603 reputation
37
bio website mctaylor.com
location Ontario, Canada
age 39
visits member for 3 years, 7 months
seen 3 hours ago

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.


1h
awarded  Yearling
6h
revised Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
addendum about languages of 1950s
6h
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.
7h
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).
7h
revised Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
correct fact (author or Lisp interpreter)
7h
suggested suggested edit on Why was the first compiler written before the first interpreter?
7h
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?
May
1
comment Is it legal to reuse code from a “programming cookbook”?
Unfortunately the particular book does not have the explicit notice that later O'Reilly books include now on code usage, which does allow sane usage to solve a problem, but does not give permission for duplicating content en masse. For example Programming Perl 4th edition (2012) has such a code usage notice near the end of its preface. They also unfortunately don't include a license text in the downloadable examples from the Perl Cookbook's website either.
Dec
21
awarded  Yearling
Sep
16
awarded  Excavator
Sep
16
revised What is the most inspiring speech from a developer you ever watched?
update link to what should hopefully be a more stable link
Sep
15
comment Has “Not everyone can be a programmer” been studied?
"Anyone" or "Everyone" may be dangerous generalities, as one area I know of no studies and have no personal experience, is computer programming by individuals with cognitive or developmental disabilities. I suspect people who have problems learning, would be at a severe disadvantage, which could translate into a legitimate limitation, or frustration barrier high enough that it is typically not crossed, but I don't know of any survey or studies on the topic. And I don't know of any studies on whether people lacking any formal education can be successful at programming.
Sep
15
comment How important is membership in industrial or professional organizations?
To paraphrase; simply being a member is of limited value in and of itself, but being an active member can be both enlightening and reputation building.
Sep
14
comment How important is membership in industrial or professional organizations?
Suggestion: Split IEEE and IEEE Computer Society into separate headers, as they are separate groups where membership in one does not imply membership in the other. The majority of electrical engineers in the IEEE are not IEEE CS members, and likewise many IT professionals and academics who do join IEEE CS may choose to not become an IEEE member.
Sep
14
comment How important is membership in industrial or professional organizations?
To clarify: IEEE, stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Many, are not interested in the general / parent society of the IEEE itself, but the IEEE Computer Society in particular. That said, it is also certainly not uncommon to have interests crossover, myself include. Disclosure: I am a professional member of both societies.
Feb
14
awarded  Citizen Patrol