Learning how to program your PC.

Recently the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, announced that he was going to learn how to program a computer, specifically how to code in Javascript.

He went on to state that he wanted to set an example for others, particularly older computer users, to dig a little deeper into the technology as one means of maintaining a healthy brain.

Most personal computer users, not just seniors, barely scratch the surface of what can be done with the technology they have in their hands. This is unfortunate because it is really quite easy to learn how to command a computer to do some simple things, and have some fun doing it.

If you are able to browse the Internet you must have a browser and imbedded in that browser, be it Firefox, Explorer, Safari or whatever, there is a programming language called Javascript (not Java which is a different breed of cat). You’ve seen it in action when your computer remembers a login sequence or you have completed a form online and advised of a date entry error like an invalid postal code.

To write a Javacript program you probably already have the tool to do so. If you have a Windows-based PC it is in the form of a simple text processor like Wordpad or Wordpro that is included in the basic program package. To learn the basics from your browser Google “Javascript basics tutorial” and you will find many examples of simple Javascript “scripts.” Bookmark the tutorial site. Start by copying and pasting an example script into a blank page of your text processor and then file the script with a short name and the file extension “.js”. Then open your browser again click on “File”’ and locate the script file you have just copied and open it. The script will execute and display something on your screen. Now go back to the tutorial site and do the same thing with another example that invokes a somewhat less trivial application of Javascript.

Repeat this process a few times and before long you will begin to understand how Javascript works and what other things you can do with it by invoking various features and functions. If you find yourself enjoying the experience, be careful, you may be turning into a nerd.

The Vernon PC Users’ Club meets the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre in the cafeteria. Call Betty at 542-7024 or Olive at 542-8490 for more information or go to


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