstrap, and Javascript than I had ever known before.

freeCodeCamp makes the process of learning fun and informative, and while I occasionally get stuck (as most coders do at some point), it’s those moments that make it all the more satisfying when you figure them out.

One of the Javascript lessons, for example, had you create a simple “mad libs” type game called Word Blanks:

freecodecamp_wordB.png

As simple as it may look, it took a while to get the code exactly right, so it was extremely satisfying when it worked properly (which is like a small orgasm for a coder).

I’ve only just begun on some of these other learning platforms, but CodePen is more like a coding portfolio site.  When you create an original program of some sort, you can save the code on there.

Codewars, on the other hand, is a collective coding platform where the authors learn various techniques from each other.  That one I’ve literally just started using, and I haven’t advanced all that far yet.

Given that I not only like coding, but also cheesy martial arts movies from the ’70s and martial arts in general, it’s the perfect crossover of the two!!

20150702_codewars

 For the people who are accustomed to sites like freeCodeCamp, however, Codewars may seem a bit more advanced.  On the former, especially on the earlier challenges, some of the code is done for you.

This is sometimes the case on Codewars, but other times you’ll have to do the entire function from scratch.  There’s a lot of variation.

Anyhow, all this is to say that while it has its frustrations, the process of learning to code is very amazing, and overall, it’s a great method of learning to think in a more abstract way.

As for how this relates to the dark web, I’ll say this: it’s much less intimidating if you know your coding, although people there tend to be on the much more advanced side.

So…watch your back, readers.

 

 

 

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About secretsofthedark

Have you heard of the dark web? Simply put, it's the "hidden internet" built on networks like Tor. "Secrets of the Dark" chronicles my dark web experiences, but is also aimed at demythologizing it and teaching about it. Want to reproduce one of the "horror stories"? Contact me at ciphas@protonmail.com.

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