The Command Line #68 – Listener Comment Line 360-252-7284

I recommend you subscribe to the podcast of the USC Center for Public Diplomacy’s speaker series. I’ve listened to the talk given by Michael Ayres, an IP lawyer at Toshiba who is involved with CSS and AACS. I am looking forward to the talks by Bruce Sterling and Bruce Schneier.

Wouter sent in a story about Dutch researchers cracking an N/G voting machine. Not surprisingly, given the similarities to his own recent efforts, Ed Felten had a commentary up within days.

Security alerts to be aware of this week include some wackiness over a possible zero-day exploit in Firefox, a bug in URL handling of Skype’s OSX client, and a well research weakness in Linux’s binary format handling.

The Hacker Word of the Week this week is Handwave.

In this week’s news, a couple of e-voting stories about problems with implementations in Brazil and Ron Rivest’s proposal for a new voting protocol, network neutrality threatened in Norway, some think Google’s new code search is just a big hacker tool, and knowing multiple programming languages may have disadvantages.

Following up from previous news, here’s a nice link to some videos produced for the recent Day against DRM and a stay of execution from the WIPO broadcast treaty.

The feature for this week is an Inner Chapter on the practice of Idiomatic Programming.

Download the show in plain mp3 or enhanced formats.

2 Replies to “The Command Line #68 – Listener Comment Line 360-252-7284”

  1. I read the article on knowing multiple languages, here are my thoughts.

    I have had to program many major projects in everything from Matlab (DSP simulations), C (embedded systems design), C++, various assembley languages (embedded systems again), Perl (network hacking), PHP (web programming), and lately I’m learning Python (GUI’s). I have even had to do some DirectX 3D rendering projects in C#. The most challenging projects I have had are programming simulations and designing digital hardware systems in Verilog.

    No matter what language I was programming in I always embraced block diagrams, FSM’s, and flow charts before coding anything. It surprised me how few others started and maintained their projects in this manner. I know I am sounding like a bit of a bragggart here, but I/my group always finished before others, wrote more unerstandable code, and our projects often outperformed other’s in school.

    I think he should be thankful he has a job programming and not cleaning bathrooms or worse, programming in something like Visual Basic.

    Sorry to ramble, just some thoughts your podcast provoked. Keep up the great work and thanks for the great Podcast.

  2. Brian,

    An excellent observation. I think any exercise informed by design is going to be more fruitful than just whacking away at code without forethought or ongoing consideration. I tried to speak to this a few episodes back, when I shared my first career story. That was the nugget of value I found in my first mentor’s emphasis on design. Not to be confused with big dee, Design, which is, in my opinion, a whole other bag of angry, half-starved feral cats.

    Little dee, design, in my experience is just what you described. Diagramming of some form, conversations, documentation. Techniques vary but the point to me is to understand the problem, including what parts you need to explore further, and to formulate a conceptual version of the solution. Big dee, Design, is where things like CASE tools and the UML come from, clearly related to simpler approaches to design but as far as I am concerned, just excuses for non-coding consultants and analysts to stay employed. I clearly have a bias towards design practices that are informed by coding, rather than conducted in isolation.

    I think that ability to abstract the design, properly, and use it to guide and refine development may also be the key to multi-lingualism. If the only formalism you have to express a solution is the implementation language itself, well, then it follows that if you have to switch languages, the implementation concerns are going to get muddled with the design concerns.

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