Robert C. Martin — Clean Code

A few weeks ago, I borrowed a copy of Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship from a coworker. I’m still working through it, but I can already recommend it.

Robert Martin gets to the heart of one of the most important issues facing software engineers: keeping code clean, readable, and maintainable. Too many developers and even whole teams get into a loop of “get it working, and get it out the door” with no time or effort devoted to really thinking about the structure of their code and how it will impact future development.

This leads to a steady decrease in programming efficiency and an increase in how long features take to implement. As the source code becomes more and more cluttered, as things become harder to find or harder to understand, the difficulty in adding new code becomes more pronounced, until even simple features take surprisingly long to complete.

The Purpose of Formatting

First of all, let’s be clear. Code formatting is important. It is too important to ignore and it is too important to treat religiously. Code formatting is about communication, and communication is the professional developer’s first order of business.

Perhaps you thought that “getting it working” was the first order of business for a professional developer. I hope by now, however, that this book has disabused you of that idea. The functionality that you create today has a good chance of changing in the next release, but the readability of your code will have a profound effect on all the changes that will ever be made. The coding style and readability set precedents that continue to affect maintainability and extensibility long after the original code has been changed beyond recognition. Your style and discipline survives, even though your code does not.

I really do think every developer should read this book. I hope I can help convince the rest of my coworkers to do so when I’ve finished it.

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Catching Up With Hollywood

There’s a guy in Canada who’s never really been exposed to much pop media(movies, music, books). He’s laid up now from a car accident, so he is going through all the culture he missed out on over the years. He started a great blog to review everything as he goes: Some Wonderful Kind of Noise. I suggest starting at the beginning, with his Star Wars posts.

Inspired by him, last week I knocked movies off my to-watch list left and right. It was great. Here’s what I watched:

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Classic character-light fantasy. Ridiculously small amount of dialogue, with the story told through visuals and music. I read somewhere the main character only says five words to his love interest in the whole two-plus hours.

I can’t say this is a mind-blowing film, but I’m glad to have finally seen it.

“Conan! What is best in life?”

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”

Once Upon a Time in the West

Earlier this summer, I watched Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy, so now I think I’ve fully rounded out my spaghetti western experience. They were all great, even if this one didn’t have Clint Eastwood chewing a cigar through the whole thing.

The Blues Brothers

How have I gotten to be thirty years old without watching this? I remember my dad renting it once when I was a kid, but he turned it off at the first F-bomb. In any case, the whole film was fantastic. Feels like something that’ll be a personal cult classic, in the same vein as The Jerk. Also, a Pandora station seeded with “The Blues Brothers” is just all kinds of awesome.

In Bruges

Two assassins hiding out in Bruges, Belgium. Incredibly dark comedy, which manages to keep up both the darkness and the humor all through it — mostly avoids First Law of Tragicomedies. Plus you get Voldemort, Professor Moody, and Fleur Delacour.

Rubber

This is a film about an old car tire named Robert, who wakes up one morning to go on a killing spree. Cue crushed scorpions and exploding rabbits (and people). My first exposure, I think, to absurdist media. Can’t say whether I liked it or not, but it was fascinating either way. Worth watching just for the intro monologue.

Big Trouble in Little China

Kurt Russell is a truck driver who gets involved in fighting an ancient Chinese demigod in San Francisco’s Little China neighborhood. Wuxia-style wire fighting, 80s hair, and effects straight out of Labyrinth or The Princess Bride. What’s not to love?


What movies are on your to-watch list? Any classics you just want to have seen so you can understand references to them? Or just a film someone mentioned on Fallon as inspiring their work?

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I’m Not Chef Pete

I was on kitchen duty last week and cooked three dinners. I’m not sure I’ve cooked three dinners in a month before now. I think I’m finally getting the hang of grilling. Kitchen cooking is still sort of a black art, but the grill really is making sense.

Monday

Grilled barbecue chicken breasts
Baked sweet potato fries
Steamed broccoli/cauliflower mix
Bacon-wrapped steak medallions

The steam-in-bag style veggie bags from your supermarket’s frozen section are great. The bacon-wrapped steak was pretty tasty, but probably not something I’ll bother with a second time.

Tuesday

Flounder
White rice
Yellow squash

I’m really surprised this one turned out — I’ve never cooked fish or squash, but they both came out pretty good, even on the stove. Think I need to get a fish basket for the grill, though.
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Wednesday

Grilled chicken kabobs with green and yellow bell peppers, red onion, yellow squash
Mushrooms
Halloumi cheese

If you want halloumi kabobs, make sure to lay the skewer right on your grill. Don’t use one of those kabob racks that suspends the skewer above the cooking surface. The cheese will melt oddly as it cooks and end up dripping down between the bars. You can’t rotate the skewer, either, since the hole in the cheese will expand around it.

Actually, I think I’m going to get rid of the rack I have. I can’t think of any reason to use it over plain wooden skewers laid right on the grill. Maybe if I were doing them in the oven? But I think I could just use a broiler pan in that case.

Oh! I also had some Dead Guy Ale from Rogue Brewery. That was great, too. Paired well with grilling.

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Did I mention we had a baby?

Way back in January, I posted the Due Date Drinking Game series. It ended abruptly when my daughter decided to finally show her face!

Kaylee Rae Jones was born 24 January 2014. This was her in the hospital that weekend:

And here she is a couple of weeks ago:

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Better if used by

CAM00739[1]My box of Cookie Crisps has a “Better if used by” date. It’s in June 2015.

“Well, it’s pretty great stuff, but I have to say after you’ve had it for a year, it really does just lose something. A bit of that essential vitality goes missing. Sad, really. To have such glory come to such an ignominious end. Oh well, better pop off for a fresh box; it’s time for my quarterly bowl.”

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