Does the code we see at the movies work in the real world?

Tuesday, 14 January, 2014

British programmer John Graham-Cumming collects examples of snippets of code as seen in movies, which are more often than not displayed simply for show, and then figures out what the programming actually does.

Clearly the code executes whatever is required of it on a movie set, but your mileage may vary, considerably in some instances, in the real world.

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A picture could paint a thousand lines of code with MS Paint

Monday, 11 April, 2011

I’m no code monkey, so I’m only calling this one as I see it, but MS Paint, a basic graphics creation application that ships with Windows operating systems, can be used to write snippets of code, as this GIF animation presentation shows.

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How Agile development methodologies almost saved an empire

Tuesday, 29 March, 2011

Darth Vader took a few leaves from Agile software development methodologies in order to ensure that the second Death Star (in Return of the Jedi) was operational, according to the Emperor’s specifications:

Enter Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith and Project Manager. He is here to put this thing back on track. The Client (in this case, the Emperor), doesn’t want to hear any more excuses. They want results, and they wanted them yesterday. So, Vader takes an Agile approach. He prioritizes the features list (“Look, we really need the big laser thing; our customers will just have to come to us at first.”), and he works in vertical slices. At the end of the movie, it seems to have paid off. There are still huge pieces missing and construction is nowhere near complete, but “Those weapon systems are operational!”

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Remember when writing Facebook code wasn’t a process?

Thursday, 20 January, 2011

Based on observations and comments made by Facebook programmers, Yee Lee has listed key aspects of the social network’s code development process… it’s sure come a long way since Mark Zuckerberg toiled in a university dorm room writing it by himself.

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What happens after “to hell with it, let’s do it” actually happens

Monday, 15 November, 2010

Formulating a set of contingency instructions – that are a little like if-then scripting statements – to be adhered to should we choose to do something rash, hasty, or otherwise unwise (such as say, hack all the protected images from the facebooks of Harvard University’s colleges), could help us apply the brakes before our hot-headedness really gets the better of us.

You’re probably familiar with what could be called the ‘to hell with it’ effect. It’s when (as demonstrated by lots of research) a bad mood causes us to take risky decisions or engage in risky behaviour. Like when you’re feeling down and you drive home dangerously fast or go out and get drunk. Now a team led by Thomas Webb at the University of Sheffield says that we can protect ourselves from this effect by forming ‘if-then’ implementation decisions in advance. These are self-made plans which state that if a certain situation occurs, then I will respond in a pre-specified way.

I’m no programmer but did develop this little snippet of self-help script… feel free to use it:

[IF] action = stupid [THEN] stop

A form of precognition perhaps?

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Get with the program, Inception in an executable file

Thursday, 22 July, 2010

Right about now the first screenings of Christopher Nolan’s new film Inception will be starting in Sydney, and with any luck I’ll be at one of them. If you’re a programmer who has yet to see Nolan’s latest work, this code snippet by Marke Hallowell makes for a fine substitute for the trailer, if you’re yet to see that also.

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The secrets of creating and selling smartphone apps successfully

Thursday, 8 July, 2010

Seven British smartphone app entrepreneurs discuss creating and selling apps for the iPhone. If you can strike upon the right idea you could do well as an app developer…

Thanks to the relative ease of fashioning an app (using a dedicated “developer’s kit”, which makes programming reasonably pain-free), around 15,000 are submitted to Apple every week for approval and sale through its App Store. The majority are created not by traditional software giants, but by individuals, working from home.

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Will computer applications become grandmasters of chess?

Friday, 21 May, 2010

Computer programs, if they are ever to truly master chess, must become capable of anticipating play ten plus moves ahead, in same way as the (human) grandmasters.

Often but not always, as shown by today’s climactic game in which Viswanathan Anand of India won with Black to defeat challenger Veselin Topalov 6½ – 5½ . At Move 40, Anand calculated 11 moves ahead to realize that a position after Move 50 with only a King and three Pawns left for each side would be winning for him. Many computer programs seeing only yea-far for minutes thought Anand’s move was a blunder allowing a draw, causing their owners to express consternation on numerous chat channels and blogs. Thus, sometimes the programs are wrong.

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The complete guide to writing unmaintainable code

Thursday, 4 June, 2009

Hmm, producing “unmaintainable code” is apparently one way of retaining your job… if you subscribe to the line of thinking that no manager in their right mind would wish your code upon anyone else.

To foil the maintenance programmer, you have to understand how he thinks. He has your giant program. He has no time to read it all, much less understand it. He wants to rapidly find the place to make his change, make it and get out and have no unexpected side effects from the change. He views your code through a toilet paper tube. He can only see a tiny piece of your program at a time. You want to make sure he can never get at the big picture from doing that. You want to make it as hard as possible for him to find the code he is looking for. But even more important, you want to make it as awkward as possible for him to safely ignore anything.

An extensive “how not to write code” resource nevertheless.

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90% of everything else is crap, but 99% of TV is crap

Wednesday, 17 December, 2008

I always get a kick out of this sort of stuff, residing in a TV-less household as I do… James Morrison’s extension of Sturgeon’s Law, which states “ninety percent of everything is crap”, “ninety-nine percent of TV is crap“.

Ninety percent of music is crap. Ninety percent of literary novels are crap. Ninety percent of films are crap. My corollary to Sturgeon’s Law would add “…but ninety-nine percent of TV is crap.” The endless need for vast amounts of content and the absolute lowest-common-denominator audience produces such a torrent of bilge that it makes my forehead bleed.

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