| Andrew Cooke | Contents | Latest | RSS | Twitter | Previous | Next

C[omp]ute

Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

Personal Projects

Lepl parser for Python.

Colorless Green.

Photography around Santiago.

SVG experiment.

Professional Portfolio

Calibration of seismometers.

Data access via web services.

Cache rewrite.

Extending OpenSSH.

Last 100 entries

Mapa de Ciclovias en Santiago; How Unreliable is UDP?; SE Santiago 20m Bike Route; Cameron's Rap; Configuring libxml with Eclipse; Reducing Combinatorial Complexity With Occam - AI; Sentidos Comunes (Chilean Online Magazine); Hilary Mantel: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher - August 6th 1983; NSA Interceptng Gmail During Delivery; General IIR Filters; What's happening with Scala?; Interesting (But Largely Illegible) Typeface; Retiring Essentialism; Poorest in UK, Poorest in N Europe; I Want To Be A Redneck!; Reverse Racism; The Lost Art Of Nomography; IBM Data Center (Photo); Interesting Account Of Gamma Hack; The Most Interesting Audiophile In The World; How did the first world war actually end?; Ky - Restaurant Santiago; The Black Dork Lives!; The UN Requires Unaninmous Decisions; LPIR - Steganography in Practice; How I Am 6; Clear Explanation of Verizon / Level 3 / Netflix; Teenage Girls; Formalising NSA Attacks; Switching Brakes (Tektro Hydraulic); Naim NAP 100 (Power Amp); AKG 550 First Impressions; Facebook manipulates emotions (no really); Map Reduce "No Longer Used" At Google; Removing RAID metadata; New Bike (Good Bike Shop, Santiago Chile); Removing APE Tags in Linux; Compiling Python 3.0 With GCC 4.8; Maven is Amazing; Generating Docs from a GitHub Wiki; Modular Shelves; Bash Best Practices; Good Emergency Gasfiter (Santiago, Chile); Readings in Recent Architecture; Roger Casement; Integrated Information Theory (Or Not); Possibly undefined macro AC_ENABLE_SHARED; Update on Charges; Sunburst Visualisation; Spectral Embeddings (Distances -> Coordinates); Introduction to Causality; Filtering To Help Colour-Blindness; ASUS 1015E-DS02 Too; Ready Player One; Writing Clear, Fast Julia Code; List of LatAm Novels; Running (for women); Building a Jenkins Plugin and a Jar (for Command Line use); Headphone Test Recordings; Causal Consistency; The Quest for Randomness; Chat Wars; Real-life Financial Co Without ACID Database...; Flexible Muscle-Based Locomotion for Bipedal Creatures; SQL Performance Explained; The Little Manual of API Design; Multiple Word Sizes; CRC - Next Steps; FizzBuzz; Update on CRCs; Decent Links / Discussion Community; Automated Reasoning About LLVM Optimizations and Undefined Behavior; A Painless Guide To CRC Error Detection Algorithms; Tests in Julia; Dave Eggers: what's so funny about peace, love and Starship?; Cello - High Level C Programming; autoreconf needs tar; Will Self Goes To Heathrow; Top 5 BioInformatics Papers; Vasovagal Response; Good Food in Vina; Chilean Drug Criminals Use Subsitution Cipher; Adrenaline; Stiglitz on the Impact of Technology; Why Not; How I Am 5; Lenovo X240 OpenSuse 13.1; NSA and GCHQ - Psychological Trolls; Finite Fields in Julia (Defining Your Own Number Type); Julian Assange; Starting Qemu on OpenSuse; Noisy GAs/TMs; Venezuela; Reinstalling GRUB with EFI; Instructions For Disabling KDE Indexing; Evolving Speakers; Changing Salt Size in Simple Crypt 3.0.0; Logarithmic Map (Moved); More Info; Words Found in Voynich Manuscript; An Inventory Of 3D Space-Filling Curves

© 2006-2013 Andrew Cooke (site) / post authors (content).

StackOverflow and "Show your work"

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2012 17:01:32 -0300

Sometimes (I am not sure exactly why, and I am not sure I want to know, since
I suspect it is related to needs I would rather not admit to) I spend time on
StackOverflow.

StackOverflow is a strange place and I find some users frustrating.

Including:

 a people who ask questions that are not very interesting;
 b people who phrase questions so poorly that you need to expend considerable 
   effort to understand what is needed;
 c people who argue for their own confused view of the world, rather than
   tring to understand what is important in the answer given;
 d people who ask questions so simple that is hard to imagine how anyone 
   could have difficulty with them (homework questions, particularly);
 e people who confuse their opinion with fact (particularly bad with smart 
   people whose facts are correct, as they then assume that their opinions 
   are equally solid);
 f people who react to (d) by requesting that "effort is shown".

The last is worst of all.  I do understand the annoyance with (d) - it seems
somehow unfair that stupid or lazy people should have their homework done by
others.  But really, it's not so bad - at some point these people become
irrelevant: they are learning (I do not claim to understand how every person
learns - maybe asking dumb questions is useful for them), or going to leave
the industry, or will fail miserably at some later point.  So simply answer
the question if it looks like fun; there's no moral responsibility to
castigate them and there's certainly no compunction to somehow force them to
learn (quite the reverse - it seems much more just, to me, to feed them easy
answers now, because future failure will be all the harder).

And, worse still, (f) seems to be spreading to all answers.  When an
established member of the site asks a question some people will demand to "see
what you have tried".  Maybe I am projecting terribly here, but it's hard not
to see these people trapped in the classroom, fighting desperately for
validation, believing the questioners rivals who will somehow get praise that
was justly theirs.  Eww.

Andrew

Re: StackOverflow and "Show your work"

From: Michiel Buddingh' <michiel@...>

Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:28:58 +0100

Haven't been on StackOverflow for ages, but your description of its
issues is spot on.  Another annoyance of mine (that I'm guilty of
myself at times) is "good advice".  "You don't want to implement a
checksum algorithm by yourself."  "Never use goto like this."
  Since this kind of advice is mostly sensible, it gets upvoted, but
it tends to completely ignore the possibility that the person who
asked the question is doing something for fun, or wants to learn
something by doing.  I also think these 'answers' are of poorer
quality, since they substitute reflexive community groupthink for
actual thought about the question.

-- Michiel

Re: StackOverflow and "Show your work"

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 08:58:58 -0300

True; comp.lang.python is terrible for that.  It used to be a great group, but
the developers moved to python-dev, python became more popular, and it ended
up being a place to tell newbies how to do things "the python way".  Whichis
fine until you are curious about some obscure part of the language...

Andrew

Comment on this post