The slightly outdated and not entirely Pragmatic Programmer

Review of “The Pragmatic Programmer” by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas.

The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master promises to make you a better programmer with around 70 concrete tips covering many different aspects of software engineering. But while I would have hoped for 70 deeply practical and thoughtful tips, many of them aren’t really that great. Pragmatic Programmer lacks depth, and its age (15 years) means that some of its tips are not nearly as helpful today.

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Draugr

On putting Skyrim away for good.

Skyrim, Land of my Ancestors,

I write this to you now, at the turn of the era, as my bones have grown weary and old. My arms and armor, imbued with powerful magic still as potent as in my glory days, have been laid to rest throughout your lands, to be discovered by the intrepid adventurers of the next age. Only the Thu’um remains to me now.

In this forsaken place at the far end of the world, I have little save my quill and parchment. It is to these tools I now turn in my final hours on the plane of Mundus. There are things I need to tell you.

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Welcome to Extremistan – don’t feed the Bell Curve

Review of “The Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

According to Socrates, “the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” In some respects then, Nassim Nicholas Taleb is very wise indeed, though judging by The Black Swan his ideas are better than his communication.

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Telegram vs. Signal

It’s not about security, it’s about getting away from Messenger.

Every once in a while I recommend Telegram to my Facebook friends, mostly as a privacy‐​centric alternative to Facebook Chat /​ Messenger. Recently a friend of mine pushed back against this recommendation, and suggested that I try out Signal instead. Incidentally, I use both, so here are some ramblings on Telegram vs. Signal.

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Unit testing” a WordPress widget

Some thoughts on how to test the functionality of a WordPress widget.

I recently finished developing my very first WordPress widget. It’s called GR Progress, and it shows books from your Goodreads shelves together with their reading progress (which, to my knowledge, no other Goodreads or WordPress widgets can do). In this post I want to talk about how I went about “unit testing” the widget.

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Uncle Bob and the importance of clean code

Review of “Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship” by Robert C. Martin.

One of my earlier functions was a true abomination.

It was 250 lines long, accepted 18 input parameters, and was nested up to 9 levels deep with highly complex conditions at all levels. It’s not only gross; it’s horrible, and I wish it would just go away. But it does its job, and I would need to put in significant effort in restructuring the whole program if I wanted to do something about it. And you can bet I’m not touching it now, not with a ten‐​foot stick.

The worst part? It’s the central cog in an equally abominable class (written entirely by yours truly) producing these plots, which are still used during scientific rocket launches from Andøya to determine the optimal moment for pressing the big red button.

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Yes, you can get a software development job without knowing the relevant technologies

Soon I’ll start working with Xamarin. I just have to learn C# first.

I’ve heard it said that you can’t get a job doing something you’ve never done. What a load of equine droppings.

What follows is mostly a personal story of how I switched careers from academia to software development without really knowing the relevant technologies. More specifically, it’s about how I got a job as a C#/VB.NET/Xamarin developer when I started toying with those technologies just before the interview.

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Quick‐​save – impacts on playing styles and difficulty

Quick‐​save has skewed my sense of difficulty and, surprisingly, made my playing styles more monotonous.

I was heading down a narrow corridor. My trusted KilLite 2k non‐​lethal taser at the ready, a MegaBlast 3000 Plasma Rifle on my hip, and the Widowmaker sniper on my back. I stopped before rounding the corner and considered my options. I knew a semi‐​open room laid just beyond. On the scaffolding up to the left, a sniper. I would have to take care not to be seen. Two guards with assault rifles patrolling the perimeter. The brute with the minigun lighting a smoke behind a crate, ready to jump into the fray if things got ugly. And at the far end of the hall – my target.

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Review: Twilight Princess HD

Can added pixel density give this Zelda classic new life?

I never reviewed the original Twilight Princess. This puts me in an odd position when reviewing its 10‐​year anniversary HD remake. Should I make this a full‐​fledged review of the game as a whole? Or would that be unfair, what with most of the game being 10 years old and all? And how do my opinions on the game, never fully articulated or brought into the conscious, impact how I feel about my experience with the remake? Instead of rambling on about these questions I’ll go back to basics and try to answer what most people reading reviews are wondering deep down:

Is it worth it?

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Did Twilight Princess HD meet my pre‐​play expectations?

I got something right and something wrong, for better or worse.

Recently, before starting Twilight Princess HD, I laid out some expectations for what I thought I would feel about certain aspects of the experience. I’m now about halfway through the game (just arrived in the Gerudo Desert), and I feel I have seen enough of the game to comment on whether I was right or wrong on the various points.

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