Archive for July, 2003
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.
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.
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!
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!
|And I quote:
Obligatory (crap) Fourth of July firework picture… It really is harder to take these than it looks:
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).
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.