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  1. #1

    Can I program a toaster?

    Hey everyone,

    I'm not really interested in programming a toaster of course, but I have a question about programming that might have something to do with it.

    I am not a CS person. I have a decent knowledge of IT, but no formal training. I'm not interested in working in IT, but I have a hobbyist's interest in programming. As a matter of fact I do not know how to program, but I am considering learning a programming language and have a shot at it.
    Of course before I embark myself on this ordeal, I wish to know what I can program, and what languages are more versatile.

    So, what can you do with a programming language? Can you use any programming language with any electronic device? What about a radar, or a searchlight, or a vehicle? Can you hack into an old cellphone and reprogram it? Can you rig a computer to control an alarm system? etc

    In brief, what can you program/hack into that is not usually associated with computing?

    Also, what is a straight forward and powerful language that could best suit me? (I understand the importance of compilers/interpreters before languages when it comes to interact with hardware).

    I realize that my question is general and probably naive, but I would like to here your opinions nonetheless.


    PS I also realize that without the right hardware you can program all you want with no practical results.

  2. #2
    You pretty much answered your own question. Anything that has some sort of interface that you can access can be programmed. There are many different ways to interact with the hardware whether you have direct access to it, or through and operating system or you are just sending commands over a serial link.

    The programming language can be any one you want really as long as there in a compiler or an interpreter for the specific hardware/OS you are trying to use. Some programming languages are better suited for things than others so picking a language isn't as simple as just choosing one off a list.

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