Call In a Specialist

In the rapidly expanding realm of computing technologies, it’s reasonable to assume that most developers have only a limited spread of knowledge. I regularly hear it said that keeping up with the welter of new frameworks, platforms, systems, and capabilities is almost impossible. Except that it’s only occasionally you actually get abruptly confronted with this…

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Meandering Meanings

I bet you didn’t know that the word “Wikipedia” actually means “fast child”. And that the towns of Pendle Hill in Lancashire and Bredon Hill in Worcestershire both have names that mean “hill hill hill”. No, neither did I until I bought Mark Forsyth’s book “The Etymologicon” (which, incidentally, means “a manual for one who…

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Who Ate All The Pi?

Here in the UK, you have to wonder where our next generation of developers and programmers will come from. What has changed over the past twenty years that seems to be destroying the curiosity and passion we used to have for learning about computer language theory, algorithms, and programming techniques? Maybe it’s a topic that…

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The Rule of "It Depends"

It seems odd that, in order for a rule to be valid, there has to be an exception. According to the well-known phrase “the exception that proves the rule”, this must be the case. Yet watching a TV quiz show the other week, I was amazed to discover that one of the rules I’ve applied…

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Living In a Land of Invented Languages

They’ve been advertising the book “In the Land of Invented Languages” by Arika Okrent on The Register web site for a while, and I finally caved in and bought a copy. And I have to say it’s quite an amazing book. It really makes you think about how languages have evolved, and how we use…

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The Latest Love of My (Programming) Life?

Is it really possible to love jQuery? It certainly seems like it is from the numerous blog and forum posts I’ve read while trying to figure out how to make it do some fairly simple things. Many of the posts end with rather disturbing terms of endearment: “…this is why I just love jQuery” being…

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Does Web Matrix Have the Razor’s Edge?

Perhaps I can blame the Christmas spirit (both ethereal and in liquid form) for the fact that I seem to have unwarily drifted out of the warm and fuzzy confines of p&p, and into the stark and unfamiliar world of our EPX parent. A bit like a rabbit caught in the headlights, I guess. I…

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When Did the Web Get a Small "w"?

Here in England, the well-known and much loved actress Emma Thompson recently started a debate about the use by kids of slang terms that only serve to make them sound stupid. She cites things such as “yeahbut”, “like”, “innit” (perhaps an abbreviated form of “I’m a nitwit”), and use of the word “well” in phrases…

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Joie de VB-er

Well I’d have to say I haven’t had so much fun for ages. Playing with familiar stuff (and some less familiar stuff) has revived my joy of writing complicated algorithms and creating useful utilities. It’s almost like being back in the old days of creating COM components for classic ASP web sites to do the…

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Your Giraffe Is Upside Down…

Reading a UK computer magazine last week, I came across the delightful phrase “like playing a recording of a swarm of hornets to a group of blindfolded mime artists”. It conjures up a vivid mental picture of events such as might occur at a product development meeting where somebody suggests rewriting a whole legacy application…

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