Gaming If I only knew then what I know now, computing edition.

FAST6191

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I am trying, as ever, to have descriptive topic titles. Anyway have you ever learned of a new computing program that was available a few years ago, a skill that was available that would have made a task so much easier or simply a mindset (can be a programming paradigm or even general things like using camel case). This need not be something incredibly complex, though if you have since gained high level skills in an area it certainly plays, as I often find the better examples are of the simple things.
This is not "if I had a time machine", more "if only I had known the names of things to look up".

I fear I am old enough to have appeared at just the wrong time for a lot of things -- the internet was not widespread (bbs aside, none of which I was really involved in, I was double digits before I used the internet), computing was not yet taught in schools (we were taught MS office for cretins but there was nothing for me to take and even 7 years after I left it was still a half GCSE with the other half being Russian) and my parents did not know computing at the time (punch cards at school and not a lot else until I really tried to get into computing).

Electronics also counts as part of this if you want it to, preferably more in the music/art/input device world but there is a lot of leeway here.

Still

Latex/Lyx.
My word processing, that which I do not write directly in the browser, is done in three things these days
Very basic
MS Office, Libreoffice (mainly) and I think I still have AbiWord in places.

More graphical but not something I want to do in a graphics editor.
Scribus, Adobe Indesign (some clients prefer it)

Full professional document
Lyx.

Oh how I wish someone had pushed me towards latex/lyx before I did find it. It is slightly odd but frankly if you have a week to write a thesis or similarly important document and you have never used it before (and have access to http://xkcd.com/627/ ) then do it. Make sure your PDF exports are working and then go in cold and make sure you properly designate the parts/sections/subsections/... for your table of contents.


Programming. If I knew something like C or Python earlier then a lot more could have happened.

Regular expressions. http://markantoniou.blogspot.co.uk/2008/06/notepad-how-to-use-regular-expressions.html
Wish I had bothered to learn about them sooner than I did. If you have ever wanted a search you could say in words in about 7 seconds but basic find and replace, maybe with a wildcard, will not do then you probably want regular expressions.

Layers and layer masks in graphics editing. It is perfectly doable without them but it would have been nice to be pushed towards it all earlier.
 
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