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{ Category Archives } Responsibility

Open Source and the Lehrer-von Braun defence

Tom Lehrer’s song about Wernher von Braun is of a man who should not be described as hypocritical: Say rather that he’s apolitical. “Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down? That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun. The idea that programming as a field has no clear ethical direction is […]

Preparing for Computing’s Big One-Oh-Oh

However you slice the pie, we’re between two and three decades away from the centenary celebration for applied computing (which is of course significantly after theoretical or hypothetical advances made by the likes of Lovelace, Turing and others). You might count the anniversary of Colossus in 2043, the ENIAC in 2046, or maybe something earlier […]

ClassBrowser’s public face

I made a couple of things: ClassBrowser discussion list The project website‘s source is now visible and MIT licensed I should’ve done both of these things at the beginning of the project. I believe that the fact I opened the source really early, when it barely did one thing and then only on my machine™, […]

Laggards don’t buy apps: devil’s advocate edition

Silky-voiced star of podcasts and all-round nice developer person Brent Simmons just published a pair of articles on dropping support for older OS releases. His argument is reasonable, and is based on a number of axioms including this one: People who don’t upgrade their OS are also the kind of people who don’t buy apps. […]

The First Flaw

As she left her desk at the grandiosely-named United States Robotics, Susan reflected on her relationship with the engineering team she was about to meet. Many of its members were juvenile and frivolous in her opinion, and she refused to play along with any of their jokes. Even the title they gave her was mocking. […]

It’s about solving problems

As ever, there’s a touchstone issue on the programmers’ corner of the intarwebs (the programmers’ corner is actually the same intarwebs everyone else is using, just we model it with geometry so it can have a corner). Here it is: Alan Kelly predicted that by 2022, TDD will become a prerequisite for employment as a […]

Programming as a societal roadblock

Introduction People who make software are instigators of and obstacles to social interactions. We are secondarily technologists, in that we apply technology to enable and block these transactions. This article explores the results. Programmers as arbiters of death I would imagine that many programmers are aware of the Therac-25 and the injuries and deaths it […]

Standing at the Crossroads

A while back I wrote Conflicts in my Mental Model of Objective-C, in which I listed a few small scale dichotomies or cognitive dissonances that plagued my notion of my work. I just worked out what the overall picture is, the jigsaw into which all of these pieces can be assembled. And I do mean […]

How to answer questions the smart way

You may have read how to ask questions the smart way by Eric S. Raymond. You may have even quoted it when faced with a question you thought was badly-formed. I want you to take a look at a section near the end of the article. How to answer questions in a helpful way is […]

Story points: because I don’t know what I’m doing

The scenario [Int. developer's office. Developer sits at a desk that faces the wall. Two of the monitors on Developer's desk are on stands, if you look closely you see that the third is balanced on the box set of The Art of Computer Programming, which is still in its shrink-wrap. Developer notices you and […]