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Comment: So, someone rediscovered Literate Programming? (Score 3, Informative) 188

by Elf Sternberg (#39691351) Attached to: Documentation As a Bug-Finding Tool

Oh, come on, Literate Programming has been around for 30 years! Knuth made exactly this argument in his 1984 essay entitled, surprisingly enough, "Literate Programming!" Wikipedia asserts in it "Literate Programming" entry: "According to Knuth, literate programming provides for higher-quality programs, since it forces programmers to explicitly state the thoughts behind the program, making poorly thought-out design decisions more obvious. Knuth also claims that literate programming provides a first-rate documentation system, which is not an add-on, but is grown naturally in the process of exposition of one's thoughts during a program creation. The resulting documentation allows authors to restart their own thought processes at any later time, and allows other programmers to understand the construction of the program more easily."

Congratulations to Slashdot for posting about some kid rediscovering an ancient technology by a revered master of the craft. What's next? "Snot-nosed highschooler discovers GOTO is a bad idea?"

Comment: RSS feeds of open source jobs. (Score 1) 506

by Elf Sternberg (#38985253) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Are the Open Source Jobs?

There's no such thing as an "open source job."

There are jobs where open source is used as the platform for development and deployment. There are jobs where open source is used, but the company culture is one where "We take, but we never share." And there are jobs where open source is used and the company culture encourages community engagement with the people who provide the platform. I've worked at all of these.

I find that companies with a culture of community engagement get to market faster and survive longer. I worked at a company where I was allowed to send bugfixes, patches, and extensions to Linux drivers, the Python standard library, and the Apache mod_log plugin; it was bought by a bigger company, lawyers got involved, all this "sharing" had to stop-- and the company tanked two years later.

I can understand not wanting to work for a company that has closed its doors to community involvement. But I've worked for a consulting firm that used MS products and contributed what work that wasn't it's core intellectual property back to the community.

If you don't feel that you can be productive in an environment where upper management has decided to lock the doors on core development and contribution, and tells you that your duty is to "work with or around the bugs, frustrations, and so forth" in MS products (I've got your SharePoint Horror Stories right here buddy), and you want to leave... more power to you.

And ignore the whingers who say you should be "grateful you have a job at all." If your corporate master is gonna screw you, screw 'em back and take your experience and skills elsewhere.

My best experience with "open source employment" is to put the things I know on my resume (, then send the resume out to people who use the tools you know best. Put it on Monster, and update it every two weeks: just deleting it and reposting it will make the recruiters call you. I know: Python, Perl, Django, Rails, Ruby, MySQL, Postgres, S3, EC2, AWS, Git, Subversion, LAMP, and a ton of other things in the end-to-end stack of web development: I can go from having a box of parts and a Gentoo boot disk to a full-sized website with Responsive Design, Database backing both SQL and NoSQL, and Ajax and Socket.IO sexiness in a day.

Also, find the craigslist in your area. Get yourself an RSS reader. For me, the feeds I took from Craigslist were "Web/HTML/Info", "Internet Engineering", "Software/DBA/QA", and "Computer GIGS" (the last is for short-term contracts... I've made $1000 in one day with some of those). Scan them every morning, pull up the interesting ones in your browser, and send them a resume. Have several, tailored to different skillsets, along with cover letters. You might get one hit for every twenty you send out. Also, if you're in a decent-sized city, you might find it has a "startup community." Check their blog-- startups love open source, and they love good talent. They might even have a job feed-- Startuply in Seattle does.

Good luck finding a new job.

Comment: Re:Ugh (Score 4, Insightful) 89

by Elf Sternberg (#38894085) Attached to: New BBC Sports Website Makes Heavy Use of RDF

It depends upon how "active" you want it to be. RDF is mostly for the back-end anyway.

As a developer heavily involved in building RDF/RDFA utilities, I can't begin to express just how annoying it is to see a Slashdot header pointing to a "technical blog post" that has absolutely no mention of the technology used: nothing about the libraries or server platforms used; nothing about the trade-offs with client desktop vs mobile vs legacy (IE7 / FF3.x) vs. ARIA (accessibility). If you search through the article, you find a link to another article that says they use Silverlight (WTF!?) to handle their contentEditable stuff, Java as their RDFa store, and PHP as their deployment strategy. It looks like an overpriced, incoherent mess that's already headed for legacy status.

Comment: Welcome to "Capability Tax" (Score 3, Insightful) 314

by Elf Sternberg (#38774332) Attached to: Study Analyzes Recent Grads' Unemployment By Major

An old idea, floated in the 19th century by highly conservative economists, the capability tax was the idea that people should be taxed based upon what they were capable of earning, rather than what they earned. The idea was to discourage smart people from going into art, the humanities, liberal arts, and so forth, and encourage them to go into meaningful, productive fields, where their capabilities would be put to full use. Whether or not you enjoyed the work was irrelevant, and only liberals cared about that.

The paper is basically encouraging us to think in these term, to ask students to go into fields they may well hate, because that's where they have to go to (1) get a decent education, and (2) make enough to pay off their ultimate student loans.

Comment: Re:debugging (Score 2) 100

by Elf Sternberg (#37269316) Attached to: Book Review: CoffeeScript: Accelerated JavaScript Development

Hell, yeah.

I've been writing with Coffeescript, HAML, and Stylus for about a year now, and I'm not looking back. Most IE-specific errors these days are parser errors rather than semantic errors, so JS-Lint takes care of that. And you can't use Coffeescript without knowing Javascript, you just can't; too many libraries are written in JS for you to be unable to read them. And Coffeescript has a node.js mode that rocks.

Comment: Re:Abuse? (Score 5, Interesting) 95

by Elf Sternberg (#36267416) Attached to: Google Deprecates Translation API

SEO abuse is certainly one of them.

Google has been clamping down on low-quality aggregation sites, as we all know. One way to avoid looking like a low-quality aggregation site is to (a) create a vast farm of low-quality aggregation sites, (b) harvest high-quality articles from other sites, (c) run those articles through Google translate, (d) repost them to your farm. Because they don't look like the originals (being translations) they get around Google's "recognize repeat content" filters. Google uptakes them as original content.

Delicious has been filled with links to these in recent weeks, mostly because Delicious once had a decently high reputation as a site of quality linkage, and lots of people had trust in it.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.