My First Impression of Programming – Black Magic

In my 4th grade, there was a course named Universal Information and Technology (通用信息技术) – basically, it teaches kids how to type, navigate through file system (of Windows XP), and the basics of Microsoft Office 2003. Well, parents rarely allowed kids of that age to play computer games, so the class was a time for young apprentices of the evil of humanity to play some stupid Flash games using shared computers in the school. 

One day, I went to class as usual – happily and naïvely. I turned on the computer and saw a file named "Game Installation Program.bat." I was excited – after all, who doesn't like new games? So I double clicked the file. Then a black window popped up. I saw some texts scrolling on the screen, so fast that I could barely discern the only word those texts had in common – deleting.

I was appalled. I opened the folder where I carefully stored all my games – it was empty. They all magically disappeared. I almost cried. However, driven by some forces hidden within me, I refrained the temptation and opened the "Game Installation Program.bat" with "textpad.exe"

It was almost ten years ago, so I'll do my best to recreate every important line I saw:

del D:\*.exe
del D:\*.swf
del E:\*.exe
del E:\*.swf

 Even though I didn't know programming or English, I knew three things:

  1. del are the first three characters of the key on the keyboard that can make something disappear.
  2. All games were either an executable or a Flash, therefore they all had either .exe or .swf. 
  3. * means everything. (Technically, * doesn't mean everything; it matches every literal character.)

So, to translate it into a natural language, the files says:

Delete every game in disk D: 
Delete every game in disk E:

Therefore, the "Game Installation Program.bat" should be better named as "Game Deletion Program.bat". I was deceived by my teacher. My innocence dissipated along with my games, into the world of solely 0s and 1s.

So, my first impression of programming – it was black (the default background color for cmd.exe, also known as Command Prompt, is black), and it was magic. Therefore, it was black magic.