Python + POV-Ray

Lifestyle Choices: Learn to Code?

Stepping Stone Series

Kirby Urner
8 min readDec 1, 2023


Let’s say you’re fresh out of high school, or college, or you’re just casting about for a new role in society, and you don’t mind looking at screens…

Let’s stop right there. When I first returned to Portland, Oregon, having been a young boy here, then left, I became a trainer, in computer skills, for people aged fifty-five and above.

Yes, bootcamp for seniors — but that’s not how we talked back then (mid 1980s).

I saw how hard it might be for an older gal or guy to focus on a screen all day, up close, with mouse and keyboard. Especially for those with contacts or eyeglasses. Using a computer was physically daunting for one or more reasons. This will be the case for sharp and capable individuals who would be happier with different roles.

I compare screen world to long haul trucking in some ways. The later is far more kinetic, as is flying an airplane, yet truck and flight simulators have proved popular, because of what they do manage to capture. A big audience for simulators also seek, and often get, to experience the real deal.

Replace the cubicle home office with a game pod, and you’re Off to the Races [tm]. The gamer inhabits that liminal space between the athlete and bookworm, acting out imagined and projected fantasies with at least some of the twitches and twists. Simulators may be healthy in the same way dreams are healthy. We get opportunities to rehearse and prepare.

Did your science museum have one of those “buck and yaw” capsules with the front-facing seats and movie screen? An hydraulic powered simulator, with ticketed shows? Ours did. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

Simulator at OMSI

Truckers and pilots tend to be polymaths, right up there with medical doctors (who like to fly planes, stereotypically anyway). They need to think seriously in terms of time series, while managing GIS / GPS data (including in dashboard controls). There are you data visualizations (DV) right there.