The Lumber Room

"Consign them to dust and damp by way of preserving them"

Archive for February 2007

Coding Horror: Why Can’t Programmers.. Program?

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Written by S

Wed, 2007-02-28 at 09:40:00 +05:30

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Debugging war story

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Beli told me this story of Anshul and his computer at Govindu.

Who would have thought that if touching your computer screen gives you an electric shock, the solution is to go water the owner’s plants?

Written by S

Wed, 2007-02-21 at 21:56:32 +05:30

Posted in funny

Bash Wiki

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Not exactly a Bash wiki, but someone’s wiki with a lot of Bash stuff


xterm -ls -fa 'bitstream vera sans mono-12' -j -bg black -fg white +sb +ah -cr red -s -bw 0

Written by S

Tue, 2007-02-20 at 23:19:49 +05:30

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The only place Americans are welcome

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Written by S

Sun, 2007-02-18 at 00:43:08 +05:30

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You can get smart. You’re not smart.

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Thanks to Larry:

  • Believing You Can Get Smarter Makes You Smarter

    [Social psychologists] taught African American and European American college students to think of intelligence as changeable, rather than fixed — a lesson that many psychological studies suggests is true. Students in a control group did not receive this message. Those students who learned about IQ’s malleability improved their grades more than did students who did not receive this message, and also saw academics as more important than did students in the control group. Even more exciting was the finding that Black students benefited more from learning about the malleable nature of intelligence than did White students, showing that this intervention may successfully counteract stereotype threat.

  • Being told you are smart makes you stupid:

    Of those praised for their effort, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised for their intelligence, a majority chose the easy test. The “smart” kids took the cop-out. […] “When we praise children for their intelligence,” Dweck wrote in her study summary, “we tell them that this is the name of the game: Look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.” And that’s what the fifth-graders had done: They’d chosen to look smart and avoid the risk of being embarrassed.
    […]
    The only difference between the control group and the test group were two lessons, a total of 50 minutes spent teaching not math but a single idea: that the brain is a muscle. Giving it a harder workout makes you smarter. That alone improved their math scores.
    […]
    I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts.
    […]
    So in 2003 the Association for Psychological Science asked Dr. Roy Baumeister, then a leading proponent of self-esteem, to review this literature. His team concluded that self-esteem was polluted with flawed science. […] Baumeister concluded that having high self-esteem didn’t improve grades or career achievement. It didn’t even reduce alcohol usage. And it especially did not lower violence of any sort. (Highly aggressive, violent people happen to think very highly of themselves, debunking the theory that people are aggressive to make up for low self-esteem.) [Also see another blog.]
    […]
    A person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear.”

    There’s more in that article, read it.

Unrelated point: Malcolm Gladwell on IQ tests

Written by S

Wed, 2007-02-14 at 10:19:34 +05:30

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~

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(From what I found at the extensive history by Mark Pilgrim, and its links to more extensive sources.)

It might have alternative names like the sqiggle (sic) or even twiddle, but it’s more commonly called the tilde. As in this song:

<>!*”#
^@`$$-
!*’$_
%*<>#4
&)../
|{~~SYSTEM HALTED

, read as

Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret at back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat tick dollar under-score,
Percent splat waka waka number four,
Ampersand right-paren dot dot slash,
Vertical-bar curly-bracket tilde tilde CRASH.

and if you need further proof, there’s this poem:

Waltzing Ma~
Waltzing Ma~
Won’t you come waltzing Ma~ with me…

Now how do I convince my friend who one day saw how it was spelt, decided that everyone around him was pronouncing it wrong, and has been calling it “til-day” ever since?

Added 2009-05: Tilda Swinton, literally.

Written by S

Sat, 2007-02-10 at 10:52:02 +05:30

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Drop down list of country names

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First saw it here:as days pass by » Blog Archive » Form usability, and then here.

The point is that most of the time we don’t really care exactly which country the user is from.

My current plan for the OPC is to have two radio buttons (and one below the other, of course), one that says “India” and the other that says “Other: ” and has a text input form next to it.

Update [2008-07-08]: [Yes, that’s what we used, as I remember it, and it went well.]
It turns out that Peter-Paul Koch of quirksmode.org has already done this: Usable Forms

Written by S

Sat, 2007-02-10 at 09:50:58 +05:30

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