Hello Dr. Barski,
Thanks for taking part in this discussion - I appreciate it - it is always great to chat with the author of a book on a subject you like..! I have a problem that I am hoping you, as an author of a book that teaches a language, might have some insight into. Thanks for taking the time to read this :)
I've been on the internet in one way or another since the early 90's (I started out using bulletin board services, yahoo was a directory listing, and I used GOPHER/ARCHIE) on 14.4K and then 56K modems to start with - so I would like to think that I have some skill with technical stuff. However, I have tried and repeatedly failed over the years to learn any programming language -though I can hack together simple shell scripts and PERL scripts to get the job done in a pinch. I suspect this is might be because of two reasons:
a) Lack of a real problem to solve (i.e. lack of motivation)
b) Programming requires a completely different way of thinking that is alien to me. So I can never 'get it' :/
Since I am now a biologist doing my PhD in molecular genetics, where I often work with large-scale datasets (RNA sequencing data, microarray data, genome-wide mRNA expression data, etc), good programming skills would allow me to ask questions that I cannot even consider because of lack of skill. This gives me my problem that I need to solve. However, I have spent lots of time trying to learn LISP/Scheme/Python and failed miserably. I am very tempted to get your book, and I recognize that you cannot ensure that I learn programming; however, I was hoping you had some tips or suggestions on how I could approach the topic and learning the/a language in general.