June 2, 2005

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On teaching programming

why do I have to write all this syntactic sugar to just do the canonical “Hello, world”?

I firmly believe that the canonical “Hello, world” program is one of
the worst ways to introduce Java, or even programming in general.

I like BlueJ. It’s a nice, clean, object-oriented environment that
immediately visualizes the difference between objects and classes and
allows students to interact with objects before they even see Java
code. I like the way BlueJ lets you interact with complex systems,
learning about control structures and logic along the way.

A popular Python tutorial starts with using Python as a calculator
instead of just getting it to print strings. Isn’t that a great way
for people to see how immediately useful a programming language can
be?

I wouldn’t start an Emacs Lisp tutorial with (print “Hello, world!”).
I would start it by taking a look at an existing function and
modifying it.

Languages should not all be taught the same way. Just because we might
have learned with “Hello, world” doesn’t mean that “Hello, world” is
the best way to learn how to program. I think there are better ways to
teach computer science, and I want to spend a fairly significant chunk
of my life looking for them.

You can, too. Just remember that you can improve on the way things
have always been done.

E-Mail to True Computer Science Mailing List

彼女は娘のためにパソコンを買ってやった。 She got her daughter a personal computer.

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Productive day!

I had so much fun writing today. 500 words for my m-ph entry, 1000 for
the Linux Journal article on taming the todo (okay, I wrote maybe half
of that last week), and 55 for the short story “Gluttony”. I e-mailed
the people I was supposed to e-mail from the game journalists’ meet. I
also released another version of Planner (3.30) and started setting up
better version control.

WHEW!

_And_ I got to bond with my dad this morning, too. We looked for
music. Couldn’t find any decent musicals at Music One. They had the
movie soundtrack for Phantom of the Opera, but I want the Broadway
version because Raoul sounds like such a wuss in the movie. ;) Time to
look for Rent, Cats, and all of those other musicals…

私はこのコンピューターに精通している。 I am familiar with this computer.

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xtla and Gnus

There is a feature in xtla.el to send/review patches via gnus.

To set it up, you need the following lines for your .emacs:

(tla-insinuate-gnus)
(setq tla-apply-patch-mapping
      '(((nil "planner" nil  nil nil) "~/work/planner-dev/")))

Replace ~/work/planner-dev/ with your planner working directory

The patches are sent as .tar.gz files.

When you receive such a patch (I will send one soon), You can hit

K t v to view the patch

K t a to apply the patch

I can even provide a log message in the mail.
You can insert the log message via C-c C-p in the tla-log-edit buffer.

E-Mail from Stefan Reichör

その限られた性能のために私はコンピユーターに幻滅を感じている。 Its limited capability has disenchanted me with computer.

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Introducing the Hipster PDA

by Sacha Chua

(Sneak preview of m-ph entry for tomorrow)


“I’ve found the perfect PDA,” I gushed. My friends perked up. Knowing
how much of a geek I am, anything I was that crazy about was bound to
be interesting. They leaned over and watched as I reached into my bag
and brought out…

Hipster PDA
… my Hipster PDA.

“SACHA?!”


Introducing the Hipster PDA

One of the hottest topics in the productivity blogosphere right now is
the Hipster PDA, a surprisingly effective low-tech way to
organize your life. Grab a pack of 3″x5″ index cards and a fold-back
clip and you’re set to go!

What’s so cool about the Hipster PDA?

  • Gets rid of worries. You don’t have to worry about running out of
    battery during a critical meeting. You can drop it and it will still
    work. Even if you dunk it in water, you’ll still be able to recover
    your data.

  • Grows along with you.
    Don’t be constrained by software or hardware limitations! You can
    easily experiment with different ways of planning, and you can expand
    your Hipster PDA’s memory simply by buying another pack of index cards
    at your nearest bookstore.

  • Helps you stay focused. The Hipster PDA helps you stay focused
    and on-track by not supporting addictive games like Tradewinds. To
    help you pass the time, the Hipster PDA comes with a few built-in
    two-player games like Tic-tac-toe and Hangman.

  • Organizes real-life data. Receipts? Business cards? Movie
    tickets? No problem! Just tuck them into the fold-back clip and
    process them when you get home.

  • Beams anything to anyone. You can easily “beam” information
    to other people—just scribble a note and give it to them. 3×5 index cards don’t crumple easily
    and can easily be shared with other people no matter what mobile device they use.

Here’s what you can do with your own Hipster PDA:

  • Get a good pen or mechanical pencil. Keep it with your Hipster PDA at all times.
  • Write down one task per index card. You can write down subtasks and notes there as well. Rip up the task card up after completing the task for a satisfying finish.
  • Alternatively, divide your tasks into projects and write down your tasks. Check the tasks off as you finish them.
  • Scribble notes and ideas down on index cards.
  • Write down a month calendar so that you can easily see when you have appointments.
  • Print important contact information on an index card. You can probably fit 50 names and phone numbers. Good backup if your phone is out of battery or gets lost.
  • Print birthdays on an index card, sorted by month and day.
  • Label your Hipster PDA with your contact information just in case it gets lost. (name, phone number, e-mail address)
  • Clip a cheap pen to your Hipster PDA for people who borrow pens. Never lend your good pen.
  • Keep newly-written cards in an “inbox” section (front or back) so that you can process them when you get home.

For more information, check out the following links:

43 Folders: Introducing the Hipster PDA

Technorati: Hipster PDA

Check back on Wednesday for tips on making the most of your Hipster PDA!

そのデザイン・ハウスにとって、コンピュータ製造にさらに急進的な色彩を導入することは適切な戦略であった。 For this design house it was an appropriate strategy to introduce even more radical colors into computer production.

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Flash fiction: GLUTTONY – 55 words

GLUTTONY (55 words)
Flash fiction by Sacha Chua

“Gluttony is indecent and a catalyst for sin,” said his devoted
mother, measuring rice grains for the famished boy.

“But mom!”

“Forgiving it would be like sending you to hell. No.” She controlled
everything he ate and did.

Eventually she died, still dogmatic and unrepentant. Traumatized, he
satiated himself on junk food. He died obese.

E-Mail to [email protected]

コンピュータの操作の仕方を知ってますか。 Do you know how to operate a computer.

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