AboutPrimary school teacher, previously web developer, business analyst, and small systems developer.
Joined devRant on 6/24/2017
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When there is a fire alarm where I work, someone has to go print out the door access logs so we have a list of who is (theoretically) on site and make sure no one is still inside. The printer is half way across the building. And breaks down at least once a day.
We are all going to die.5
I'm supporting my language learning with an app that puts users in touch with other users who are fluent in the language you want to learn. You specify the language, and also your current ability on a scale of 1-5.
Does anything like this exist for programming? Like a small scale site with mentoring, something to support people who are learning a particular programming language. I've been thinking that I don't know of any really supportive site where beginners can talk to and learn from expert coders.
If it doesn't exist, is it something that would work and be worth setting up? I really like the idea of helping more people learn coding and giving them someone to turn to when they get stuck or need some encouragement, or even just some positive feedback on their work.10
In acting you don't say "good luck" but instead "break a leg". If coders were superstitious, what would our equivalent be?22
!rant "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
I'm learning Java/Android Development with the Udacity Nanodegree (hey we all gotta start somewhere). Got to one project that was intended just to demonstrate use of basic form elements in a static quiz. Predicted time was about 20m I think.
Three days, much hair pulling, and many SO pages later I've built a little app that displays any number and type of question, dynamically generating the views.
I may do things the hard way, but I learn a heck of a lot more for doing so.
TFW you spend 30 minutes debugging an app that isn't working right only to find out it's working exactly as it's supposed you, you just forgot you put that bit in there that does that thing.
One character change later and it's working perfectly. ONE CHARACTER! THIRTY BASTARD MINUTES! I just spent thirty minutes driving through every line of code and coming closer to the conclusion that Java was doing some kind of strange thing with dropping objects from memory. No, it wasn't Java that had memory problems, it's me! Just check me into the old peoples home now so I can spend my day pissing my pants and making lewd comments at the nurses because that's all I'm fucking useful for at this point!!
I need a coffee.4
That moment when you've been sat on the toilet reading devRant so long that your legs have gone dead so when you try to stand up you faceplant the opposite wall :-/
devRant is bad for my health !
EDIT: what's more embarrassing is I lay on the floor writing this rant.7
My ideal dev job...working for a charity that creates free tech solutions for primary schools and children to promote safety and learning. One app I have in mind is a resource for victims of bullying, and another is an integrated Virtual Learning Environment that truly provides pupils and teachers with the tools they need and want.
Basically I want to make a positive impact on the lives of children and make that available to everyone, not just the schools who can afford it.3
I have come to the conclusion that certain people have a tech aura that can fix or break things just by being near them. Apparently I can do both. Have you had a similar experience?
The other day a colleague was trying to play a YouTube video for the class (I work in a primary school) and the page refused to load. After 20m of failed page refreshes they called me. I walked in, sat next to the computer, and before I even touched anything YouTube suddenly appeared on the screen like it was trolling us the whole time. Much to the amazement of the class of kids who bow think I am some kind of tech-witch.
On the flipside - Linux hates me. It always has. Some years ago I decided to force myself upon Linux so I got a friend to install a dual boot on my machine. Knowing the effect I seem to have on Linux he demanded I stay out of the room until he was done. Two hours later and some stability testing later he called me back in to introduce me to my new setup. The moment I walked into the room Linux kernel panicked and never booted again.
If only I could learn to control this mystical power over technological life and death!13
Every time I read "JSON" I get Heavy Rain in my head.
"Jason! Ja-son! Jason!"
Published on BBC, GCHQ have set the challenge below. Would make a fun simple coding challenge. My thought is to brute-force, is there a more efficient way to solve it?
"Take the digits 1,2,3 up to 9 in numerical order and put either a plus sign or a minus sign or neither between the digits to make a sum that adds up to 100. For example, one way of achieving this is: 1 + 2 + 34 - 5 + 67 - 8 + 9 = 100, which uses six plusses and minuses. What is the fewest number of plusses and minuses you need to do this?"
Edit: disclosure: I believe the challenge has passed already and I'm too lazy to enter anyway so don't worry about me or anyone stealing ideas!2
I know the ascii table values of lowercase and uppercase alphabet letters. I don't know whether to be proud or ashamed.
Tl;Dr - It started as an escape, carried on as fun, then as a way to be lazy, and finally as a way of life. Coding has defined and shaped my entire life from the age of nine.
When I was nine I was playing a game on my ZX spectrum and accidentally knocked the keyboard as I reached over to adjust my TV. Incredibly parts of it actually made a little sense to me and got my curiosity. I spent hours reading through that code, afraid to turn the Spectrum off in case I couldn't get back to it. Weeks later I got hold of a book of example code to copy out to do various things like making patterns on the screen. I was amazed by it. You told it what to do, and it did it! (don't you miss the days when coding worked like that?) I was bitten by the coding bug (excuse the pun) and I'd got it bad! I spent many late nights on that thing, escaping from a difficult home life. People (especially adults) were confusing, and in my experience unpredictable. When you did things wrong they shouted at you and threatened to take you away, or ignored you completely. Code never did that. If you did something wrong, it quietly let you know and often told you exactly what was wrong. It wasn't because of shifting expectations or a change of mood or anything like that. It was just clean logic, simple cause and effect.
I get my first computer a year later: an IBM XT that had been discarded by a company and was fitted with a key on the side to turn it on. With the impressive noise it made it really was like starting an engine. Whole most kids would have played with the games, I spent my time playing with batch scripts and writing very simple text adventures. And discovering what "format c:" does. With some abuse and threatened violence I managed to get windows running on it. Windows 2.1 I think it was.
At 12 I got a Gateway 75 running Windows 95. Over the next few years I do covered many amazing games: ROTT, Doom, Hexen, and so on. Aside from the games themselves, I was fascinated by the way computers could be linked together to play together (this was still early days for the Web and computers networked in a home was very unusual). I also got into making levels for Doom, Heretic, and years later Duke Nukem 3D (pretty sure it was heretic; all I remember is the nightmare of trying to write levels entirely by code!). I enjoyed re-scripting some of the weapons and monsters to behave differently. About this time I also got into HTML (I still call this coding, but not programming), C, and java. I had trouble with C as none of the examples and tutorial code seemed to run properly under a Windows environment. Similar for my very short stint with assembly. At some point I got a TI-83 programmable calculator and started rewriting my old batch script games on it, including one "Gangster Lord" game that had the same mechanics as a lot of the Facebook games that appeared later (do things, earn money, spend money to buy stuff to do more things). Worried about upcoming exams, I also made a number of maths helper apps, including a quadratic equation solver that gave the steps, and a fake calculator reset to smuggle them into my exams. When the day came I panicked and did a proper reset for fear of being caught.
At 18 I was convinced I was going to be a professional coder as I started a degree in Computer Science. Three months later I dropped out after a bunch of lectures teaching what input and output devices were and realising we were only going to be taught Java and no C++. I started a job on the call centre of a big company, but was frustrated with many of the boring and repetitive tasks we had to do. So I put my previous knowledge to use, and quickly learned VBA to automate tasks. It wasn't long before I ended up promoted to Business Analyst where I worked on a great team building small systems in Office, SAS, and a few other tools.
I decided to retrain in psychology, so left the job I was in and started another degree. During my work and placements my skills came in use a number of times to simplify and automate tasks. I finished my degree, then took a job as a teaching assistant while I worked out what I wanted to do next and how to pay for it. Three years later I've ended up IT technican at the school, responsible for the website, teaching a number of Computing lessons each week, and unofficial co-coordinator for Computing as a subject. I also run a team of ten year old Digital Leaders who I am training in online safety and as technical experts; I am hoping to inspire them to a future in coding. In September I'll be starting teacher training with a view to becoming a Computing specialist teacher. Oh, and I'm currently doing a course in Android Development in my free time.
And this all started with an accidental knock on the keyboard of a ZX Spectrum.7
Being a webdev has ruined my ability to use any website/online service. Does this happen to anyone else? I invariably end up sending the developer a stack of feature requests and suggestions as I'm sat there thinking "I could do this better!"
Ofc in truth I may be able to do that one part better (usually bits around making the experience as simple and fluid as possible for users), but I wouldn't be able to do other parts half as well. I wonder if I built services like that I would have some annoying git emailing me with all the things they think I've missed... ;-)1
Someone at work asking me about whether the controller system for our door security can access the Internet. I'm explaining that the reason they can't access Google on it is that it is on an isolated network for security. They wanted to install some remote desktop software on it that some idiot had recommended.
Then I actually get asked: "If it can't see Google... Maybe can it see Firefox?"
What is the most sadistic thing you have done as a developer? What ways have you intentionally fucked up other people with your code/projects?4
Thanks to Devrant I've learned about rubber duck debugging. Never heard of it before! It reminds me of a story many moons ago when I worked for a certain multinational company as a business analyst. The company brought in some consultants who basically stole the work my team was already doing on a big project (a horrendous series of spreadsheets linked to data coming from the core systems) and sold it back to the company for an insane amount of money as their idea.
When they launched the new product, the team I was in was asked to test and review it. It took my colleague ten seconds to bring the whole thing to its knees and trigger a corrupt data export back into the core systems. Bearing in mind this external company somehow managed to charge tens of thousands of pounds. So what did my colleague do? Hack the system? Some kind of complicated sabotage? Nope. He typed "FISH" into one of the spreadsheet cells! Thus the FISH test was born.
That day I learned several things: it's easy to break things with a fish; the importance of validating your input; and the satisfaction of showing up the smug bastards who stole your ideas and work.3
Trying to install .NET Framwork 3.5 and this message comes up *headdesk*
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, MICROSOFT!?7
That moment when you look at the network performance of the website you've paid a professional company for and realise that there are some 100x100 px jpegs at almost 500kb each and the jquery scripts take 3s to download! o.O
Does no one bother to optimise file sizes these days?4
I work at a school and am involved in building the new website. Specifically as an ex Web developer myself I am acting as intermediary between the leadership team and the company we have hired to build the site. The company has a "the customer is always right" approach and will do what they are asked for so my main role is stopping the school from making stupid requests.
For example yesterday they complained that the site looked different on mobile compared to desktop. Then they complained that the (long paragraph) welcome message appeared below the menu and quick links on mobile instead of above them (forcing users to scroll down to get to navigation controls). After many more complaints and mind boggling suggestions, and my attempts to explain responsive design and reducing cognitive load, I left the meeting with a headache and an urge to spend the next three hours drowning Lara Croft.
The most difficult part of any developers role: not throwing the keyboard at the client every time they say something stupid.1