Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Learning how to code

This post has been a long time in the pipeline and I’ve forced myself to writing about it only now. I got head hunted (placed is the right word but head hunted conjures up visions of exotic tribals and big corporate boardroom battles and sounds soooo much better). Training was scheduled for a month or so and was held at a 3 * hotel. Here are 10 things I learnt during training; ten valuable pointers which will greatly aid me in my quest for the software holy grail (according to top techie sites) – how to write a three line program without causing the computer to crash / self destruct / do other stupid things computers are prone to do when executing programs .

1.Linux games rock! – This fact I had learnt in college during programming labs but I realised the full potential, however, only during training. Playing for many hours a day generally helps. Another tip – put tux racer (penguin racing game) in demo mode and watch it the penguin skim across the ice!!!!! ( good fun especially when you are supposed to be listening to the intricacies of database designs or other core techie stuff )

2.Point 1 is reinforced when the trainer walks past all the computers, notes the diverse games being played on each computer and continues teaching the intricacies of database design.Super fun!

3.Continuing on point 1 and 2, realising the utter pointlessness of expecting the students to understand the intricacies of database design while playing games, the intricacies of database design instructor would infrequently cut short the classes and let us off.

4. I’m sure even if I’m not, you should be heartily sick of the intricacies of database design by now. Anybody eager to know more about this revolutionary new subject please don’t hesitate to call. As its such a hot topic, I admit only a few students based on stringent criteria (gender and looks only) Since I hadn’t been listening too much to the I O D D trainer, not too much I could teach you but its worth giving a shot anyway.

5. There Is Some Such Thing As A Free Lunch – food was arranged at the hotel every day. Another valuable tip -- stuff like ‘Maxican Coilslaw’,’Suop’,’Vice cream’,’Bread Butter Putting’ is quite good to eat. In fact, every day, I looked forward more to the name displayed in front of the dish than the dish itself. Still don’t understand how anybody can misspell soup though.

6.One more amazingly useful fact I learnt is that if one squeezes lemon onto tea with milk , it’s not possible to drink it before the milk curdled. Wasted two cups of tea in trying. Keep this in mind when your stranded in a desert island without food or water.

7. Back to techie stuff. It was during training that I realised how beautiful a language java was. Any friends of mine from college who, after that reading that statement are scratching their heads and going to the top of the page to make sure they are reading my blog, fear not an read on. I think Java is the computer’s answer to Captain Haddock. Imagine you’re the computer and a programmer has tried valiantly all night to write, say, a program to print ‘hello world’ on the screen and expectedly has failed miserably. How do you tell him enough is enough and give him not so subtle indications that he should try alternate professions such as maybe intricacies of database design instructor? Don’t show normal errors. Fill up the screen with errors like ‘FormatFlagsConversionMismatchException’ and ‘UnSupportedLookAndFeelException’. If the insulting exceptions don’t work, the impressive capitalisations sure should psyche him out.

8. Daily to training I took the MRTS train. Very fast, sparsely occupied , and providing a super aerial view of chennai. What more could one ask for?

9.How to do 3 crosswords in a day - This was amazing. The hotel had a lobby full of papers and as unobtrusively as possible we would flick the Hindu and Indian Express for the express purpose of solving the crossword. One guy would bring the Economic Times from his home and thus I had plenty to do all day (especially when not playing games)

10 Most useful part of training is that now I can now happily term drop left right and centre. If somebody insults my code I know enough to blame the software, go into its ancestry and version number saying the appropriate patch wasn’t available and then divert the topic into every programmers pet topic – how windows sucks! which should ideally make him forget my inadequacies