Learn C for free online

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by Macman1993, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. Macman1993 macrumors 6502

    Macman1993

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #1
    Alright I want to learn C but I have one problem and its my parents. My parents are really old fashioned and don't really see programing as a time worthy activity. So I have to ask does anyone know of a free online resource where I can learn C I have no prior programing knowledge so that will probably effect things some. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Sander macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
  3. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    #3
    I can say that it's not a worthwhile activity because I happen to do it for a living. Your parents on the other hand...

    Are they pushing you to become a doctor or a lawyer? Or would they rather you just take up football.
     
  4. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    #6
    Your parents are misguided. I'm not sure what their rationale is, but it is surely wrong. Even if you want to do nothing but program games (which could appear to be frivolous to parents), nearly everything you'd need to learn to be successful would be applicable to software development in general.

    Anyway, I've noticed that you can often get slightly older used programming books online very cheaply. Not quite free or online, which is what you asked about, but a good book can be a great way to learn and you might be able to get a great book for a price you can afford. I'd identify some good books by reading Amazon reviews and then see if you can find them cheap enough on Amazon (click the "new or used" link that appears with many books to get to the people selling the book used) or eBay.

    Good luck.
     
  5. lee1210 macrumors 68040

    lee1210

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #7
    I don't know how "old-fashioned" we're talking, but perhaps they'd see the value if you explained that with your programming knowledge you could design a butter-churn with variable speeds that could measure the current butter viscosity and automatically adjust to an optimal churning rate? =)

    You didn't mention your age, but if you need your parents go-ahead to buy a book I suspect you are rather young. The good thing about that is you have plenty of time, the bad thing is that you will have to work harder. Do you have a job? If not, could you find something that you could do ~10 hours a week so it won't interfere with school? No matter how they feel, I would think your parents would appreciate your initiative. Once you've done that, you'll have your own spending money (at least $50/week after taxes) and your parents would likely be more open to you spending that money how you'd like than if you were spending their money.

    http://cprogramming.com/ is a pretty decent resource. As I always say, start with a text editor and terminal to compile and run, don't try to start with XCode or any other fancy IDEs.

    Good luck!

    -Lee
     
  6. toddburch macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Location:
    Katy, Texas
    #8
  7. MonkeyCookie macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    #9
    I'm guessing that your parents don't understand computers at all, or how useful they can be. Dig up some statistics (salary.com or something) that show how much professional software developers earn. In some parts of the country, their salaries can exceed 100K a year: that should get their attention. You will have to attend college to get that kind of opportunity, but the delay and extra expense is well worth it.

    In terms of programming resources, the Internet is full of them. When I was learning programming, the Internet was not widely available, and all I had access to was very few not-for-beginner programming books in a few bookstores. There are also some e-books available of various programming topics: authors will sometimes post older books or have both a freely-available online book and a for-sale print book. I don't know of any C programming resources off the top of my head(I learned C in a university class), but I have seen them before.

    If you're just beginning at programming, you don't necessarily have to learn C. There are some more beginner-friendly languages like Python, which can run on about any type of computer. I'm teaching my twelve-year-old son programming from the "Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner" book: it's available on Amazon new for about $20, and even cheaper if you get it used. That's a very good introduction to programming, and makes it fun to learn by having you make very simple games.

    http://www.amazon.com/Python-Programming-Absolute-Beginner-Second/dp/1598631128

    It would probably be much easier to transition for C to Python once you are are familiar with programming and have written some programs for yourself than it would be to start off learning C.
     
  8. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #10
    Learning to program is a great way to learn maths and physics especially if you are interested in programming games. Programming is one discipline that encompasses many different areas.

    By saying it is not a worthwhile use of your time your parents are basically saying maths and science and useless subjects and as we all know that is far from the truth.
     
  9. Macman1993 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Macman1993

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #11
    Thank you guys so much for the help. Yeah my parents don't consider programming useful because everyone in my family has done alot of major business deals and none of them based their lives on computers. My parents are nice just don't understand that technology is what successful business is based on these days and since I'm not home often I cant really work to convince them that it is. I hope that I can eventually show my parents that programming is useful but until then I will just not mention it to them.

    P.S I know my parents seem quite stubborn but this is not totally true they where just both raised in the time before computers (and likely electricity) so they seem to think that a person can do anything with their brain that a computer can do.
     
  10. lee1210 macrumors 68040

    lee1210

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #12
    You stated convincing them isn't a priority of yours, but if big business is what they consider worthwhile, http://www.fortune500s.net/fortune500-list.php this is the list of the fortune 500. In the A's there were at least 7 companies whose sole business is in computer hardware or software, and more that depend heavily on computers. That roughly extrapolates to 175 or so on the whole list, or about 30%.

    On the last point, a person can do anything with their brain (and much more) than a computer can. We wouldn't have AI research if that weren't the case, it would be solved. The thing is a computer can do things like math or physics a lot faster than a human. A human can explore a lot of things in parallel that may be more difficult for a computer, and sometimes this means the human can beat the computer at certain tasks. We can't program a brain to do specific computations with the same precision as we can with a computer, though.

    If we had to map the human genome with just humans trying to link together and decode the chains, we'd be waiting a long time. With the computing available with the Human Genome Project began, they expected it to take many years. As the project went on, computing power increased greatly, to the point that they finished years ahead of schedule. It took a lot of smart people's brains doing a lot of work to write the software, determine the algorithms to use, etc., without which none of that would be possible. However, those smart people couldn't have finished within their lifetimes without computers.

    Perhaps none of this would phase them, and your parents would still think this is all just a trend. It could be the case that even if you pursue it and get a good-paying job in software they still won't think it's worthwhile, but sometimes you have to just do what you know if right for you. Hopefully even if they don't understand they'll still support it because you're passion it about it, but be prepared to forage ahead without them.

    -Lee
     

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