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Jun
20
comment What's your favourite quote about programming?
I was once at a programming competition, and time was almost up, and we couldn't get our last program to compile. So, in desperation, we deleted the bits that wouldn't compile, and ran the program. And it worked. Perfectly. To this day I have no explanation for how this could be the case because, by our measure, the part that we deleted was the part that was supposed to be doing the work.
Jun
20
comment Do programmers possess the means of production?
@jerry: I never even mentioned DOS. I specifically mentioned Unix, which, to me, implies some of the horrid 4GL IDEs that people were using at the time, which were expensive as hell. And if you choose to use Visual Studio, and expensive Microsoft products, that's doesn't invalidate my point that there are free alternatives.
Jun
20
answered Is it a good idea for exams to be done on a computer?
Jun
20
comment Do programmers possess the means of production?
@frustrated: Too true. I'm assuming that the worker is skilled, and needs only his tools.
Jun
20
revised Do programmers possess the means of production?
added 961 characters in body; added 27 characters in body
Jun
20
answered Do programmers possess the means of production?
Jun
20
comment What are some good questions (and good/bad answers) to ask at an interview to gauge the competency of the company/team?
Never judge anyone based on whether they know acronyms and jargon.
Jun
20
comment 30 minutes to explain programming to a 15 year old
I hope you don't tell the girls how many girls there really are in CS classes. I had some classes with sections of 1200 students, and there were so few girls everyone knew their names. This whole profession is a sausagefest.
Jun
20
answered How to improve relationships between consultants and staff programmers
Jun
18
awarded  Good Answer
Jun
18
comment 30 minutes to explain programming to a 15 year old
@tom @rei: I think you're both getting bogged down by the fact that the framework on which code runs is artificial. The only element of judgment involved in the code is the coders. The computer doesn't decide how to run the code, or when, or why. I'm sure you'll raise the quibble, "An operating system might do those things." An operating system is code. "A BIOS might do those things." The bios is code.
Jun
17
awarded  Mortarboard
Jun
17
comment 30 minutes to explain programming to a 15 year old
@tom: First lawyers, now engineers? At least you're moving in the right direction. The answer is: it doesn't matter. No, I don't build the computers. Engineers don't alchemize their materials out of thin air either. And their creations are simple things: switches, gates, and circuits. It takes code to make them do anything complex.
Jun
17
awarded  Nice Answer
Jun
17
comment 30 minutes to explain programming to a 15 year old
@tom: No they don't. A legal brief is no more a functional thing than a story or poem. A law is like a blueprint: it sets out an idea, but then someone has to go out into the world of meat and enforce it. But code? I could write a program to buy or sell stocks based on it's own internal logic, and it would go do it's thing with no further input from me. I could write one to govern flood gates, reroute electricity, turn lights on or off depending on the time of day. It's unique among professions.
Jun
17
answered How are you setting up re-usable development environments?
Jun
17
comment 30 minutes to explain programming to a 15 year old
@jhocking: Gave me an excuse to buy some home automation stuff. I'm trying (gently) to get her to help me program some of it.
Jun
17
answered 30 minutes to explain programming to a 15 year old
Jun
17
comment To be strict or pragmatic?
I agree with Carlos. When I started working my current gig, my attitude toward the code was, "I can't believe this code is so horribly kludged!" After a few weeks, the attitude changed to, "I can't believe this code is only this kludged." It's the old saying: "Quality, Speed, Cost, pick two." Producing good code is either slow, or expensive, and sometimes neither is an option.
Jun
17
answered How defensive should we be?