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this week's favorite

The Stack Overflow Antipattern

Sometimes programming can be frustrating. In the last few years I’ve noticed a recurrent pattern that drives me mad. I like to call it Stack Overflow Antipattern. Spending more time looking for a solution rather than thinking about it.

Things I Was Wrong About: Types

If you talked to me about types in programming languages six or seven years ago, you would quickly have learned that I was not a fan. I had spent the preceding years working in Fortran and C, with a touch of Java thrown in, and my experience of types was that they added a great deal of overhead and didn’t remotely pay for themselves.

Why does HTML think “chucknorris” is a color?

How come certain random strings produce colors when entered as background colors in HTML?

CSVs: The good, the bad, and the ugly

CSVs are a relatively popular data format, it seems particularly common as a format for providing exports of medium-sized datasets. My day job involves processing lots of these types of data sets, and so I’ve developed a set of strong opinions on CSVs, which are documented here.

A Short Story for Engineers

A toothpaste factory had a problem: Due to the way the production line was set up, sometimes empty boxes were shipped without the tube inside. People with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming off of it is perfect 100% of the time.