Online dictionaries provide many definitions of the phrase "chopper" but one I remember most means "motorcycle". Where did this originate? Starting in the 1950s, motorcycle mechanics would chop off components (mirrors, fenders, etc.) to make the machine lighter for racing while also making it appear visually cleaner but not necessarily street legal. The resulting motorcycle was called a chopper which today seems absurd because that phrase should have been used to describe the person doing the chopping, not the final product. But hey, these people were not exactly word smiths.
When I started working on computers in the 1970s, computer enthusiasts were already known as hackers because they hacked off seemingly unnecessary parts of computer software so it would execute faster on the smaller (than a mainframe) computers of the day. Everyone around me seemed to know that computer "hacking" was derived from motorcycle "chopping" and still seemed the case in 1984 when Steven Levy published Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution.
Hacking acquired a negative connotation when popular newsrooms associated "hacking" with the activity of "breaking into a computer" (then, usually connected to the telephone network since the popular internet did not yet exist).
Although the phrase "hacking" currently appears to be going through a positive up swing (see: Hackerspace) I think the phrase noodling has fewer negative connotations.
Anyone who started playing with BASIC on personal computers in the 1970s and 1980s will recognize the importance of that language for noodling around. The creators of BASIC intended it to be used to teach computer programming concepts to FORTRAN students, but noodling around made BASIC ideal for teaching other concepts in science, engineering, and math. I am a huge fan of DFT-FFT books (especially these two: Understanding the FFT and Understanding FFT Applications by Anders Zonst of Citrus Press, Titusville, Florida) where the author provided hundreds of demo programs written in PC-BASIC (a generic term I am using for this article).
BASIC on personal computers of the 1970s was usually implemented in ROM, and every implementation was different (Apple2, TRS-80, HeathKit-H9). Starting with the IBM-PC in 1981, Microsoft, began publishing 16-bit software products like GW-BASIC (1983), QuickBASIC (1985) and QBASIC (1991) which worked well on 16-bit operating systems like MS-DOS (1981) up through Windows-3.11 (1992). These 16-bit language interpreters were also supported on 32-bit operating systems starting with Windows-95 through to Windows-7 via a OS technique known as THUNKING.
The big problem today is that 64-bit computers run 64-bit operating systems, like Windows-10, where 32-bit programs are THUNKED but not 16-bit programs. Technical work-arounds exist including "setting up a virtual machine" on your 64-bit OS but why go to all that bother when all you want to do is noodle around? Perhaps it is time to ditch BASIC
Many people reading this will not know that Python was first created in 1990 to replace BASIC. Today, Python is primarily used to do server-side scripting on the internet/world-wide-web but also has many other uses. Here is a short list:
Python does not have these BASIC imitations:
Python3 (which runs on a virtual machine) has no difficulty with these statements:
Imagine using numbers this size to access your data analysis arrays
|simple calendar||a very simple calendar generator||BASIC-to-Python conversion examples|
|pix-of-day||picture of the day generator||extracts a picture-of-the-day (along with some HTML) from a relational database (MySQL or Maria DB) which is then
click here to see it in action: http://neilrieck.net
1) the top right corner will show a NASA chart for last month's CO2 readings
2) eight seconds later, the image and text will switch to something extracted from my database
3) eight seconds later the picture switches back to the CO2 readings
4) this will cycle back an forth for ten iterations
5) punch PF12 on your browser then click CONSOLE to observe logging messages
|dft-fft||Discrete Fourier Transform - Fast Fourier Transform||BASIC-to-Python conversion examples|
|dh standalone||Diffie-Hellman key exchange demo (interactive)||Python interactive standalone application|
|dh web||Diffie-Hellman key exchange demo (web)||Python web application (just to show you how)|
||compute the date of Easter for any given year||it all starts with determining the date of the first full moon on, or after. the Spring equinox.
|compiling caching||Python compiling - Python file caching||article for nerds|
|NumPy||Library to add array support to Python2
Also contains routines for doing matrix mathematics
||Community - 2006|
|scikit-learn||first generation learning library||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scikit-learn||Google Summer of Code - 2007|
|TensorFlow||second generation learning library
||Google - 2015|
|Keras||second generation learning library||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keras
||Google - 2015|
|PyTorch||second generation learning library||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PyTorch
||Facebook - 2017|