By Greg M. Perry
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Additional resources for Absolute Beginner's Guide to Programming (2nd Edition)
Tip Small, handheld wireless devices are introducing even greater challenges to tomorrow’s programmers. The small size and wireless technology require special handling of programs because of limited memory and data that often comes from a source far outside the device itself. 20 ABSOLUTE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PROGRAMMING, SECOND EDITION Summary You now have an understanding of what computers do and how they are used. Many people who are unaccustomed to computers have fears that are not justifiable.
The computer taught to decipher the first sentence, however, is going to throw its cables up in frustration at the second sentence because none of the parts of the sentence are the same. The word “flies” is now a noun and not an action verb. The phrase “like an orange” is no longer a description of the action, but rather both the verb (like) and the object receiving the action (an orange). As you can see from these two sentences alone, understanding simple sentences that most people take for granted poses a tremendous problem for programmers trying to teach a computer to understand English.
Therefore, although it is expensive and time-consuming to write programs from scratch, most businesses prefer to do so, keeping large programming departments on hand to handle the load. A company’s data processing staff might spend a full year writing a program that is similar to but not exactly like one the company could buy. 24 ABSOLUTE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PROGRAMMING, SECOND EDITION Despite the cost and effort involved, it is worth it to the company not to have to conform to a program it buys from someone else.