Friday, May 12, 2006

A practical way to learn more about a language/tool

There are 2 kinds of programmers: Creators and Followers

Creators use the existing programming techniques to create something totally new, which has not been done before in that sense (example: AJAX). Other people then follow them and improvise on their techniques to solve their programming puzzles. People get surprised how the creators come up with all these interesting solutions, which are then posted on some forum or newsgroup for everyone else to use (copy).

However, as you might have guessed, you can never be a creator by simply going to newsgroups to find a solution of your problem. Solutions that other people have posted may or may not be the best solutions, and unless you think independently, it will not be easy find out. This does not mean that you should never look how other people have done it. I think the best approach is to come up with a solution yourself, and then compare it with what everyone else has to done rather than googling it at the very first shot. In some of the cases, you will end with the similar solution as other people, and in some, you will have your own unique solution (don't forget to compare it with others). In order to do this, you will be going through manuals/documentation of the language or tool you are using, and are most likely to learn at-least one new thing, or a better solution to something you have done in the past. You also have more confidence on how things will work than just pasting somebody else's code.

So to conclude: Think before going to google for that solution.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Confusion: Funny or Annoying?

So I saw the new hindi movie 'Maalamal', and despite of my friends loving the movie, I could barely stand it. On thinking about the 'funny' stuff in the movie, I realized that there is a particular 'type' of humor that I find quite irritating.

Its basically when they try to produce humor with confusion and stupidity. Now, it does not mean that this kind of content is bad by its own. But when confusion is created without it being necessary, on the basis of 'lies', just to create 'humor', then it looses the funniness. An example for this will be someone will lie in the beginning of the movie for no reason at all, and then try to hide the lie by saying more lies (again, which are not required). Or someone doing something insanely dumb to create confusion.

Confusion created genuinely is funny. Seinfield or Raymond has all the confusion that can be present in the world, and that is quite humorous. This confusion is not created just for the heck of creating it, but it actually just "appears" naturally.