Editor Columns

Mental STEMulation 2

By WILLIE MALVEAUX, STEM Editor

Over the years, having grappled with a great number of different computer programs, and having used everything from Microsoft Paint to Unreal Engine 4, I have come to realize that computer programs at their root are simple. They all follow a pattern of learning, or how they were built, from the ground up. For example, anything with a graphic element is usually built around a scene or preview panel. The program’s main purpose tends to be the main panel. The menu bar, which exists in many programs, tends to hold options that manipulate the interface or final product in such a way that it can be configured by a button click or a bool, float or integer value. Graphical programs also tend to contain a type of hierarchy, or layer panel which is used to manipulate the order or organize numerous assets or layers. With those located, all that is left is to locate and find out the use of accessory windows and functions. With this, most programs can be learned relatively quickly. This, however does not serve as protection from complications.

Occasionally, frustration will seep through the cracks of doubt and overcome just about everyone. What is important is the perseverance at this point, following the patterns and using obtained knowledge to overcome doubt and traverse into confidence and complete mastery of the program. When frustration is greater than that confidence, there is always the option to seek help with the program. Resources like forums may seem daunting at first, but actually prove to be very useful in helping resolve problems. Of course, there is always YouTube if all else fails.

Another obstacle to mastery is that which is an obstacle to most everything: time. While there are those who are able to quickly and easily grasp and navigate interfaces, true mastery,  like any skill, comes with time and dedication. When time is applied to a program, a deep understanding of it is formed, and when administered to a multitude of programs, a pattern can be found.

Sometimes, looking for a pattern is the best way to prepare, like how knowing history helps society avoid future cataclysm. If possible, finding a pattern in something will help bring a goal of mastery or victory to fruition. Since true wisdom is the ability to make good judgement, finding patterns scientifically, historically, mathematically and socially, may improve one’s judgement greatly. As always, more research is needed, but you can thank me later.

Categories: Editor Columns

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