Computers. They're stupid. Really. Dumb as a rock. I can't say how completely and utterly stupid computers are. They will literally not know their keyboard from their monitor if someone hadn't told them. Lucky for you and me, someone already has told them so that you and I can use our computers with monitors and keyboards.
As unbelievably stupid as computers are, they are incredibly loyal. You can think of a computer as a robot slave, waiting to obey your orders. If you tell your robot slave to jump off a cliff, even just joking, it will fling itself from the nearest thing that is labeled "cliff". It doesn't know, and will never know, that you are just joking. It is your robot slave who does exactly what you tell it to.
This is the dual problem with getting computers to do what you want them to. You first have to explain what you want to do in perfect detail and once you've done that, your computer will do it perfectly. If you gave it the wrong instructions, your computer will follow them to the letter, doing exactly what you told it to.
With such an unbelievably stupid and unbelievably loyal robot slave, it may sound hard to get it to do exactly what you want it to do. It's not that hard, actually. In fact, it's easy to for your robot slave to understand you perfectly if you only use the language of cooking. After all, what robot slave do you know that doesn't like to cook?
Cooking With A Robot
Really, robot slaves like to cook. Shocking, I know. But more interesting is WHY they like to cook. The reason is simple if you take a minute to think about it —- cooking involves the same anal retentive instructions that robot slaves like. Recipes!
A recipe is a step by step list of instructions to cook something specific. Let's look at a recipe.
CANNIBAL GUMBO INGREDIENTS * One well dead human being. * One onion. * One package of Hannibal's All-Purpose Humanoid Seasoning. OTHER THINGS YOU WILL NEED * A knife. * A large pot. * A large spoon. INSTRUCTIONS 1. Using the knife cut up well dead human in small, itty bitty pieces. Give bones to your local witch doctor. 2. Put the pieces of the well dead human into the large pot. 3. Cut up the onion into itty bitty pieces and put them in the large pot. 4. Open package of Hannibal's All-Purpose Humanoid Seasoning and put it in the pot. 5. Cook for exactly 30 minutes, stirring with the spoon every 5 minutes.
Everyone, even a backwards caveman can follow this recipe. And making a recipe isn't far from programming. When you program, you give your computer step by step instructions to accomplish a task. All you need to know is how to structure your instructions so that your robot slave can understand them. This book will teach you how, but first, we're going to divert a bit and talk about the language of computers.