Woe to Hehoo

Woe to he who

  • Checks in code without stepping through it first. Two demerits.
  • Lies about the error return values of a function. One demerit.
  • Thinks that -1 is a pretty good value to return if something fails. Four demerits and two lashes.
  • Does not check for null after a memory allocation. Five demerits and public humiliation at the stocks.
  • Neglects to free all temporary memory. Four demerits.
  • While stepping through a routine, ignores other found bugs. Two demerits and loss of lunchroom privileges (he will spend lunch stepping through more code).
  • Use of sscanf: Ten lashes and the stocks for three days.
  • Re-writes strcpy or wcslen or something like that because “I don’t trust them.” Summary hanging.

It’s been one of those weeks.


Just got back from a weeks’ vacation on the east coast. We went to a wedding on Block Island, and visited the in-laws. I took my laptop and hacked C# a lot, and read.

I liked George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and I’m wading into A Clash of Kings. While I’m not afraid the series is going to turn into another Treadmill of Time (Martin has integrity as a writer, if you ignore his “Tuff” works), the number of characters is getting overwhelming. There’s an appendix in the back that lists the characters, by association, and I’ve been tempted to put a tick-mark next to each one that gets bumped off or promoted. I’m kind of hoping that he knocks off every single stupid king, lord, high priest and knight in his little world before the series is out; it’d serve all them right.

I’ve also been reading The Honors Class: Hilberts Problems and Their Solvers, by Ben Yandell. At the beginning of the last century. David Hilbert posed 10 (later, 18) problems in mathematics that he thought were important. Some of these led to Godel’s incompleteness theorem and other important results in the theory of computation. Yandell necessarily glosses over the heavy mathematics; the book touches on the math, but concentrates mainly on the biographies and interactions of the mathematicians who worked on the problems. (It would seem that about a quarter of them had some kind of mental breakdown or another; I guess mental problems go with the territory).

I hadn’t read Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors until this trip. The bit of cyberspace verse is positively brilliant (I’ll let you find it. It starts with pentagrams and pigeons and DOS boot noises).

Cat case

This has got to be the ugliest computer case I’ve ever seen.

Haven’t updated this much. (Insert usual lame blogger apology: “Work has been frantic” / “I’ve been busy doing a Rambo number on our recent roof-rat invasion” / “I’ve been hooked by George R.R. Martin’s fantasy trilogy.” Maybe all of the above).


Self Lash Devotion

I was talking with a cow-orker earlier today, and somehow we got onto the subject of self-flagellation. You know, the “Here’s my new code, it sucks, I suck, I should be beaten, you’ll be lucky if it even builds, but anyway here’s my new stuff and maybe you could do better … fire me if I screwed up” kind of comments about my recent work. Computers have an awesome, untiring demand for accuracy and completeness, and years of facing those fires has made me a tad bit too critical about my ability to program. I’m sure it’s tiresome. I’m better than I say I am.

At any rate, the challenge was put forth: Find alternate names for the lash, on the net, without running into any pron. Best not to do this kind of research at work 🙂 .

This was actually pretty easy, and I was surprised that I didn’t run into anything nasty or unexpected [I’ve found that you usually have to go looking for trouble on the net]. I found this bit on Flogging in History, and quite a few other sources as well. Some obligatory descriptions of the flogging of Jesus. The practice was thought to be a cure for the plague, helped your complexion, and could generally be beneficial. It’s things like this that makes me wonder how we had any ancestors who managed to live.

One thing I didn’t know was that the earlist dated printed engraving is a German print dated 1446, “The Flagellation.”

I got too distracted to actually write down any new synonyms for the lash… :-/