The form said it wouldn't do me much good unless I contributed to Free Software. I disagree, at least in my case. This diary will, hopefully, become a journal of my journey to learn enough to start contributing.
I start school again, to finish my Comp Sci degree. I have an associate's that I earned in the Air Force, but NJIT (where I want to go) won't even talk to me without some calc, so-- it's pre-calc this fall. In took the prerequisite for this course seventeen years ago, so I've bought a book to brush up. It's called "Forgotten Algebra" and is a really good review. I remember most of what I'm reading-- but I'm glad I bought the book to dredge up the remains of my math. It's not like I've spent the past 17 years actually using what I did learn!
Meanwhile, Ive been occupying myself learning sed & awk as a precursor to learning PERL. Scripting languages appeal to me right now (as I'm a DBA), and PERL addresses some issues I feel will be affecting my day job within the next year or so. I found jumping into PERL first a little disorienting so, since it gre out of sed and awk, I decided to learn them first. I'm glad I did and I highly recommend anyone else who's thinking of learing PERL and isn't too familiar with bash or *nix at all start there.
In the future, I think all programming students will learn sed and awk the way all physics students learn Newtonian laws to start with.