953 reputation
510
bio website mctaylor.com
location Ontario, Canada
age 40
visits member for 4 years
seen Dec 23 at 18:42

C and Perl programmer for a suite of Linux based applications and web services.

I prefer to try to help people find how to answer their own questions, than to answer their questions for them. I also try to encourage and hopefully provide constructive feedback on how to improve questions from new(er) programmers, with the goal of hopefully improving the quality of the help their receive.

I view StackOverflow as a tool, rather than a LazyWeb site. In the long term I believe this is necessary to preserve the quality of the site and its usefulness.


Dec
21
awarded  Yearling
Dec
11
revised How to handle large numbers?
add note about factorials, give an approximation of example
Oct
22
comment Why are floating point numbers used often in Science/Engineering?
I think this is a great answer, just not to this question, insofar I am not confident that the asker will understand the points you are making. That and you are being quite glib with the inexact representation of \Real or \Complex numbers by a finite digital representation (regardless of dynamic or static bit width). That is all entirely true, but beside the point. Kudos for not robotic-ally citing Goldberg. :) And Baire's theorem is not part of the usual rhetoric found on Programmers or StackOverflow.
Oct
9
awarded  Nice Answer
Sep
30
awarded  Explainer
Aug
8
comment System Analyst vs Computer Programmer?
To paraphrase my answer I would say that a "System Analyst" is/was the forebearer of what we more commonly called a system architect. The Analyst usage has roots in mainframe and mini-computer era IT / (Management) Information Systems, (M)IS, departments that develop/ maintain or customize & administer information systems (what often is now called ERP or similar) purely for usage within the company (i.e. not a service provider). The high-level portion of the role has typically been evolved into Project/Product Management, PM, for IT or an IT project consultant - but was in-house.
Aug
8
comment System Analyst vs Computer Programmer?
I believe the first half of this question to be very much on-topic, that is what is the difference, in particular, in role(s), responsibilities, and duties of an *? Analyst vs. Software Developer/Programmer. I do agree that the income / seniority portion is career-centric and is off-topic.
Jul
30
awarded  Good Answer
Jul
29
awarded  Nice Answer
Jul
28
awarded  Yearling
Jul
28
revised Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
addendum about languages of 1950s
Jul
28
comment Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
@delnan Those systems ran with clocks in the kiloHertz, so wasting a 3-5 time reduction in performance would likely be the difference between the program completing successfully before the system fails due to hardware failure (i.e. vacuum tube blown) or not. Hardware failures were a daily occurrence in the 1950s if I recall correctly.
Jul
28
comment Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
Before the first compiler was written, the majority of programs were actually written in actual machine code, not assembly language (op-codes mnemonics).
Jul
28
revised Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
correct fact (author or Lisp interpreter)
Jul
28
suggested approved edit on Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
Jul
28
answered Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
May
20
comment Theoretically bug-free programs
I believe NASA or other space program have suggested that N-variant suffers from the problem that too often programmers think alike and thus end up independently writing near equivalent programs with common flaws when the flaw is beyond the most trivial level. For example, refer to the same reference information (see long standing bug in binary search ), tend to use the same algorithms, and make the same sorts of mistakes.
May
16
answered Theoretically bug-free programs
May
3
comment How to pick the testing values for parameterized tests for stateless functions?
Values which represent common modes of failure. The frequency or likelihood of these failure modes can be weighted against the important of testing (i.e. how wide spread is usage & severity of failure) to give a pragmatic sense of how through or exhaustive you need to be. The other criteria often used is how much time is available for you to spend writing and validating the tests for that function. In the end it comes down to management of risk analysis and time.
May
1
answered How to pick the testing values for parameterized tests for stateless functions?