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hkmaly

np
NP Monday, April 3, 2017

33 posts in this topic

5 hours ago, Scotty said:
11 hours ago, hkmaly said:

The key is to write enough scripts to make your work fully automated BUT never tell anyone.

This was what I was thinking as well.

My former Pointy Haired Business Owner was way too paranoid to let something like that go by.  He wanted to see a daily report of what I did, and would check up on it.  Part of the reason why I decided to quit fighting my brain and start on disability.

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And if you aren't actually trying to write unreadable code (and aren't writing in APL or Lisp) there are few things worse than to have some electrical-engineering calculations written in Cobol by a Fortran programmer and then patched into a Cobol program by a person who understands neither electrical engineering nor Fortran (and isn't all that great at Cobol either).

Now add in that there's a suspected bug somewhere in that mess, and the person assigned to fix (not one of its creators) it is an immigrant whose skills as a Cobol programmer are sound but is unfortunately lacking skills in English.

(She begged me for help. It took me all afternoon to figure out what those two pages of code were doing, then all the next morning to be confident I had deciphered it correctly. And even though I know almost nothing of electrical engineering, it looked wrong. So I sent my explanation of what it was doing to the clients, asking if it was correct. The next day I got a response back - the code was wrong and they provided the correct formula - and spent an hour writing a third of a page of straight Cobol to do the same calculation. I delivered that to the lady assigned, and she actually could understand it.)

That was, oh, probably somewhere around 1995.

Anyone just starting out in programming, take away this message: the MOST IMPORTANT audience for any given piece of code is NOT the compiler. It's the programmer who has to fix or alter that piece of code. You or someone else, in a few hours or in a few years. That person has to be able to read the code. If the code is readable, it can evaluated for correctness and can be fixed as needed. If it's unreadable, it can't be fixed and nobody can be confident that it's correct.

Drasvin, HarJIT and The Old Hack like this

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The commentary reminds me of how one of the four DVD-extra episodes for Steel Angel Kurumi has Kurumi and Nakahito in disguise to follow Karinka on a mystery date...

For the second time in the series, Kurumi chose to a suit, bower hat, and fake moustache for her disguise (she has long pink hair) and put Nakahito in a blue dress and yellow hairbow, resulting in this exchange (paraphrased).

Nakahito: Kurumi, why do I always have to wear the dress?
Kurumi: But you look so cute like that, master!

I can't remember which time this was, but here's a screencap showing their outfits.

...come to think of it, that wasn't the only way Steel Angel Kurumi was had unusually human female characters for its genre. (Ironic given that they're gynoids.) Karinka is one of only female characters I can remember who ever used profanity in an English dub and also one of the few female characters I can think of in any shōnen anime/manga who started out as "conspiciously and unattractively crude/tomboyish" yet wound up "cute", not by betraying who she once was to appeal to boys, but because she no longer felt the need to rebel while, at the same time, was realizing that politeness was a more efficient way to achieve her goals.

 

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3 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

Anyone just starting out in programming, take away this message: the MOST IMPORTANT audience for any given piece of code is NOT the compiler. It's the programmer who has to fix or alter that piece of code. You or someone else, in a few hours or in a few years. That person has to be able to read the code. If the code is readable, it can evaluated for correctness and can be fixed as needed. If it's unreadable, it can't be fixed and nobody can be confident that it's correct.

The most important audience is you in few months - but don't overestimate your memory; if other programmer won't be able to read it, it's likely you wouldn't either.

 

HarJIT likes this

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10 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

The most important audience is you in few months - but don't overestimate your memory; if other programmer won't be able to read it, it's likely you wouldn't either.

So very true.  I remember digging back into a personal project after several years away and I was very thankful that past me did the little bit of documentation I did.  It helped a lot in restoring my familiarization with the code.

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7 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

And if you aren't actually trying to write unreadable code (and aren't writing in APL or Lisp) there are few things worse than to have some electrical-engineering calculations written in Cobol by a Fortran programmer and then patched into a Cobol program by a person who understands neither electrical engineering nor Fortran (and isn't all that great at Cobol either).

Now add in that there's a suspected bug somewhere in that mess, and the person assigned to fix (not one of its creators) it is an immigrant whose skills as a Cobol programmer are sound but is unfortunately lacking skills in English.

(She begged me for help. It took me all afternoon to figure out what those two pages of code were doing, then all the next morning to be confident I had deciphered it correctly. And even though I know almost nothing of electrical engineering, it looked wrong. So I sent my explanation of what it was doing to the clients, asking if it was correct. The next day I got a response back - the code was wrong and they provided the correct formula - and spent an hour writing a third of a page of straight Cobol to do the same calculation. I delivered that to the lady assigned, and she actually could understand it.)

 

Ok, that is an abuse of both COBOL and staff. The COmmon Business-Oriented Language was designed for accounting, not for deep science--that's what FORmula TRANslation is for.

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9 minutes ago, ijuin said:

Ok, that is an abuse of both COBOL and staff. The COmmon Business-Oriented Language was designed for accounting, not for deep science--that's what FORmula TRANslation is for.

Seeing those two together ... A computer without COBOL and FORTRAN is like a piece of chocolate cake without ketchup and mustard.

mlooney likes this

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I didn't study the whole program, so I have no idea why this more-than-50-page program had two badly-written pages of electrical-engineering calculation in the middle of it. Just that it did, and that the person trying to maintain the program was pretty sure there was a bug somewhere in them. And that when I deciphered what those two pages were doing and wrote it as a formula, it looked just a little... off... and it turned out I was right.

I prefer replacing unreadable code over patching it. At the very worst, I gave back readable code, so if it still wasn't correct then the assigned person could fix it.

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