Why should everyone try your hobby at least once?
I'm curious to hear some reasons to try new hobbies that I wouldn't conventionally try otherwise. I'm all ears! :)
I'm curious to hear some reasons to try new hobbies that I wouldn't conventionally try otherwise. I'm all ears! :)
Programming is just solving problems and then trying to teach your computer how to do it by giving it a list of instructions. The interesting thing about it, though, is that you have to understand your computer's limitations and solve the problem in such a way that your computer is actually capable of performing the task. It's like working with someone who is incredibly intelligent, but also incredibly stupid at the same time. It's really just one big puzzle that can be solved in lots of different ways with no actual solid end result to look at and compare your progress to, so it's also a creative exercise as well.
The fun part is coming up with interesting and novel (if only novel to you) solutions to the problems, or finding new ways to view those problems. For example, I recently came up with a solution to a problem that allowed a feature to go from seemingly completely unfeasible to incredibly scalable. The best analogy for that solution would be when Ford moved away from traditional automobile construction to the moving assembly line process. Banging your head against those kinds of difficult problems and coming up with elegant solutions, especially ones that you can draw parallels with, is an amazing feeling.
Normal programming isn't for everyone, though, because it can take a long time to get to the level of experience where you're solving interesting problems. But hey, if you don't mind banging your head as long as you can get some truly visually tangible results, you could always look into some game programming. Unity is fairly easy to get into using and has quite a few tutorials available online to guide you, and it's always satisfying to see that hard work pay off in immediately tangible results through interacting with a virtual world that you create! It's still some difficult stuff, but the payoff is easier to see :)
Knowing how to write software today is like being literate in the medieval ages.
Got a tedious, repetitive task with consistently formatted input? Automate that shit. Even if it's a one-off thing, knowing how to use the power of a regular expression find/replace can save you a lot of time, energy, and patience and make it less likely that an error sneaks by you.
I've never been happier working a whole day to automate a task that's gonna save me 10 seconds every day.
Hey, the more experience you have automating, the less time it will take to automate the next thing ;)
I actually messed the quote up:
Of course this is the top answer. I just wish I could get into it. I've tried my hand at C, C++, Java (in attempts to learn where we've come from coding-wise), and then Python, but none of them ever really clicked with me. I made simple programs that could accomplish the most basic of tasks, but I had to work really hard to accomplish those, and then I didn't know where to go from there.
Also tried making an Android app, and got some basics down and it was neat seeing my app on my phone, but that didn't go anywhere either. Maybe coding isn't something that 'clicks', or maybe just not for me? Maybe I have to slam my head against a wall until it starts to feel normal? I really want to enjoy coding so much because it would be really helpful at work doing medical research, but I never stick with it.
Honestly, I program for a living and I think a lot of people vastly overstate its usefulness and entertainment value to the average person.
I highly doubt that most people have any task in their day-to-day life that can easily be programmatically automated that isn't already by some other existing software application, and as a result I feel like the novelty of it will wear off very quickly. Unless it grips you enough that you do want to go all in and learn to make mobile apps or games or whatever (which is a whole other discussion), then I struggle to see how you will stay interested in programming as a casual hobby.
The lack of easily definable goals and the steep learning curve are very real entry barriers to programming as a hobby. Other hobbies have a clearer sense of progression, in my opinion. If I pick up guitar, I first learn to play individual notes, then I learn scales, then I learn some of my favorite riffs, then some easy songs, etc. For programming, it's not that simple. Once you learn the basics, it's entirely up to you what you choose to do from there, and the possibilities are essentially infinite, with infinite degrees of difficulty.
Learning to make games, apps, websites, etc. all sounds good and fun, but those all take a lot of work, and many people with such aspirations don't realize that at first. Even when you do learn to make a very basic game, for example, how long are you going to play it for? Will anyone else play it? Are you going to forget about it in a few weeks? If you want to start making more advanced things, it starts to leave hobby territory and transition into a profession.
I feel like the enjoyment of it all will be fleeting for most people. Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but programming is honestly not a hobby that I would recommend to everyone.
Thanks. I agree about the hobby progression. I don't know what to do next that isn't jumping into making a whole game or complex app. I'll have to think long and hard about this one.
It's probably just the case that coding isn't for you. And that's perfectly fine. The OP did ask why everyone should try the hobby at least once, and from the sounds of it, you've tried it more than once.
I think for you the coding would be best limited to using it for practical purposes, rather than hobbyist purposes. Simple scripts and all that for automating tasks.
Again, it's not for everyone :)
You're probably right that it's just not for me, but I find that really frustrating because I know it gives you a huge edge in today's workplace. Surely there are people out there who don't particularly enjoy coding, yet learned it anyway to be more productive. I need to learn how they stuck with it.
I think it's best to try not to shoehorn programming into your daily life. Instead, find a task that you have to do a lot that tends to take a lot of time and see if you can automate it away. If you have to dig through dozens of folders to grab files of certain types (e.g. all images), maybe it'll be easier for you if you learn how to use the command line with some pattern matching to search for all files starting at a certain folder ending with certain extensions. If you're constantly opening up CSV files that have the same format and you're always copy-pasting values into a new file, maybe you could look into writing a script to pull those values out automatically and have them dumped into a new file for you.
If you don't enjoy the programming, you could probably get yourself to enjoy the benefits.
Because riding a motorcycle is a wonderful experience that can't be translated to someone no matter how much you talk about it. When you hit a corner lean just right and throttle out, there's something primal there that is so satisfying, and joyful. Or when you give a twist of the wrist from a stoplight and a flawless gear change up to speed, its just... sublime.
That doesn't even take into account that the motorcycle community is super friendly and accepting, or the fun of modding out your bike to be your own unique thing. Or when you pass another rider and they always wave or point to the road as a "Keep the rubber side down" gesture.
Its truly something you only understand once you have ridden a motorcycle. Even just around a parking lot at a motorcycle safety course.
I have two relatives who suffered lifechanging injuries from riding their motorcycles (with helmets and full protective gear). That's two out of two who ride (or rode, neither can any more). Does the possibility of this happening not concern you?
Sure it does, but its a calculated risk. 90% of accidents involving motorcycles happen because of other drivers, so you learn to "ride like you're invisible." I don't take a lot of risks on the bike, ride pretty conservatively, and always assume that other vehicles will do the worst possible thing they possibly can for me, so have plan a, b, c in my head. I can't speak to how others ride, just myself, but generally if I assume everyone is a dumbass and give them a wide berth, I don't have a lot to worry about.
I also ride mostly for recreation, on back country roads. My biggest worry is a deer jumping out or sand on the pavement.
Is it more dangerous than driving a car? Yeah, but its not exactly like driving a car is perfectly safe, or really any of the fun stuff. You can get hit by walking across the street, or I think people who ride bicycles in the city are nuts, every friend I've ever had that biked in cities, even the super bike-friendly ones like Portland, were covered in injuries from people doing everything from opening car doors to straight up turning into bike lanes.
For me, the risk is worth the reward. Maybe one day it won't be, but I'm a bipolar single 33 year old with little family, and motorcycles are one of the few things in life that give me just pure joy. Is a life where you constantly avoid danger, locked up in a house in suburbia really worth living? Not really for me.
Just like any statistic, there's plenty of people that ride their entire lives and don't have an accident. There's others that get in an accident their first week. If you live your life afraid of what ifs, you don't end up doing much. But that's just my view, and I totally get its not for everyone, but, taking a motorcycle safety course for a weekend, nothing bad is going to happen, and it will give you a glimpse into a feeling I haven't found anywhere else.
Not sure if its a hobby... But I ride my bicycle to work and it's the best part of my day.
Fuck traffic, fuck crowded public transportation, fuck gym... Cycling is great!
Makes a world of difference if you have the infrastructure for it.
Can confirm, riding on sidewalks designed for cyclists is way better than ordinary sidewalks.
I'm not sure if this was intended as a joke or not, but in the cities I've lived in I've only every cycled on the road as cycling on sidewalks is both unsafe and illegal.
That's true. And I also know it's for everyone. Depending on the infrastructure, distance, your job, cycling to work can be hard.
Friendly community. At least at the past few gyms that I've regularly gone to, the community is really welcoming and friendly. People there are easy to talk to and will readily supply advice for newcomers if you want it.
Good excercise. Self explanatory.
Easy to jump into. At the gyms, there are routes for people of all skill levels.
Fulfilling. When you finally get that route you've been working on all week, it feels incredible
It's the most fun exercise I've ever encountered. So fun that you barely realize you're working out. Give it a try.
First, a quick note: If you remove the extra line between your list items, they'll all indent properly.
With that out of the way, I think part of the friendliness comes from the inherent need for trust with the sport. You generally have someone serving as a counter weight and they're the one who keeps your line from sliding freely. You're seriously entrusting each other with your lives and general safety. Someone who acts like a dick will probably be shunned pretty quickly because no one will trust that kind of person, and someone who acts like a dick probably isn't the type to trust someone else anyway, so it acts as a natural filter for those kinds of people. It's kind of like a form of self-selection bias.
Learn to solve a Rubik’s Cube. It’s just muscle memory but people will assume you have an IQ of 3000. A simple party trick that can also be done whilst letting your mind ponder, I highly recommend giving it a go!
I remember the first time I "solved" it with that Youtube video by Pogobat. Even with step-by-step help, having solved it with your own hands was a great feeling.
I'd been wanting one for a while and finally got a cube as a Christmas stocking stuffer. Ended up taking about 2 months of just trying to solve it a few minutes a day before I could do it on my own. If I would have actually practiced probably could have done it in a week or two.
Really great party trick and so much easier than I ever imagined.
It’s one of those skills that once you’ve learnt how to solve it, the only way to get better is through practice and muscle memory. Not that difficult though, just gotta solve it a couple of times everyday.
I use it to keep my hands occupied while thinking. Lots of fun.
It’s a good fiddling machine, especially once you’ve got the muscle memory down because you only need to occasionally glance at it. Nice to see a fellow cuber!
Holding your breath and diving deep underwater without a tank is the most freeing experience ever. I highly recommend it more for the training and then the experience is the reward. You will learn to be calm and how to prepare your body for a stressful test. Clearing your mind and maintaining a positive outlook. The deeper you go down under the sea the more you feel in touch with your body and mind. Then you get to look at all the fish and creatures up close because you don't scare them as easily because you don't make a lot of bubbles or noise :)
I wear glasses, hate the idea of shelling out for prescription goggles for snorkeling or scuba, and definitely know I like reef diving from past experiences. What do you recommend as a starting point?
Could use contacts and regular goggles.
I'm not sure about @endash, but personally I can't stand the idea of using contacts. My eyes are really sensitive, so it's just not a feasible option for me.
You reminded me of this video, which is one of the most stress-inducing things I've ever seen.
Sailing. There's nothing quite so freeing in my experience as when a sail, tiller, and boat become an extension of one's body in a stiff breeze. I've known this joy on small boats (Sunfish), big boats (50' cruisers and racing sloops), alone, with others, in all kinds of weather.
My personal favorites are small sailboats like Sunfish, Lasers, and Hobie Cats, and these can often be found for rent at beachfront hotels, lake resorts, and so on.
Having said this, it's irreplaceably helpful to have a patient, kind instructor. Most folks can be off and sailing alone in a small boat after a 30min lesson, and sailing communities can be found just about anywhere.
If you're just interested in riding along or learning a few things, but don't want to be responsible for the boat, you are likely able to find a regular race of bigger boats (4+ crew aboard) just about anywhere that will let you join in for a race/sail. Just call around to local marinas and ask if they have any regular races or "beer can" races, and whether any boats are ever looking for extra "rail meat" (this means you are ballast, and they want you solely for your weight, which, being mobile, can be directed to rebalance the boat in a race). If so, just show up with a six-pack of something tasty, an open mind, and an attitude to learn and not take yourself too seriously, and you'll be welcomed and shown the ropes.
I always thought this was only for the ladies, or grannies, and that it's hard, and requires tons of concentration. Nuh-uh! Probably one of the most relaxing and accepting hobbies I've ever engaged in. I watched a few youtube videos about casting-on/stitching, and I was already making a scarf. Once you get into the zone, it's almost automatic and meditative. Has an active subreddit with a wide demographic, I highly recommend it.
Pretty cheap to start, too. My first scarf was: 2 Rolls of Chunky Yarn ($7-15 per), a pair of bamboo needles size 11 (varies a lot, you can get a whole set under $10). You can get it all on amazon, so if you're even remotely curious, you should give it a try.
My wife gave up on knitting after her third trapezoidal rag, she wanted something she could do without paying much attention while in front of the TV. I've been meaning to steal her supplies and tools and give it a go one of these days.
I'm a guy and I was into crochet for a few years. Now I'm getting started on knitting. I'm making a cowl scarf for my girlfriend.
How do you go about learning it? Any learning resources you would recommend?
Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA)
I bet you've seen those cool swordfights in movies and thought to yourself, "man, it'll sure be cool if I could fight like that" at least once. Well, HEMA is a way to learn how to fence with all sorts of medieval weapons, from a spear to a longsword to a rapier. We even have mounted combat! And all of this is done in a way that is safe, historically accurate, and a great way to get fit.
HEMA stems from fight books written by medieval fencing masters. Since the medieval art of fencing has slowly evolved into what is Olympic fencing now, and now the only information we have left about the techniques for the different styles of fighting are these fencing manuals. These manuals provide a framework for us to recreate how medieval people fought, and you'll end up realizing how unrealistic TV fights are sooner or later. It's a true martial art as well, however, as it takes a ton of practice to just move well, not to mention understanding the theory and being able to execute the techniques.
It's a very rewarding experience, and learning movement in HEMA has actually helped me become more fluid in my everyday movement. You should definitely try it out at a nearby club, just to see if you like it. You get to fight with swords!
I find that this can be a fantastic outlet for keeping up to snuff on your written language skills. Wrote out a really awesome scene, full of description and wonder, but people are having a hard time really getting it? Tweak it a bit and see how it flows after that.
There are tons of people who are willing to read fanfic, even if they don't like it. You get an enormous amount of feedback on a short story very quickly.
Game Development - My problem with most hobbies is that I always feel like "I could be doing something more productive" or I get bored because it's the same thing over and over. Game development really scratches all my itches while being guilt free. You get to learn a lot of skills or put skills you rarely use into use: game design, art, programming, cool fun math, 3d Modelling, texturing, animation, sound design, business, marketing, and more. It's all the fun things rolled into 1 hobby.
It's like going to school again but all the subjects are interesting and nobody is telling you what to do. If you like the idea of spending the night solving some weird problem or figuring out how to make something do what you want it to do, then you'll have a lot of fun. I'm saying this earnestly, no sarcasm. Some people think this is fun, like me, others don't find that fun. To me it feels the same as beating a really hard boss in a game. The satisfaction of the small victories is great.
VR - if you get a high end headset like the Vive or Rift, it's completely different than using any of the "lesser" headsets. Hang out with a bunch of creeps in VRchat and if you stay there long enough you can eventually make friends and they aren't that creepy after all! Play beat saber or boxVR and get a workout while having fun. 1.5 hours of Beat Saber a day has replaced my normal cardio routine.
I've been programming for a while now and have always been interested in game development, but never taken steps to actually learn much about it. Do you have any resources you'd recommend for someone like me who wants to get started?
Not OP, but it depends on what specific field you want to work in. If you want to just create games without creating the low level engine that it runs on, it's best to learn how to use a game engine. Here's a few you can use that are free:
Unreal Engine 4 - A powerful engine that powers games like Squad and Fortnite, with many built-in effects. It uses either C++ or a graphical programming language called Blueprint.
CRYENGINE - Literally the game engine that powers Crysis 3. It's learning curve is pretty high, but it's powerful and it'll last you a long time. It uses Lua or C++.
Other popular engines (that are also free!) include Godot, a FOSS game engine, Lumberyard, which is basically CRYENGINE with Amazon integrations (AWS and Twitch), and Superpowers, another FOSS game engine that runs on JS. Most game developers publish to Itch.io.
It gets much more complicated if you want to create your own game engine, but a couple libraries exist to help ease the pain. You should take a look at building from scratch with OpenGL, DirectX, or the newer Vulkan, or if you want a framework, look at SDL2 and SFML. Game Programming Patterns will show you good design practices in game dev which extend to other areas. And NVIDIA Developer provides a host of NVIDIA-specific documentation.
For creating 3D models, Autodesk provides free 3-year licenses to students, and Blender is literally free. For 2D models, it's a pleasure to draw with Krita if you can't afford Corel Painter and Photoshop.
Awesome, thanks for all that info! Are there any specific learning resources that you recommend (tutorials, videos, etc.) beyond the standard documentation for those programs?
UE4 and CRYENGINE have tutorials on their channels
H313 covered just about everything I would have told you. I recommend spending time on choosing the engine that you use. Watch YouTube tutorials on how to do things in each engine and pick the one that appeals to you. You will be using that engine for years so make sure you spend time picking.
I use unreal engine mostly because I love the materials system and I am familiar with c++. The blueprint system is also really neat, it is way more powerful than you would think.
Most devs seem to choose unity because its easier to jump into. I have never used unity so I can't weigh in on how easy it is. From what I've seen of unity, unreal doesn't seem any harder, just different. However due to the popularity of unity, you will be able to find many more resources to help you.
To add onto what others have said, GitHub's student pack provides free UE4 if you're a current student (on top of tons of other resources).