Category Archives: whatevs

On whiteboard coding

Another day in which someone lamented to me the demeaning nature of the interview coding challenge. It is indeed embarrassing, when someone with more than two decades of software engineering experience is asked to complete a gotcha-style programming task under … Continue reading

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Phrases in computing that might need retiring

The upcoming issue of the SICPers newsletter is all about phrases that were introduced to computing to mean one thing, but seem to get used in practice to mean another. This annoys purists, pedants, and historians: it also annoys the … Continue reading

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Aphorism Considered Harmful

Recently Dan North asked the origin of the software design aphorism “make it work, make it right, make it fast”. Before delving into that story, it’s important to note that I had already heard this phrase. I don’t know where, … Continue reading

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Diagnosing a Docker image build problem

My Python script for was not running in production, because it couldn’t find some imports. Now the real solution is to package up the imports with setuptools and install them at runtime (we manage the environments with poetry), but … Continue reading

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Design Patterns On Trial

Back in 1999, the OOPSLA conference held a show trial for the “Gang of Four”: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides. Five years earlier, they had released their book “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software” at … Continue reading

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On the glorification of ignorance

When I wrote I have some small idea of what I’m doing, it was on the basis that DHH was engaging in some exaggeration. Surely software engineers, whose job depends on what they know and what they can learn, would … Continue reading

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Second Brain

The idea of a second brain really hit home. Steven and I were doing some refactoring of some code in our Amiga podcast last night, and every time we moved something between files we had to remember which header files … Continue reading

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My proposal for scaling open source: don’t

I’ve had a number of conversations about what “we” in the “free software community” “need” to do to combat the growth in proprietary, user-hostile and customer-hostile business models like cloud user-generated content hosts, social media platforms, hosted payment platforms, videoconferencing … Continue reading

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My current host name scheme at home is characters from the film Tron. So I have: Laptop: flynn (programmer, formerly at Encom, and arcade owner) Desktop: yori (programmer at Encom) TV box: dumont (runs the I/O terminal) Watch: bit (a … Continue reading

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The Vizzini Effect

A bunch of the topics I wanted to discuss all turned out to have a common basis, so I’m going to write the post about the commonality using a couple of examples from the specific topics for illumination. Maybe I’ll … Continue reading

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