jason thurber's weblog

globally-scoped ramblings

Archive for July, 2003

From the weblog of Bruce Eckel

with 23 comments

Here (Bruce Eckel’s Blog) is a great artice entitled “The Ideal Programmer”. Some good snippets:

  • …the most fundamental concept in computing … the “DRY” principle (“Don’t Repeat Yourself” – which includes but means more than “don’t write the same code twice in more than one place.” It means: “there should be one authoritative repository for each concept in a program.”) – is practically ignored (and perhaps not even understood) by a large percentage of programmers.
  • 5% of the programmers are 20 times more productive than the other 95% … there’s the idea that the majority (probably that other 95%) of programmers don’t read books on programming, and perhaps only have the language manual at their desk
  • Might want to add it to your subscription list.

    Written by jthurber

    July 23rd, 2003 at 8:13 pm

    Posted in found-on-web

    Nice article.

    without comments

    This (The Soporific Manifesto) is great. Some highlights:

  • Q: What can you brush your teeth with, sit on, and telephone people with?
       A: A toothbrush, a chair and a telephone.
  • When someone says “I know this is a death march, but you will be rewarded well if you succeed or fail,” run (away) like the wind.
  • Usable interfaces should not be innovative. If it’s clever or tricky, then it’s probably confusing.
  • Found it here.

    Written by jthurber

    July 22nd, 2003 at 9:58 am

    Posted in General

    German Engineering and other myths …

    with 19 comments

    Listening to several people I know that own VW’s and other “German” cars, I am struck by a phenomenon that seems to manifest itself quite strongly in these car owners. Despite the anecdotally horrible reliability of VWs and the crippling cost of BMW maintenance when you actually talk to most owners they say “I haven’t had any problems with my <insert brand name here>”.

    But, when you actually ask them about particular incidents they have all had strange electrical problems, handling issues, falling head-liners, failing water pumps and bent frames (bent from the factory no-less). That’s the VW owners… the BMW owners may experience fewer problems, but in exchange for the perception of “superior handling” (i.e. stiff suspension) they get cars that are ungodly expensive to maintain, with a dealer network that generally treat them like they’re doing them a favor taking their money and “servicing” their car.

    The same mass-delusion can be observed among “domestic” loyalists, so it’s probably not a result of subliminal messages in German car commercials (at least, that’s not the only cause ;) ).

    I have been driving primarily “Japanese” vehicles of late (Toyota, Honda and Subaru specifically). I’ve observed an interesting thing. It seems that for some reason Toyota can move an assembly line to Indiana (or even Tijuana), or Honda move Accord assembly to Mexico and still continue to maintain reasonably high standards of quality, while BMW moves to South Carolina and builds 318′s with the overall build quality of… well… “American made cars” (in the pejorative sense of the word) while VW moves to Mexico and builds Jettas that are (debatably) of worse quality than the original 60s-style Beetles still being made in that same country (and who knows, possibly in the same plant).

    Now, my “Japanese” vehicles haven’t been perfect… my WRX had a ding in the hood when it was delivered (which Subaru sent back to the paint shop 3 times without my asking, as they were dissatisfied with the quality of the work done), I ripped the bottom out of my CBR1100XXs motor when I hit a chunk of metal on 280 South and my WRX’s ignition system “came out of spec” and had to be re-flashed, but those are the only problems I’ve had in the last 5 years of driving 4 different Japanese vehicles over almost 100,000 miles. Strictly speaking, only the ignition module chip could be fairly blamed on the manufacturer.

    Don’t even get me started on recent BMW Motorcycles!

    Written by jthurber

    July 21st, 2003 at 2:03 pm

    Posted in mild-rantings

    More tire news…

    with 21 comments

    How apropos that i just posted a picture of the cbr1100xx tire. I got a nail in the back tire on the way to work. Called Dad (who happens to be king of all field expedient MC repair). Three patch attempts later (including a trip to pick up a patch gun) the tire is still losing all it’s pressure in under an hour (I think there was some damage internally that was preventing the patches from sealing well). Pumped it full of air and ran down to Cal BMW Triumph who for the low, low price of $226 (OUCH!) put a new Bridgestone 180/55 BT020 on it (that’s right, just the rear-tire).
    No more posting about the bike for a while, I can’t afford it!

    Written by jthurber

    July 16th, 2003 at 4:54 pm

    Posted in General

    Tires… i feel shame

    with 21 comments

    Found this picture at cbr1100xx.org:

    Let me just say, DAMN!
    By way of comparison, here’s me:

    (btw – “i feel shame” is a Slap Shot quote… sweet movie… watch it twice tho’)

    Written by jthurber

    July 11th, 2003 at 6:51 pm

    Posted in pointless

    More OMM Goodness

    with 19 comments

    And I quote:
    For those people who want a war, because they like watching war, but aren’t so hot on the whole people dying thing.  Armchairhawk.com lets you be a war hawk in the privacy of your own home, and remember, in your own home, every war is a just war.

    Image Here

    Written by jthurber

    July 11th, 2003 at 6:42 am

    Posted in found-on-web

    The 4th

    without comments

    Obligatory (crap) Fourth of July firework picture… It really is harder to take these than it looks:
    Firework Pic would be here is your aggregator or browser played nicely with others ;)
    Just rememember, dry ice and water should not be enclosed in a small, sealed container… unless you want the container to explode… in which case remember the DIY Explosive Makers motto “too much is never enough” (if that’s too hard to remember, you can substitute the “use it all” formula is most cases).

    Written by jthurber

    July 5th, 2003 at 5:44 pm

    Posted in General

    DIY-WMD

    with 24 comments

    An interesting article (in The Guardian) detailing a Pentagon project from the 60′s in which two Graduate Physics students designed a working nuclear bomb:

    You could have taken any number of classes at Beloit with Professor Dobson, until his recent retirement, without having any reason to know that in his mid-20s, working entirely as an amateur and equipped with little more than a notebook and a library card, he designed a nuclear bomb.

    Found this here.

    Written by jthurber

    July 2nd, 2003 at 1:11 pm

    Posted in General