Archive for March, 2005

Quotes from Dijkstra and Knuth

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

Thought you might like these. Edsger Dijkstra, from How do we tell truths that might hurt?

The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence.

And Donald Knuth, from an interview in Dr. Dobb’s Journal

DDJ: You’ve mentioned Edsger Dijkstra. What do you think of his work?

DK: His great strength is that he is uncompromising. It would make him physically ill to think of programming in C++.

Today’s Lab

Monday, March 21st, 2005

Click here for the Cohesion and Coupling Exercise and here for the next project milestone.

E-mail address encryption

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

Ok, this is kind of neat: a program that takes your e-mail address, encrypts it using 10-bit RSA, then generates a JavaScript program to decrypt it and generate a mailto: link in a web page. Why do such a thing? Because if you post an e-mail address as plaintext on a web page (like, say, that link to over on the left), it’ll be a matter of minutes before some lowlife scrapes it and spams you.

So I was setting up an autoresponder for homework assignments, and figured I’d give it a shot.

Assignment submission auto-responder

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

I’ve had a few people who’ve e-mailed assignments to me ask whether or not I’d received them. (And a few whose e-mail seems to have disappeared into the ether.) I’ve set up an auto-responder that will reply with an acknowledgement and a list of received files.

Assignment 2

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

The official version of Assignment 2 is available. Surprise: it’s a parser.

There are also some minor semantic checks, preparatory to generating intermediate code in Assignment 3. Note that if we define the relational operators to return type INTEGER instead of a Boolean type (regarding 0 as false and non-zero as true the same way that C and C++ do), we obviate the need for type checking. You can thank me later.

Tufte on PowerPoint

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

Here’s a copy of Edward Tufte’s Wired article Why PowerPoint is Evil.

The UNIX-HATERS Handbook

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

For an extended meditation on the usability (or, more properly, the lack of usability) of UNIX, see The UNIX-HATERS Handbook. Don’t get too carried away by the rhetoric — note that the contributors include Simson Garfinkel and Dennis Ritchie, neither of whom is particularly anti-UNIX (Ritchie being one of the co-inventors of both UNIX and C). But it’s fun to read.

Speaking of Donald Knuth…

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

NPR’s Morning Edition ran an interview with him on Monday.

Paper Summary 4

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

As promised, I’ve moved the due date for Paper Summary 4 until after Spring Break. Notice, though, that Paper Summary 5 is due at the very next class meeting — I recommend that you do not put it off until then.

Assignment 3

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

Click here for Assignment 3.