Here is an interesting article (via HN) on how IKEA cons the taxman by posing as a charity. I started reading the book Perfectly Legal, but discontinued after few pages. The IKEA story reminded me to pick it up again – maybe soon after I am done with my current reading list.
From an interesting article on the practice of tipping:
It’s not that we tip waiters because they are paid so little; they are paid so little because they can expect to make up the difference in tips.
This time from Raganwald. Of course, we might soon see training centers in Hyderabad.
Dave offers advice to hide money from burglars:
Your best strategy, then, is to actually leave some money in obvious places for the burglar to quickly find (the same applies if you keep all your money in the bank). This can not only save your other stash of money, but may actually keep the burglar from destroying your place as he looks for where you have hidden your money.
Bryan O’Sullivan, Don Stewart and John Goerzen have announced a new book titled Real-World Haskell. I am very excited to hear about this new book!
As I had blogged previously, Haskell is one language I was planning to learn for quite some time. I have just completed Graham Hutton’s Programming in Haskell and I enjoyed both the book and the language. It is a great book to get one started with the language. Haskell is very different from most other languages I know that even the gentle introduction was difficult to read through. Hutton has done a very good job of explaining the language to average joes like me. I recommend it to anyone who plan to learn Haskell.
IMHO, the best way to learn any language is to actually solve problems using it, so I have started solving small problems using Haskell with lots of help from the #haskell IRC channel. The Haskell community is very helpful and polite – thank you very much, folks!
Having said that, I have quite some way to go towards using Haskell in my day-to-day programming tasks. I still have no idea how to apply Haskell in many practical situations – database programming, creating GUIs, creating web applications etc. The problems I have so far used Haskell for look contrived – strictly mathematical problems which, though stimulating to the mind, looks far detached from reality.
I am looking for the Real-World Haskell book to show me how to go about using Haskell for the programming problems I encounter in the real world.
Internet is getting popular in India. I don’t have any statistics about it, but my guess is that most people and businesses in India don’t have an internet presence yet. Putting information about a business on the internet is useful for both the internet community and the business themselves.
Seth Godin writes:
What should my local chiropractor do? Or the acupuncturist? Or the pet store? What about that small church or mosque?
The web has changed the game for a lot of organizations, but for the local business, it’s more of a threat and a quandary than an asset. My doctor went to a seminar yesterday ($100+) where the ‘expert’ was busy selling her on buying a domain name, hiring a designer, using web development software, understanding site maps and navigation and keywords and metatags and servers…
These are businesses that have trouble dealing with the Yellow Pages. Too much trouble, too much time, way too expensive. So, should local micro-businesses just ignore the web? Or should they become experts in the art of building and maintaining a website
I think there’s a third way, one that gets them just about everything they need, takes an hour or two a month and costs about $60 a year.
The advice Seth gives is brilliant for its simplicity! Highly recommended.
Most readers of this blog might not have any trouble managing a web server and a few web sites. But if you know someone running a small local business who likes to have a web presence but would not like to be bothered with the hassles, I recommend pitching Seth’s idea to them.
Via Reddit – couldn’t resist link jacking.
I used to do interviews for hiring students from campus. One question I often tried to ask folks from branches that don’t involve programing is “Now that you have chosen to go into a programing career, how did you arrive at this decision? What did you do to prepare yourselves for it?”. Very few students I have interviewed have given a convincing answer to that question – I have got the impression that many people choose the programing career because everyone else is doing it.
I wish they had the above image as the cover of some text book.
Nirmal Shekar writes in The Hindu:
Let us resolve that we will never again say that Team India carries the hopes of a billion people and the prayers of that many are with Rahul Dravid’s men. The truth — if anybody still cares for it in this age of ephemera, an age of boosterism and saturation coverage of popular sport in the media — is that a vast majority of that billion has rather more mundane everyday concerns. Their hopes and dreams are not hooked to the fortunes of the men in blue.
Unless something unexpected happens, we can be assured that cricket would be the hottest topic of discussion in our media for the next few weeks. Before it gets to full swing, Nirmal’s article is well worth a read.
Jeff Atwood has written a good blog post on comments.
Code can only tell you how the program works; comments can tell you why it works. Try not to shortchange your fellow developers in either area.
Practitioners would have noticed these principles long ago; but this post would be a good reading for someone starting programing. Most programing books emphasise the importance of comments, but do not do a good job of explaining how comments should be written. The Practice of Programming has some good advice, but I don’t remember seeing much elsewhere.
The best readable code is the one that does not need any comments. The most useful comments are the ones that explain why the code was written the way it is.
CSS Zen Garden is a website created by David Shea to demonstrate the power of CSS and encourage its adoption. You get a simple HTML page which has no presentational attibutes. Readers are invited to present CSS files which adds presentational attibutes to this HTML page and beautify it. Lots of designs have been presented, and comparing those designs make a very compelling case for CSS. Bruce Lawson has created a CSS Zen Garden design which is so very reminiscent of Geocities circa 1996 – see for yourself. The fun part is that some people still design their emails like this!