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seen Dec 19 at 15:20

Jun
21
comment Do programmers possess the means of production?
@jerry: And the current smartphone market share crushed everything from 20 years ago. It's not apples to apples.
Jun
21
comment 30 minutes to explain programming to a 15 year old
@rei: Well, I have advanced social skills, and I found it cringe-worthy the amount of attention that the few females in those classes received...It was well intentioned, but...alarming. If it had been me, I'd have run screaming. Being surrounded by a horde of sweaty mouth-breathers is bound to be a turnoff for any normal person, so either you would have to like the attention, or you'd have to really really like comp sci. So it certainly didn't surprise me that there were so few females. I imagine at smaller schools it's not so horrifying.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
16
comment What do you believe is a better of method of learning languages: using books or jumping straight into a project?
@user: No way. The first chapter is almost always insanely boring. Then there will be (chapter on language feature you have no use for (usually graphics, for me)).
Jun
16
comment Best source control system for busy web development team
@rein: I actually prefer SVN for my personal use, but for big collaborations? Git all the way.
Jun
16
comment Object Oriented “normalization”
...You mean have we tried not having multiple redundant variables in our classes, and not having multiple redundant classes in our projects? Would that even work?
Jun
16
comment What was Java enterprise programming like before Eclipse?
@el fuser: Yea, I used emacs, mostly. But we're talking about 1995 here. Computers were slower.
Jun
15
comment Sr. Dev made a database I disagree with. Advice sought
@john: My well, "specialty" is maintaining and modernizing legacy code. I have to constantly fight the temptation to say "this is wrong" because sometimes the thing that looks crazy is just an unfortunate compromise dictated by an irrational reality. Of course, sometimes it's just wrong, but you have to understand what they were trying to do, before you can dismiss it.
Jun
15
comment What special considerations are needed when designing databases to hold financial records?
@joshua: newGnuCash? Hee. Hee. Hee. Hell, GnuCash is open source, so download the source it and pick through it. Really though, if you're just doing a simple credit/debit budgeting system, that doesn't take any special knowledge. The real complexities start showing up when you start dealing with refunds, bad debt, and taxes.
Jun
15
comment What special considerations are needed when designing databases to hold financial records?
Every time I see this question, I get a burst of "Let me lay my experience on you!" and then it goes away because the sheer volume of data is so huge I can't figure out where to start. I would say that it depends on the type of business, the volume of business, and the number of zeroes you're going to be dealing with. In the latter two cases, if you're dealing with a lot, get an accountant.
Jun
11
comment Learning barriers for beginners towards a programmers mind (Study)?
@michael: I am one of those people. I had to take 4 semesters of math, and I've yet to use a single piece of it. I wasn't required to take a single semester of logic, but I took quite a lot of it anyway, and I use it every day.