Thursday, April 10, 2008

All in one proposal and draft

I was trying to decide what I wanted to work on for my final draft, and when I was thinking about 'Narrative' and 'technology', something popped into my head. Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine. I read this book a while ago, and absolutely loved it. Apparently many people did, and from what I understand it's quite the classic.

For those of you who haven't read it, Kidder follows around a group of engineers in the 80s who are designing a new computer. He manages to explain the technical aspects of this creation in laymans terms, and it's amazing. However, the drama of the story is created by the politics and group dynamics at work. This creates more of the story than anything.

So, since I am involved in a similar activity, I figured that it would be interesting to attempt to write a story in a similar vein. This would be first person and not third, however. Kidder wasn't an engineeer, yet I write code.

To give you an idea, I wrote a rough draft based on a program I had to write earlier in the semester. However, for my real paper, I'd write more about a larger group project. This shows more of what I mean with technical details in layman's terms, and smaller on the drama of me attempting to get done before the deadline.

Check it out, and any comments or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Adam Johns said...

Well, I guess I need to respond to this as both a draft and as a proposal...

As a draft, I enjoy it, and appreciate your inspiration. While I like it, and it brings back (mostly) fond memories of my days as a comp sci major (while stressing me out, since I've just been trading emails with an old boss, as I debate whether I'm going to teach next year or try to get a programming job -- I'm responding to you and thinking about my resume at the same time).

Maybe it's just all the CS classes speaking, but I'd actually like more technical detail here - links to your code, for instance, a more technical explanation of what it means to write & run your software. For instance, can you explain compilation to a layman? The differences between your programming language and other programming languages? How your program/language allocates and deallocates memory? I'm not saying you should try to do all or even most of those things, but you need to explain something _complicated_ if this is going to be a rewarding project - not simply dramatize the coding experience, although that can certainly be part of it.

So those are my thoughts on your draft. As a proposal, I'd like to see more about what your goals and intentions are - for instance, what do you want to communicate about this group project?

Courtney said...

I was kind of interested in what your project was after hearing you say that you hated it in class. (I didn't get a chance to read your other rough draft) But, I really do think it is interesting. I suck when it comes to understanding all of the programming with computers, but just from the little you had I understand everything so far. So, if you can explain it to me, then I think it's going good. I can't give you much detail as to what you should do to make it better because like I said, I know nothing about computers. All I can say is if you stick with the idea, I think it's interesting.