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Showing posts from June, 2008

Advice to a young programmer

I received a mail from an acquaintance who'd come to the realization that his 13-year-old wanted to be programmer, specifically a games programmer. Here's the advice I gave. Perhaps others have things to add: 1. I'm tempted to tell you that the right way to learn to be a programmer is to start with LISP , or the lambda calculus , or even denotational semantics but you can come back to those after a few years getting your feet wet. 2. Lots of programming involves logic (or at least thinking logically) so learning about and enjoying logic is probably a good foundation. You could start by learning about boolean algebra since it's simple and fun and the basis for a lot of what computers do. 3. Since games programmer involves a lot of physics, you should also learn about Newton's Three Laws and Universal Gravitation and play around with things like springs and pendulums . 4. Basic trigonmetry is important to the games programmer. It'll be handy to know a

The Colarie: A new way of measuring calorie intake

Recommended daily energy intake for a man is generally considered to be roughly 2,500 Calories (or kilocalories: 1 Calorie = 1,000 calories) and for a woman it's 2,000. The problem with those figures is that they are rather abstract. If you are trying to count your energy intake it would be much easier to deal with something smaller and easier to understand. Hence my idea for the Colarie. 1 Colarie is the number of Calories in a single can of non-diet Coca Cola. It's easy to appreciate that a single can of Coke isn't very good for you and so comparing a food stuff to a can of Coke is an easy measure of whether you are eating something that's got too much fat or sugar in it. The actual Calorie count for a Coke can varies by country. In France there are 139 Calories in a can, in the US there are 155. So I've settled on 147 as a good measure. So 1 Colarie = 147 Calories. That means a man needs to consume the equivalent of 17 cans of Coke per day; for a wom

GNU Make Unleashed release

For 4 years I've written the Ask Mr Make column over at CM Crossroads (and I continue to write it). Since there's been great interest in the column, I've put together all 4 years of columns plus additional unpublished material as a book and ebook. All the material has been rechecked for accuracy, errata have been incorporated and the text re-edited. The result is a 230 page book covering everything from basics of GNU Make to advanced topics like eliminating recursive make, doing arithmetic in GNU Make or dealing with spaces in file names. The book contains 43 separate articles about GNU Make, plus a complete reference to the GNU Make Standard Library . You can buy a copy in either form here . A big thank you to everyone who's commented, emailed, or made suggestions on my GNU Make articles over the years.