inessential by Brent Simmons

1/28/2000 RBL Without a Clue. "I wouldn't know a properly configured SMTP host if it bit me in the ass - which, as far as I know, a properly configured SMTP host is capable of doing."

mainResponder bug fix: mainResponder Resources. The icons for folder and table directory listings were missing from Frontier 6.1: they've been restored.

Microsoft fudges Win2K speed trials. Apparently, Windows 2000 may not be faster than Windows NT 4.

QubeQuorner: Great links, as always, but also this: "I work with about a dozen programmers, and some of the best ones learned to program on their own. Only about four of the lot have CompSci backgrounds." Here at UserLand we have a mix, from people with lots of college computer science education to people with none. Everyone's good. (Much better than good.)

Me, I learned programming as a boy; I didn't study it in college. But neither did I learn it on my own. My parents, who were both programmers at the time, would lecture me at the dinner table on modular design. "Don't use GOTO, use GOSUB." I think, in the future, lots of kids will learn programming this way; I was one of the first.

Speaking of modular programming: I remember my first great lesson. The Apple II Plus stored its video in user-accessible memory. A large enough program, or enough data, would cause the screen to display complete garbage, as the program or its data ran into video memory. I had written a huge adventure type game -- I was a fan of the classic Colossal Caves adventure -- where each room was a separate routine with its own input loop, its own hard-coded data, its own command handlers. No subroutines, no factoring, no central event loop, no design -- just a sprawling huge app. The program ate up all the available memory, went right up into video memory, and started drawing garbage on the screen. Time to re-architect! I was 12 or 13 at the time. So I learned that lesson early, the hard way.

I thought the computer was busted, but Dad knew what the problem was.

Karl Martino pops in with a link: Motley Fool on DVD.

Garret writes: "official internet outfit ... i thought it was black. black jeans, black t, the darkest glasses possible ... because you can't take too much real or artificial light unless it's a glow limned from a crt ... "

I almost started laughing, because as I'm reading this I'm wearing black jeans and a black T-shirt, as I do pretty damn often. But no glasses. And, far from being unable to take sunlight, I'm one of its most enthusiastic, though infrequent, consumers. (Infrequent because this is Seattle.)