An Introduction to Re-introducing Ourselves to Computers

In this session we will get intimate with our own computers and write poetry with their logic. This workshop is an introduction to writing folder poetry, and navigating the command line interface using a language called Bash.

Coding isn’t something that just happens behind your screen. It can be a holistic practice surrounding the computer, the programmer, the relationship they have with each other, and the environments they create together.

This workshop assumes no coding experience and simultaneously takes the position that everyone who interacts with computers in some way is already a programmer.  

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Setup + Tips!

Text Editor

  • Install Atom
    • Uncheck the show welcome messages check box
    • on the top left, Atom > Install Shell Commands

Mac Terminal: 

  • We’ll use Iterm or the default Mac Terminal
  • To open, press CMD + SPACE & search for iterm or terminal (it’ll also be in your applications folder
  • We will use bash instead of zsh if you are new to terminal. To switch from zsh to bash, enter the following line in your terminal:
chsh -s /bin/bash

Windows Terminal

  • Download Git Bash
  • How to copy and paste a line in Git bash?
    • Ctrl + Shift + C / V

Download the Garden of Forking Paths

  • Download and unzip the Garden of Forking Paths
  • by default this will probably land in your Downloads folder
    • you should see a folder called ‘garden-of-forking-paths’
    • move this folder into your ‘home’ folder that we will open using terminal
  • Locate your ‘home’ folder. This where we will work from and store files in class, not on the Desktop ☺︎
    • Open Iterm (a terminal app) by pressing CMD + Space to pull up the search bar. Then type Iterm
      • Enter this command to open finder in your home folder (Macs):
      • open .

Helpful Terms

Folder Poetry Best Practices

  • All lowercase filenames and folder names
  • No spaces
    • Use dashes or underscores. for example: my_file.txt or my-file.txt

Bash commands

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☽☼ Homework Due Next Week

Folder Poems

Create a Folder Poem Using only terminal and (optionally) a text editor. This can be based off of your liberatory learning environment from last week or it can be a totally new idea for a folder poem!

  • Suggestion: What folder poem would you make for someone specific that you care about?
  • What would your favorite prose poem look like as a folder poem?
  • Your poem can be narrative driven, prose driven, aesthetic driven, or interactive!

To share your poems:

  1. Add a screenshot of your poem to this arena channel
  2. If you sketched out your poem design on paper first, add your sketch to arena too!

create screenshots of your poem in the way that makes most sense for your poem. The tree command in terminal can be nice for showing an overhead view of your poem, a place to take screenshots. If your poem is very expansive, highlight the parts that are most meaningful to you in screenshots.


More Guiding Resources

Homework is a gift to yourself, and often to each other, not to me so please take and leave what serves you

~~~~misc items below~~~~

To test which shell we’re using, copy this line into your terminal.

From Wikipedia on Shells, “In computing, a shell is a user interface for access to an operating system‘s services. In general, operating system shells use either a command-line interface (CLI) or graphical user interface (GUI), depending on a computer’s role and particular operation.”

echo $0

we should see the terminal return: -bash, let me know if you see zsh instead

Let’s check the weather in our local locations!

Paste the following line in your terminal to check the weather


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