For Loop

The acronym of the Source Entry Utility formed the letters of Begonia’s surname, Séu. Never before did she think that besides being a headquarter, for that was the meaning of Seu, or just a personal pronoun (your in Portuguese), her name also belonged to a much newer world. Perhaps she should not have chosen her vocation as a therapist, because she felt distanced from individuals and not able to comprehend them as good as she understood some applications. She never liked checking up on people and a computer could never lie as was usual for humans.

Passeig Maritim

Passeig Maritim, Palma de Mallorca (in colored pencil)

As she was reading through an introductory programming course Adriana had given her, she saw an explanation of a for loop. A for loop was a construction that repeated a command a certain number of times. Come to think of it, there was a parallel between her thinking and being in (or out) a loop. Sometimes, she found herself in a happy flow, in a condition where the loop could be executed indefinitely, giving her what she desired. At other times, the loop was unreachable, because a condition could never be met. This unhappy flow was disagreeable, but she had learnt to live with it. Unhappy situations were mostly with fellow humans, who either did not appreciate her listening ear or gave her trust only to break it afterwards.

But there was something else about a loop, a repeating structure, that was akin to her own being. She remembered being at school, where each day they had the same breaks and routines. Always trying to engage in conversation, people shied away from her and told her what she said was not worth listening to, while the only thing they longed to hear were their own words. This was painful as was the fact that she only talked with patients, never real human beings.

Cursorily, she examined a piece of code on her screen. Adriana had warned her that she would not understand concepts like fork bombs, infinite loops and recursive methods. But as an open source evangelist, she was determined that she could use the force to read the source.

The Cathedral La Seu

Cathedral La Seu, Palma de Mallorca

She knew she had to put her cursor on a keyword so that its dependent variables would be highlighted. The lines of code were very succinct, not something a beginner would have written. On second thought, Adriana’s story seemed incomplete. For all intents and purposes, she might have been a programming prodigy, but it seemed more likely that somebody else was helping her. This was concurrent with the idea that two programmers knew more that one very good one.

The code felt like a gordian knot and could not be unentangled as easily as she’d hoped. One reason for this was that the code was tied to other code, present in the Java libraries. She always thought Java as something that was installed on old computers, necessary in the previous Century to run certain web apps. But she never knew that this same language powered her Android phone or facilitated the communication between companies. In fact, there were three billion devices that ran a version of the Java Virtual Machine, which enabled the same code to be run virtually in any environment. This malleability scared her and she wondered if Adriana also had this trait, blending in either Eastern European environments or those more Western as her own.

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public class Hello {
    public static void main(String[] args) { 
    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
    System.out.println(i + “Hello World”);
    } 
  } 
}