Wednesday, March 27, 2002

How To Write Unmaintainable Code - If you give someone a program, you will frustrate them for a day; if you teach them how to program, you will frustrate them for a lifetime.

Knuth's has a great bibliography on programming style. One book in particular that might be useful is C++ Strategies and Tactics by Robert B. Murray

One of my favourite questions to ask junior programmers in interviews is the one about counting word frequencies in a text document. This algorithm is discussed in great detail in Jon Bentley's Programming Pearls book, and also in Knuth's Literate Programming.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

We have a copy on GST's intranet of some of Glenn McCluskey's C++ newsletters, and I wanted to track down the original source. The newsletters referred to a now out-of-date website,; the newsletters can actually be found at

Monday, March 25, 2002

Website of the day has to be SGI's STL reference, which I have been reading in conjuction with Austern's book Generic Programming and the STL.

Friday, March 22, 2002

Another fascinating technical document I downloaded and copied to my own webspace was What really happened on Mars Rover Pathfinder by Mike Jones of Microsoft. The original report was posted on the Risks list.

Some time ago, I downloaded a copy of a document called A State of the Art Report: Software Design Methods and put a local copy on my website; I would like to credit the the original which is on a US DoD site: DACS SoAR and an alternatively-formatted version on a Finnish academic site.

I think this document is somewhat superceded by the new Patterns movement; the Gang-of-Four book is the main source for software design patterns, but patterns can also apply to the software design process, and to organisational structure.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

There are now some pictures of the skiing holiday posted to this website.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

I was looking at amazon and considering the idea of getting the Hitchcock collection on dvd yesterday; I remembered that Owen sent me an email recently about other sources for dvds:

My favourite DVD region comparison site is
who have been around for several years.
For R2 discs and some R1 plus CDs I buy from who are an outfit in Jersey (so UK postage for returns).
For other R1 discs that Play247 don't stock I use
who are sufficiently UK centric in their business that returns for damaged
discs go to a UK postal address. Movietyme also stock occasional Region 3
discs (Malayasia and that area) when it happens to be out first or the best
version of the film. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was out first on R3
and sold so well on export that the R3 disc was remastered with both the
english subtitles and english dubbed soundtrack removed (anyone would think
they don't want to make money).
For R4 discs I use which are cheap (Aussie dollar
is weak) and usually the post turns up in about a week which is much better
than from the USA!
In case you don't know and it matters with your Playstation, R3 is NTSC
like R1 whereas R4 is PAL.

Monday, March 18, 2002

I suppose I could have found an internet cafe while on holiday in order to maintain this blog, but I decided that a week away from all computers would do me more good. The journey down to France went fairly smoothly; we decided to use the services of to take us to the airport, as we had to set off at 3am to get to Gatwick for an 0715 flight. Peter was stopped at the security gate because he had a swiss army knife in his hand-luggage - he should have known better! We finally arrived at the hotel at around 2pm, completely exhausted from all the travel.
The weather was absolutely excellent for the first couple of days, although it became mighty windy by Tuesday lunchtime. On the Wednesday, Peter decided to have a go at skiing La Grave while the rest of us visited Serre Chevalier.
It was snowing quite heavily Thursday morning, but we decided to have a go anyway. This late in the season, the snow was warm enough that it melted on contact with our clothes - we were soaked within a couple of hours. We gave up and returned to the village for lunch. The sun then came out, but by then it was too late as our ski clothes were still drying out in our rooms. We went on a walk around the old village of Venosc, in the valley below the resort. It was also snowing on Friday, but not as heavily, so we went higher on the mountain and skiied most of the day.

Thursday, March 07, 2002

I just had a look in the UL Main Catalogue for books in the 'Pattern Languages of Program Design' series, also books by Christopher Alexander. The GoF book is excellent, but I'd like to be able to have a look through the other books before deciding to spend money on them. Apparently they have books 1,3,4 in the PLoP series, but they are not available for loan.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Mountain Weather from shows that we may be in for some sun at the weekend. (Peter, Duncan, Nick and I are off the Les Deux Alpes for a week)

Experience Design 1 by Nathan Shedroff is the book that led me to start this Blog.

Graham's been using names of egyptian gods for the plug-ins for FX4, so I thought it would be useful to have a quick reference to An Egyptian Pantheon

I'm not quite sure what happened to the first post I tried to send to this log, only the second one seems to be visible. Let's see what happens with this one.

OK, so it did work - it seems this system only prompts for the FTP's userid and password when you actually click the 'pubish' button.