Entries published in October 2006

8 entries published in this month. See also: all entries published in 2006, latest entries.

Python tips: don’t be too concise

There’s an inherent tendency programmers have to take a piece of code and reduce it to the shortest possible form. The holy grail is, of course, cutting something down to a single line of code while still providing the same functionality; reducing a particular piece of code to a “one-liner”, especially if the code is somewhat complex, is sometimes viewed as a measure of a programmer’s intelligence or talent or both, and is often used as a sort of game (see Perl Golf, for example — the cult of the ...

Entry published October 28, 2006. Read full entry.

That’s not Popper!

In an entry posted the other day, Aaron Swartz expounded on a general observation that the “scientificness” (if I may coin a word) of a theory or discipline is roughly inversely proportional to the number of times the word “science” occurs in its name. Good examples include “creation science” and “Scientology”. This is certainly relevant material, and there are quite a few good, recent books on the subject (many of which, if you’re looking for an author to get into, have been written by Michael Shermer). But I couldn’t help ...

Entry published October 25, 2006. Read full entry.

The Prestige

I read the book The Prestige a while back, because it looked really interesting. And it didn’t disappoint; what started out looking like a feud between late-nineteenth-century stage magicians — which would have been cool in its own right — quickly turned into something much deeper and much more involved.

And the movie didn’t disappoint. The particular events it uses to drive the plot are different, but enough of the overall plot is the same, and is presented in a compelling enough manner, to keep it lively. It was also nice ...

Entry published October 22, 2006. Read full entry.

Django and NIH

Just so you know, Django is a smug, arrogant framework that doesn’t play nice with others. The developers are smug, arrogant assholes who don’t care what anyone else does or what other tools are available, and who always insist on doing things their way. Django absolutely refuses to support cool “standard” Python tools and libraries unless they were implemented first for Django. Just stay the hell away from it, and teach those goddamned Django people a lesson by doing so!

Or at least, that’s the impression you’d get from reading the ...

Entry published October 21, 2006. Read full entry.

How I got here

I’m not a formally-trained programmer. I wasn’t a computer science major in college (my degree is in philosophy), and my first job after graduation didn’t involve programming (it was phone-based customer service at a health-insurance company). But here I am, developing software for a living.

I’ve never written a compiler. I’ve never hand-tuned something by dropping in bits of assembly, or even by writing C extensions for an interpreted language. I’m too young to have ever hacked on a Lisp Machine. But here I am, developing software for a living.

My language ...

Entry published October 16, 2006. Read full entry.

Heads up

If you’re a regular reader of my blog it will be purely remedial reading, but an article I wrote about Django is up at Sitepoint as of this morning.

Go forth and spread the good word.

Entry published October 11, 2006. Read full entry.

The functional language that’s right under your nose

Recently I’ve been getting an itch to learn a functional programming language. I’ve made a couple attempts on Lisp over the years, with mixed results; I can write fairly basic Common Lisp, and hack on Emacs a bit, but I’ve never advanced much beyond that. I’d been looking at some of the trendy, popular functional languages (well, popular among certain circles) like Haskell, OCaml and Erlang, when I remembered that I already knew a functional language. In fact, part of the reason why I was hired at my current job ...

Entry published October 11, 2006. Read full entry.

Defenders of design theft

When a case of alleged design theft on the Web — the appropriation of one or more elements of a site’s design, without permission — is exposed, there is an elite group of mentally-challenged individuals who spring into action to defend said theft. Their arguments never vary; they stay the course and seem to assume that if they simply repeat themselves often enough, their lack of functioning neurons will be ignored.

Broadly speaking, these arguments fall into three categories. I pray you’ll forgive my abominable Latin grammar in describing them.

Turpem tuus

This ...

Entry published October 1, 2006. Read full entry.