Crayola Doodle Penguin; or Why I Hate Consumerist Computing

Posted on by Chris Warburton

I was in Toys ‘R’ Us today, buying some Lego, when I happened upon a “Crayola Doodle Penguin”, which looks something like this:

Doodle Penguin

Now, the first thing that came to my mind was “Oh cool, Crayola are making their own [Turtles] 1!”. For those of you who haven’t had the joyous experience of using [Logo] 2 in school, a “Turtle” is [a simple robot with wheels and a pen] 3, which is plugged into a computer via a long cable. Commands can be sent to a turtle, typically written in Logo, and it will follow instructions like “forward 100”, “right 90”, “pendown”, etc. which, when it’s roaming around on a large piece of paper, will produce pretty shapes. Logo also has loops, recursion and a whole host of other features, making it a fully fledged [functional programming language] 4; in fact, it is a dialect of [LISP] 5!

So it seems that in the 1960s our children were programming computers in a functional programming language to create recursive robot controllers, for fun; whilst these days our children are using computers to send 140-byte messages to each other, manually colouring in the 50 patterns that their unprogrammable robots are pre-programmed with.

This is the reason I hate commodity software, User-eXperience, GUIs, Web Apps and all the other bullshit!