Friday, January 30, 2009

The Stupid Computer Maxim

I was building some scripts to help automate part of my work and I began to get bogged down while working out the design of my code. Then I remembered something I had realized about programming a few years back.
Here's the thing: computers are stupid. It's just that they're stupid really, really quickly and this makes most people think they're smart. This is what I refer to as my Stupid Computer Maxim.
I don't say this in a disparaging way. I like computers. I use them all day, every day. It's just that I like it when my computers do the boring, repetitive, stupid stuff and I get to do the creative stuff. Many beginning programmers get bogged down by not remembering the Stupid Computer Maxim (SCM).
Give a computer something stupid to do and they'll do the hell out of it. This is a very powerful, fundamental computer programming principle.
My problem was that I was trying to frame the task I was automating in too much of an abstract, high-level way and I got stuck trying to come up with a design. Once I recalled the SCM, all became much easier. I took the complex task and broke it down into a set of really stupid tasks and the scripts practically wrote themselves.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Knowledge versus Wisdom

Sometimes when I'm reading, a particular turn of phrase will strike me as particularly well done. This is one from a book I just finished called Pack Animals:

Brigstocke scowled. "You're just giving them a pack of lies."
"People want to believe it," Jack said. "They wouldn't believe the truth. There's no point having the facts if you can't process them and stay sane." He contemplated the water in his glass as he swirled it around. "Knowledge isn't the same as wisdom."
"Why? What's the difference?"
Jack smiled. "Knowledge is when you can tell that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is when you leave it out of a fruit salad."
(Anghelides, Peter (2008). Pack Animals. Great Britain: BBC Books. )

Funniest. Blog. Ever.

Chris's Invincible Super-Blog

I'm talking "pee-your-pants, can't-breathe-because-you're-laughing-too-hard" funny.

It's mainly about comics and it's very geeky but man, is it hilarious. The comments are just as funny if not funnier.

Go show Chris some love.