511 reputation
27
bio website mctaylor.com
location Ontario, Canada
age 39
visits member for 3 years, 6 months
seen Jul 2 at 20:15

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.


Jan
17
answered What are developer's problems with helpful error messages?
Jan
13
answered What legal considerations do I need to have when programming?
Jan
13
comment Ethics, Clients, and legal repercussions
I believe most every labour laws (codes) legally allow an employee to refuse duties that would mean the employee would have to commit a crime or participate in illegal / unlawful activities.
Jan
13
comment Ethics, Clients, and legal repercussions
Copyright in USA and Canada does include criminal violations. Section 42 of the Canadian Copyright Act. Check EFF.org for US law. I suspect EU is similar.
Jan
13
answered Hobbyist programmer releasing software with a donate button
Jan
6
comment Can One Get a Solid Programming Foundation Without Going To College/University?
This is mostly a problem where hiring is done through an Human Resources (HR) department. The best way to deal with it is to build a business social network of IT managers who know you or at least of you, and let try to side-step the HR "filter" process. In other words, people without degrees tend to have to be better at marketing their skills and services themselves, rather than applying for advertised positions. Most competent IT managers will hire based on a solid track record, and reputation (i.e. referral from someone they trust). Don't expect to get a government job. It's rare nowadays
Jan
6
comment What non-programming books should a programmer read to help develop programming/thinking skills?
@MAK, they are actually more about software management than about actual programming directly. They are classics that I strongly recommend to any if not every professional developer for becoming a more well rounded developer. I admit they are at the fuzzy border of whether they are programming or non-programming books about development/software management.
Dec
31
comment How to be an agile programmer?
To be agile I recommend routine exercise and practice. :) Wait, that actually is a decent answer...
Dec
31
answered Question about programming in linux
Dec
31
comment Question about programming in linux
The other largest Unix/Linux editor camp is Vi/Vim, of which I strongly recommend you learn the very basics of vi, but use vim if you prefer its modal command style. Emacs has a steep learning curve compared to other editors, but it is incredibly powerful.
Dec
31
answered Usage of Pirated software at a company
Dec
31
comment Usage of Pirated software at a company
@Walter, piracy or more formally intellectual property infringement is not the same as theft, in that it involves (typically) unauthorized (& unlicensed) duplication of a work (in copyright). The original copyright owner (holder) is not deprived of their copy (i.e. the item), but is deprived of the lost opportunity of income. I am not condoning or supporting piracy, but intellectual property (IP) is a complex environment, so please avoid emotionally loaded words or phrases.
Dec
31
comment From programmer to programmers coach
Dale Carnegie's classic How to Win Friends and Influence People can be useful to programmers who can forget there is an emotional side to life, in addition to the rational side we normally focus on at work. The other thing is the change in focus on more time spent communicating, which is a time-consuming task in complex situations or large teams. Oh, I also strongly recommend the classic Fred Brooks' The Mythical Man-Month for any team leader or new manager who hasn't read it already.
Dec
31
comment From programmer to programmers coach
Good answer, and I just wanted to point out that nearly all of it applies to new managers as well. Of course I always liked the quote that the best manager doesn't talk, he acts. When his work is done, the people say, "Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!"
Dec
31
comment Important non-technical course for programmers?
I'll disagree. While I understand that psychometric testing, can be a useful exercise for an individual, their value is in my opinion oversold within HR hiring as to their effectiveness. I think the actual core value is in understanding / remembering, acknowledging, and learning to work with (i.e. co-operate or utilize the strengths of) other people's personalities, and learn to utilize your strengths. I.e. Not everyone thinks / works / acts like you do, but you are most productive when you work in a manner that suits your personality (within reason and healthy balance).
Dec
29
answered Should a developer know the inner workings of the computers' hardware?
Dec
29
answered Important non-technical course for programmers?
Dec
29
awarded  Commentator
Dec
29
comment Important non-technical course for programmers?
The best short (too short on its own) introduction to understanding your employer for me was What Your CEO Wants You To Know by Ram Charan -- amazon.com/What-CEO-Wants-You-Know/dp/0609608398/… -- you can read in 15 minutes, but can help start a new or young developer to realize what that "big picture" talk is actually all about.
Dec
29
comment Important non-technical course for programmers?
@dan_waterworth, I disagree, I think all programmers have a responsibility to their users to be humane. Also understanding some psychology can help some developers interact with people in an organization that are not so purely abstract or intellectually focused, but are critical for the organization to survive. Of course Abnormal Psychology can be taken for its own enjoyment of self-diagnosis.