I found the portions I could concentrate on pretty interesting. I wonder what audience the hands-on demonstrations are for? Clearly, as a programmer, I’m not really the intended audience of this piece… but I question whether an audience similar to the “protagonist” character really wants to play with the cute widgets. I did feel sympathy for the protagonist, but I don’t feel educated about his concerns. That’s probably fine, since the intent was probably the reverse.
Interestingly, on the mobile version, all the interactive parts of the page are stripped out, which makes it possible to actually read the text. :)
I read somewhere on Twitter that an early version of the piece required the reader to do some simple coding to “unlock” more of the article, but an editor killed that part…
I tried to read it, but my browser could not keep up. The content kept changing and scrolling and different stories came up. If I was susceptible I might even get epilepsy from this page. I need to read this in the evening when I have more time :)
(What I’m saying is, what happened to plain(-ish) text?)
Yeah, I love Paul Ford’s sense of humor, so I want to read this, but it seems like I need to set aside some time.
The link has no fragment identifier, but clicking on it scrolled me to about 1/3 of the way through, and the jokey clippy cartoon with the flower in its hat on the page said “Slow down, you’re scrolling too fast”. It wasn’t me, blue guy!
As a data point for the amount of time you will need, it took me 131 minutes to read the 38,000-word article, according to the blue guy’s popup at the bottom of the page.
Yeah, I tried to read it through last night. I got to the part about trees and started tuning out.
It seemed like he was explaining things well, but it’s hard to stay focused on someone explaining the basics of your own specialty.
My main takeaway was that I’d love to see a similar thing about something interesting that I don’t do for a living, like food science, botany, or financial services or something.
I did like one part enough to quote it with its great illustration, though: “Thinking this way will teach you two things about computers: One, there’s no magic, no matter how much it looks like there is. There’s just work to make things look like magic. And two, it’s crazy in there.”
I get itchy when people talk about computers like they’re magic. Sure it’s amazing that any of this works, and the more you know about every level, the more amazing it is, but calling it magic just seems like giving up somehow.
Fwiw, the amount of text is roughly equivalent to a short book. A trade paperback typically has 300-400 words per page, so a 38,000-word article is about 100-125 pages. From that perspective, 2-3 hours sounds about right.