Another SO trend that I have noticed lately is what I would call gratuitous editing. First you have to understand that as I see it, SO is a site about programming questions. It was not intended to be a site for general IT related questions. As such, questions often get closed as not being programming related. At least twice in the last two days I have seen people edit a question after it was either closed or it was identified as non-programming. The sole purpose of the edit was to add a single line or even just a couple of words to make the question technically be programming related even though the true intent of the question never was. Why? The site is about programming. Why do people feel the need to squeeze non-programming questions into it?
I have found a new favorite site. Stack Overflow. This is a great site for programming related Q&A. I highly recommend this to anyone even vaguely interested in programming at any level.
I have noticed an interesting phenomenon however. One of the goals of the site creators (Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky) was to make it a central sort of repository for google discovery. What I am noticing is happening however is that it is sort of becoming a wrapper for google. I am sure that often what happens is that someone asks a question and the accepted answer is a link with a brief description of what the link is about. I suspect that a lot of the time that link was found via google. So essentially what has happened is that the asker really asked “Here is what I would like to search google for, but I’m not sure what the right search terms are. Could someone help me”. Then someone with a little more knowledge of the terminology in the problem space does a search and returns what they classify as the top answer. I think this is a useful solution flow, but sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to help the asker learn what search would have worked rather than answering the question that they explicitly asked.
Regardless it is a great site and I suggest that everyone check it out.
I went to see Juno with my wife on Friday. I was terribly impressed. I went in expecting a total chick-flick, and it had a little of that going. The overall effect however was a funny drama that took me at least through the total gamut of emotions. It was also the first movie in a long time that made we want to get the soundtrack. Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches was an excellent choice to be the primary voice of the movie (or at least the voice that resonated the most with me) so kudos to whoever made that call. All in all an excellent movie that I highly recommend.
I imagine that most people who find this will already know but Jonathan Coulton is a phenomenal performer. I first ran across him when Leo Laporte started playing Code Monkey on his podcasts. Since then I have listened to pretty much all of his songs. He has recently gained some celebrity because he wrote the song that plays at the end of the game Portal. The game won Game of the at the 2007 Game Developer’s Conference (GDC).
The song (Still Alive) is an excellent example of Coulton’s work. I am not generally what I would consider a “lyrics” person. I listen to a song and if I like the way it “sounds” then it is a good song. I like Coulton’s work based on this simplistic criteria, but I like the lyrics in most of his songs even better. The lyrics in Still Alive won’t have nearly the meaning for someone that has not played the game as they do for someone who has played it. If you have played it then the depth of understanding displayed in the lyrics shows Coulton’s nerd background.
Be sure to check out Coulton’s web page. He has 30 or so songs that you can download for free and you can sample all of them. It is well worth the time.
I have tried unsuccessfully to blog before. I like the concept but I’m not big on the implementation.
One of the most common things for me to do at work is to write scripts. I occasionally do more traditional programming but scripting is much more common for me. I plan to post some examples of the scripting that I do here and discuss scripting in general. I do my scripting in a windows environment. Primarily I use VBScript although I am making an effort to move as much as possible to PowerShell. I occasionally use Perl as well.