Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Programming as an Art

The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination.
-- Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., The Mythical Man Month: Essays on Software Engineering

When you think of art you probably think of paintings and musical instruments and dancing and singing and such, but probably not of some dork on a computer. Donald Knuth was one of the pioneers of that idea though some dude at O'Reilly wrote an editorial on the subject consisting largely of the opinions of key players in the field (including book writers). I agree with most of the opinions there, even the ones that don't believe programming is an art. Some people think that doing code is very mechanical, but looking at the code of my peers in the past year of CS I've realize just how different ideas of doing things can be, but I found my code the prettiest of course since I had a good amount of spacing and comments. To write good code requires a lot of foresight into possible uses and problems with it and an intuitive understanding of what your options are under a number of situations. You always have to strike balances between time and space or simplicity and effectiveness. Just like not everyone can paint well not everyone can program well, and that's one of those things that set artists apart. It requires a certain way of thinking and a yearning for efficiency. I'll sometimes look at old projects and marvel at how we got through certain problems, and those times highlight best the art of writing code.

There is still a good amount of techie news leftover. PCWorld got its hands on a preview build of Longhorn and seems impressed with the interface but gave few other details (as usual for them) aside from what is already known. At least Microsoft is providing a good API to make use of Avalon. One enthusiast of Linux put up his thoughts on the future of the Linux OS, and though it's less certain than Windows it does seem to be gradually growing steam. It's doing better than alternative OSes though, which are doomed to seclusion according to one writer because it's hard for them to get the word out and set themselves apart. I'll bet very few of you (if any) have even heard of AmigaOS or Syllable. It looks like RSS is picking up momentum as it has not only turned the heads of some big advertisers but also of companies who want to use the technology to deliver updates and such. We could really be on the cusp of something revolutionary here, or it could just fizzle out of course (I prefer the former). In a modern-day challenge to the first amendment infused with technology, one man was fired for expressing his support for P2P. I think it's a ridiculous reason to fire someone and I hope he wins the lawsuit he's starting up. Lastly, I wanted to share this pretty-looking wooden iPod case:


The movie news today isn't too shabby. The rumor truck for Batman Begins delivered a message that the new leading lady for a possible sequel could be a small-time actress from Wedding Crashers named Isla Fisher. It's sad how we cling to any possible details of a next installment. Of course the writer of the original film, David Goyer, seems to be moving full speed into a Flash movie and his views on the character make me suspect that it won't just be just another b.s. superhero movie (ala Fantastic Four). If you're looking for a good movie in the near future, you should look into Hustle & Flow starting with an exclusive clip at IGN. This movie seems to actually be getting a decent amount of exposure, including a leak of the soundtrack on MTV.com. Of course if you're more into traditional Indian flicks with some American flavor you can hold out for the DVD of Bride and Prejudice with an extra at Yahoo! Movies featuring some dancing white people. Regardless of which route you go, the star of the weekend was War of the Worlds with $113.3 million over the first six days, and Batman Begins and Mr. and Mrs. Smith still held on. There are a few pictures from the set of Da Vinci Code featuring Tom Hanks, and the movie seems to be moving so slowly though it's going as fast as a normal movie would. Lastly, AICN has another review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in case you need more reason to see it.

I actually have some randomness today. A new report on videogame sales shows that annual software sales could reach $25 billion by 2008, an increase of $8 billion. That figure really doesn't surprise me given the number of closet video game enthusiasts, but I was kind of surprised to find out that the PS3 will definitely not include an HD. I think that by early next year it won't cost too much to get one though and Kutaragi hinted at it being 80 GB. Scientists have found out what Indians have known for years: a little sun is good for you! Ok so we didn't directly know this, but the UV rays translate to Vitamin D for you. Lastly, I thought it was funny that a guy in Moscow trying to take an exam for a female friend got caught because his breasts were too big! Though Wild Wild West was a bad movie it had some good coverage of proper feaux bossom features.

I'm not doing Ten on Tuesday this week because I don't think I can think of ten items for the category, so I decided to partake of the Tuesday Twosome:


1. Two things that people dislike about you:

My reservations and my race. Just kidding about the latter, but I'm not really sure. Maybe my cluttering? Maybe my looks?

2. Two things that people like about you:
My helpfulness and my sense of humor.

3. Two things that annoy you the most:
That's a toughie, but all I can think of right now is violations of gym ettiquette (restacking weights and such) and drivers who don't use turn signals. Especially when they change lanes to be right in front of me out of the blue.

4. Two things that make you smile often:
Family Guy and my family (namely my brother & his girlfriend and three of my cousins).

5. Two things that should be banned because they annoy you:
Conservatives and Republicans. Seriously though, Christian fundamentalists and System of a Down. Could that band have any less talent? There's probably something that annoys me more than them, but just not in an irritated mood right now.

1 comment:

Henro said...

The roots will rock the house during the ultimate science fest.