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    Going camping to forget about the crazy week I’ve had…

    1. 1

      The scientist builds in order to study; the engineer studies in order to build.

      This is the most succinct way I’ve seen of summarizing this distinction. Will definitely be quoting this!

      Another random thought: To me, one of the greatest and most fascinating things about computing is that unlike other disciplines that started with concrete, physical events and moved towards abstract systems, computing started with abstract systems and grew into the physical world. There are no binary search trees in nature (or in the circuits of a computer for that matter), but they are entities that have real impact on the world when brought to life through a computer.

      1. 2

        Gonna dig back into my terminal RSS reader hemingway after seeing that it’s gotten some traction lately. Should be fun to do some non work programming!

        1. 3

          I wonder, what’s the reason for splitting the space bar in two?

          1. 5

            They talk about it somewhere in the docs. The idea is that you can remap one of the half-bars to another key if you’d like, so you can backspace with your thumb, for example, but still also have space on your thumb.

            1. 4

              Probably because it doesn’t require stabilizers then…

              1. 3

                Like many design features in conventional keyboards, (especially the staggered rows or the ergonomically awful positioning of modifier keys) the reason most spacebars are comically wide is that they were just copying the design of typewriters without considering the original rationale. In a typewriter, the space bar is different from every other key because it doesn’t have an arm attached to it that needs to come up to strike the paper, so it could be placed lower down where the arms wouldn’t reach and out of the way of the other moving parts.

                1. 1

                  Split spacebars are pretty popular in the mechanical keyboard enthusiast community, for aesthetic as well as practical reasons (can map more functionality to more switches, like layer switching for instance).

                  1. 1

                    The idea is you can optionally remap one of them to a modifier key (eg: Fn/ctrl/alt/shift) or use it activate a custom layer.

                    1. 1

                      It gives a more positive/reliable response, the spacebar has long been a weak point on IBM and the more modern pckeyboards.com

                    1. 3

                      I’m a big antiques nut and would absolutely love to get into the retrocomputing scene… too bad my local antique shops don’t ever have electronics/computers. Have found some pretty cool DEC tradeshow buttons though

                      1. 3

                        To brush up on my Go skills I started writing a Chip8 implementation! Wound up writing an assembler too. It’s a super simple ISA and would be a great way to teach the basics of how processors work.

                        https://github.com/jahzielv/hapax8.git

                        1. 3

                          This is such an amazing guide; I read it a few months before taking my networking class in college and it helped me stay ahead. I sent it to a bunch of folks in that class and it helped them out a ton as well!

                          1. 1

                            I make a note in Notion if it’s something big, or I post on my Mastodon feed with the #TIL tag if it’s something small and toot-able.

                            1. 2

                              I’ve had a crazy thought for a while that they’d try to turn Windows into a Linux at some point, given their deeper integration with Linux via WSL. Probably won’t happen since there’s been so much sunk into the Windows way of doing things and there’s such a broad divergence from UNIX at this point, but one can always hope :)

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                                My understanding is that WSL has backed off from syscall translation to basically just virtualization with some nifty bits. If so, that’s probably a net win for utility but much less interesting from a technical perspective.

                              1. 3

                                Mastodon, a tilde server for CS students I’m trying to get off the ground, a very basic Git setup, Gemini (gemini://gemini.jahziel.xyz, not much there tho, runs on my own server called Titan). All running on a Hetzner VPS. Can’t recommend Hetzner enough; I pay ~$10 for 8gb of RAM and ~100gb of disk.

                                1. 2

                                  I just joined a new team (my first full-time engineering job!) and have had to do a lot of what’s mentioned here. One of the game changers for me has honestly been replacing grep with Silver Searcher. I’d often forget the right grep flags for specific things, but ag makes it so much easier to search and has really helpful features by default! Super nice for poking around unfamiliar code.

                                  1. 2

                                    Chrome now offers the ability to share copied text and webpages from desktop to phone and vice versa. For link tracking in general, I use Notion and the chrome extension.

                                    1. 3

                                      Oh man, this is exciting. I had no idea it ran Linux! Sounds like it’s very hacker friendly. Might have to start saving for it soon!

                                      1. 3

                                        I’m glad I’m not the only one with this issue!! I also invariably lose track of the tools I have installed if they’re not being used every day, and have a devil of a time finding them again on my machine once I do need them.

                                        1. 3

                                          For tools that I’ve installed and that I don’t use too often, I usually add aliases for them. For example:

                                          alias top="htop"
                                          alias markdown-viewer="grip"
                                          

                                          It has the advantages of only having to remember the name of the functionality, having the name of the tool recorded somewhere in case I really need it, and not having to remember another program name if I end up using another one for the same functionality.

                                          That reminds me that I still need to find that one program that records gif from a part of my screen, and that just works…

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                                          I used to think this was the case until I realized that Google funds Firefox through noblesse oblige, and so all the teeth-gnashing over “Google owns the Internet” is still true whether you use Chrome directly or whether you use Firefox. The only real meaningful competition in browsers is from Apple (God help us.) Yes, Apple takes money from Google too, but they don’t rely on Google for their existence.

                                          I am using Safari now, which is… okay. The extension ecosystem is much less robust but I have survived. I’m also considering Brave, but Chromium browsers just gulp down the battery in Mac OS so I’m not totally convinced there yet.

                                          Mozilla’s recent political advocacy has also made it difficult for me to continue using Firefox.

                                          1. 19

                                            I used to think this was the case until I realized that Google funds Firefox through noblesse oblige, and so all the teeth-gnashing over “Google owns the Internet” is still true whether you use Chrome directly or whether you use Firefox.

                                            I’m not sure the premise is true. Google probably wants to have a practical monopoly that does not count as a legal monopoly. This isn’t an angelic motive, but isn’t noblesse oblige.

                                            More importantly, the conclusion doesn’t follow–at least not 100%. Money has a way of giving you control over people, but it can be imprecise, indirect, or cumbersome. I believe what Google and Firefox have is a contract to share revenue with Firefox for Google searches done through Firefox’s url bar. If Google says “make X, Y and Z decisions about the web or you’ll lose this deal”, that is the kind of statement antitrust regulators find fascinating. Since recent years have seen increased interest in antitrust, Google might not feel that they can do that.

                                            1. 9

                                              Yes, I agree. It’s still bad that most of Mozilla’s funding comes from Google, but it matters that Mozilla is structured with its intellectual property owned by a non-profit. That doesn’t solve all problems, but it creates enough independence that, for example, Firefox is significantly ahead of Chrome on cookie-blocking functionality - which very much hits Google’s most important revenue stream.

                                              1. 4

                                                Google never has to say “make X, Y and Z decisions about the web or you’ll lose this deal,” with or without the threat of antitrust regulation. People have a way of figuring out what they have to do to keep their job.

                                              2. 17

                                                I’m tired of the Pocket suggested stories. They have a certain schtick to them that’s hard to pin down precisely but usually amounts to excessively leftist, pseudo-intellectual clickbait: “meat is the privilege of the west and needs to stop.”

                                                I know you can turn them off.

                                                I’m arguing defaults matter, and defaults that serve to distract with intellectual junk is not great. At least it isn’t misinformation, but that’s not saying much.

                                                Moving back to Chrome this year because of that, along with some perf issues I run into more than I’d like. It’s a shame, I wanted to stop supporting Google, but the W3C has succeeded in creating a standard so complex that millions of dollars are necessary to adequately fund the development of a performant browser.

                                                1. 2

                                                  Moving back to Chrome this year because of that, along with some perf issues I run into more than I’d like. It’s a shame, I wanted to stop supporting Google, but the W3C has succeeded in creating a standard so complex that millions of dollars are necessary to adequately fund the development of a performant browser.

                                                  In case you haven’t heard of it, this might be worth checking out: https://ungoogled-software.github.io/

                                                  1. 1

                                                    Except as of a few days ago Google is cutting off access to certain APIs like Sync that Chromium was using.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      Straight out of the Android playbook

                                                2. 4

                                                  Mozilla’s recent political advocacy has also made it difficult for me to continue using Firefox.

                                                  Can you elaborate on this? I use FF but have never delved into their politics.

                                                  1. 16

                                                    My top of mind example: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2021/01/08/we-need-more-than-deplatforming/

                                                    Also: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2020/07/13/sustainability-needs-culture-change-introducing-environmental-champions/ https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2020/06/24/immigrants-remain-core-to-the-u-s-strength/ https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2020/06/24/were-proud-to-join-stophateforprofit/

                                                    I’m not trying to turn this into debating specifically what is said in these posts but many are just pure politics, which I’m not interested in supporting by telling people to use Firefox. My web browser doesn’t need to talk about ‘culture change’ or systemic racism. Firefox also pushes some of these posts to the new tab page, by default, so it’s not like you can just ignore their blog.

                                                    1. 6

                                                      I’m started to be afraid that being against censorship is enough to get you ‘more than de-platformed’.

                                                        1. 10

                                                          Really? I feel like every prescription in that post seems reasonable; increase transparency, make the algorithm prioritize factual information over misinformation, research the impact of social media on people and society. How could anyone disagree with those points?

                                                          1. 17

                                                            You’re right, how could anyone disagree with the most holy of holies, ‘fact checkers’?

                                                            Here’s a great fact check: https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/jan/06/ted-cruz/ted-cruzs-misleading-statement-people-who-believe-/

                                                            The ‘fact check’ is a bunch of irrelevant information about how bad Ted Cruz and his opinions are, before we get to the meat of the ‘fact check’ which is, unbelievably, “yes, what he said is true, but there was also other stuff he didn’t say that we think is more important than what he did!”

                                                            Regardless of your opinion on whether this was a ‘valid’ fact check or not, I don’t want my web browser trying to pop up clippy bubbles when I visit a site saying “This has been officially declared by the Fact Checkers™ as wrongthink, are you sure you’re allowed to read it?” I also don’t want my web browser marketer advocating for deplatforming (“we need more than deplatforming suggests that deplatforming should still be part of the ‘open’ internet.) That’s all.

                                                            1. 15

                                                              a bunch of irrelevant information about how bad Ted Cruz and his opinions are

                                                              I don’t see that anywhere. It’s entirely topical and just some context about what Cruz was talking about.

                                                              the meat of the ‘fact check’ which is, unbelievably, “yes, what he said is true, but there was also other stuff he didn’t say that we think is more important than what he did!”

                                                              That’s not what it says at all. Anyone can cherry-pick or interpret things in such a way that makes their statement “factual”. This is how homeopaths can “truthfully” point at studies which show an effect in favour of homeopathy. But any fact check worth its salt will also look at the overwhelming majority of studies that very clearly demonstrate that homeopathy is no better than a placebo, and therefore doesn’t work (plus, will point out that the proposed mechanisms of homeopathy are extremely unlikely to work in the first place, given that they violate many established laws of physics).

                                                              The “39% of Americans … 31% of independents … 17% of Democrats believe the election was rigged” is clearly not supported by any evidence, and only by a tenuous interpretation of a very limited set of data. This is a classic case of cherry-picking.

                                                              I hardly ever read politifact, but if this is really the worst fact-check you can find then it seems they’re not so bad.

                                                              1. 7

                                                                This article has a few more examples of bad fact checks:

                                                                https://greenwald.substack.com/p/instagram-is-using-false-fact-checking

                                                              2. 7

                                                                Media fact-checkers are known to be biased.

                                                                [Media Matters lobby] had to make us think that we needed a third party to step in and tell us what to think and sort through the information … The fake news effort, the fact-checking, which is usually fake fact-checking, meaning it’s not a genuine effort, is a propaganda effort … We’ve seen it explode as we come into the 2020 election, for much the same reason, whereby, the social media companies, third parties, academic institutions and NewsGuard … they insert themselves. But of course, they’re all backed by certain money and special interests. They’re no more in a position to fact-check than an ordinary person walking on the street … — Sharyl Attkisson on Media Bias, Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

                                                                Below is a list of known rebuttals of some “fact-checkers”.

                                                                Politifact

                                                                • I wanted to show that these fact-checkers just lie, and they usually go unchecked because most people don’t have the money, don’t have the time, and don’t have the platform to go after them — and I have all three” — Candace Owens Challenges Fact-Checker, And Wins

                                                                Full fact (fullfact.org)

                                                                Snopes

                                                                Associated Press (AP)

                                                                • Fact-checking was devised to be a trusted way to separate fact from fiction. In reality, many journalists use the label “fact-checking” as a cover for promoting their own biases. A case in point is an Associated Press (AP) piece headlined “AP FACT-CHECK: Trump’s inaccurate boasts on China travel ban,” which was published on March 26, 2020 and carried by many news outlets.” — Propaganda masquerading as fact-checking

                                                                Politico

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  I’m interested in learning about the content management systems that these fact checker websites use to effectively manage large amounts of content with large groups of staff. Do you have any links about that?

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    The real error is to imply that “fact checkers” are functionally different from any other source of news/journalism/opinion. All such sources are a collection of humans. All humans have bias. Many such collections of humans have people that are blind to their own bias, or suffer a delusion of objectivity.

                                                                    Therefore the existence of some rebuttals to a minuscule number of these “fact checks” (between 0 and 1% of all “fact checks”) should not come as a surprise to anyone. Especially when the rebuttals are published by other news/journalism/opinion sources that are at least as biased and partisan as the fact checkers they’re rebutting.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      The real error is to imply that “fact checkers” are functionally different from any other source of news/journalism/opinion.

                                                                      Indeed they aren’t that different. Fact-checkers inherit whatever bias that is already present in mainstream media, which itself is a well-documented fact, as the investigative journalist Sharyl Atkisson explored in her two books:

                                                                      • The Smear exposes and focuses on the multi-billion dollar industry of political and corporate operatives that control the news and our info, and how they do it.
                                                                      • Slanted looks at how the operatives moved on to censor info online (and why), and has chapters dissecting the devolution of NYT and CNN, recommendations where to get off narrative news, and a comprehensive list of media mistakes.
                                                              3. 5

                                                                After reading that blog post last week I switched away from Firefox. It will lead to the inevitable politicization of a web browser where the truthfulness of many topics is filtered through a very left-wing, progressive lens.

                                                                1. 23

                                                                  I feel like “the election wasn’t stolen” isn’t a left- or right-wing opinion. It’s just the truth.

                                                                  1. 15

                                                                    To be fair, I feel like the whole idea of the existence of an objective reality is a left-wing opinion right now in the US.

                                                                    1. 5

                                                                      There are many instances of objective reality which left-wing opinion deems problematic. It would be unwise to point them out on a public forum.

                                                                      1. 8

                                                                        I feel like you have set up a dilemma for yourself. In another thread, you complain that we are headed towards a situation where Lobsters will no longer be a reasonable venue for exploring inconvenient truths. However, in this thread, you insinuate that Lobsters already has become unreasonable, as an excuse for avoiding giving examples of such truths. Which truths are being silenced by Lobsters?

                                                                        Which truths are being silenced by Mozilla? Keep in mind that the main issue under contention in their blog post is whether a privately-owned platform is obligated to repeat the claims of a politician, particularly when those claims would undermine democratic processes which elect people to that politician’s office; here, there were no truths being silenced, which makes the claim of impending censorship sound like a slippery slope.

                                                                        1. 4

                                                                          Yeah but none that are currently fomenting a coup in a major world power.

                                                                    2. 16

                                                                      But… Mozilla has been inherently political the whole way. The entire Free Software movement is incredibly political. Privacy is political. Why is “social media should be more transparent and try to reduce the spread of blatant misinformation” where you draw the line?

                                                                      1. 5

                                                                        That’s not where I draw the line. We appear to be heading towards a Motte and Bailey fallacy where recent events in the US will be used as justification to clamp down on other views and opinions that left-wing progressives don’t approve of (see some of the comments on this page about ‘fact checkers’)

                                                                        1. 7

                                                                          In this case though, the “views and opinions that left-wing progressives don’t approve of” are the ideas of white supremacy and the belief that the election was rigged. Should those not be “clamped down” on? (I mean, it’s important to be able to discuss whether the election was rigged, but not when it’s just a president who doesn’t want to accept a loss and has literally no credible evidence of any kind.)

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            I mentioned the Motte and Bailey fallacy being used and you bring up ‘white supremacy’ in your response! ‘White Supremacy’ is the default Motte used by the progressive left. The Bailey being a clamp down on much more contentious issues. Its this power to clamp down on the more contentious issues that I object to.

                                                                            1. 6

                                                                              So protest clamp downs on things you don’t want to see clamp downs on, and don’t protest clamp downs on things you feel should be clamped down on? We must be able to discuss and address real issues, such as the spread of misinformation and discrimination/supremacy.

                                                                              But that’s not even super relevant to the article in question. Mozilla isn’t even calling for censoring anyone. It’s calling for a higher degree of transparency (which none of us should object to) and for the algorithm to prioritize factual information over misinformation (which everyone ought to agree with in principle, though we can criticize specific ways to achieve it).

                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                We are talking past each other in a very unproductive way.

                                                                                The issue I have is with what you describe as “…and for the algorithm to prioritize factual information over misinformation”

                                                                                Can you not see the problem when the definition of ‘factual information’ is in the hands of a small group of corporations from the West Coast of America? Do you think that the ‘facts’ related to certain hot-button issues will be politically neutral?

                                                                                It’s this bias that i object to.

                                                                                This American cultural colonialism.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  Can you not see the problem when the definition of ‘factual information’ is in the hands of a small group of corporations from the West Coast of America?

                                                                                  ReclaimTheNet recently published a very good article on this topic

                                                                                  https://reclaimthenet.org/former-aclu-head-ira-glasser-explains-why-you-cant-ban-hate-speech/

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    That’s an excellent article. Thank you for posting it.

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      You’re welcome. You might be interested in my public notes on the larger topic, published here.

                                                                      2. 3

                                                                        Out of interest, to which browser did you switch?

                                                                  2. 2

                                                                    if possible, try vivaldi, being based on chromium, it will be easiest to switch to f.e. you can install chromium’s extensions in vivaldi. not sure about their osx (which seems to be your use-case), support though, so ymmv.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    Just got out from Georgia Tech, seeing this makes me super proud to be a Yellow Jacket! Regardless of rankings, Tech is a great school and I’m super lucky to have gotten the chance to go there. THWg!

                                                                    1. 18

                                                                      Our sysadmin @alynpost is resigning as moderator and sysadmin to focus on other projects. Prgmr will no longer be donating hosting. For security’s sake, I’ve reset all tokens and you’ll have to log in again - sorry for the hassle.

                                                                      Is there any risk that Lobste.rs could go offline in the future due to running costs?

                                                                      1. 38

                                                                        No. The new hosting bill is $75/month, which I don’t mind at all.

                                                                        1. 14

                                                                          Isn’t that very overpriced? 40€/month at hetzner gets you a dedicated machine with a Ryzen 5 3600, 64GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD on RAID1 (no affiliation or anything, it’s just the provider I know).

                                                                          1. 8

                                                                            Hetzner also just uses electricity from sustainable sources, while with digital ocean it depends on the location

                                                                            1. 3

                                                                              Hetzner is the goat! I use them for my VPS and it’s the best deal I’ve seen yet for cloud services. The fact that they’re environmentally friendly as well makes it that much better!

                                                                            2. 5

                                                                              Does Hetzner have managed MySQL? Seems like it’s a big hassle removed there.

                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                You can rent a managed server with Hetzner and they have a panel to install and mange MySQL on it, but I don’t think it’s comparable to DigitalOcean’s managed offerings.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  Would be really interesting to hear what they’re doing with “managed”. Because based on the prices I’d say prgrmr.com is also not cheap compared to the hardware you get.

                                                                            3. 5

                                                                              Does hosting lobster requires lots of CPU or RAM?

                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                It’s Rails. So both :)

                                                                                1. -1

                                                                                  #rust

                                                                              2. 5

                                                                                Would you consider accepting donations for hosting?

                                                                                1. 35

                                                                                  I appreciate the offers but prefer not to, no. Still looking for someone to print-on-demand stickers, though.

                                                                                  1. 12

                                                                                    I’ll buy $75 worth of stickers every month to show my appreciation.

                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                      Minor dissenting opinion:

                                                                                      I support a lot of people on Patreon and expect nothing in return. Chipping in $5/month to Lobste.rs because I like the community and the stuff that gets shared here isn’t a tall order, and won’t come with any entitlement. (A lot of the people I support are artists and content creators that are usually in high demand from the rest of the community.)

                                                                                      I can’t speak for the rest of the community, but I don’t think I’m particularly saintly in this regard. :P

                                                                                      If the expenses grow, please don’t rule this option out entirely.

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        It seems to me that the expectation comes from the design of sites which ask for monthly donations. Thinking out loud here, but a donations system which really was just a donations system, something more similar to ko-fi and didn’t have names attached, might help highlight the fact that by donating one is helping out rather than a new account tier?

                                                                                        I personally also donate on Patreon and expect nothing.

                                                                                      2. 4

                                                                                        Thank you! That is a great attitude.

                                                                                        I have one concern though. What happens when lobste.rs keeps growing and the bill increases? What is your maximum you would spend on the site? Wouldn‘t it be better to care about that rather earlier than later?

                                                                                        1. 22

                                                                                          By design, Lobsters grows pretty slowly. I’m thinking of design decisions like invites vs open signups, and a narrow focus rather than a subreddit for everything. Growth is not a goal like it would be in a startup, and I’d pause invites if we saw some kind of huge spike.

                                                                                          Right off we should have plenty of spare capacity. I aimed to overprovision this new server and we’ll see if I eyeballed that correctly as we reach peak traffic during the US work week. If the hosting bill goes to about 10x current I’ll start reconsidering donations. But that may never happen! Hosting costs slowly decline as power gets cheaper, data centers get built, and fiber gets laid. Lobsters is cheap to run because it’s a CRUD SQL app pushing around text a few kilobytes at a time and our size increases slowly. I hope not to jinx it, but it seems likely that our hosting bill is flat or declines over the next decade.

                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                          Not print-on-demand afaik, but Sticker Mule has been great to work with in the past for me.

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            Redbubble do print on demand for stickers, iirc.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              I’m definitely in the market for some stickers if you find a service or have any left over from the first batch!

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        Love It! I was just looking for something like this. Does anyone know of any other single file CSS frameworks that make simple sites look good with minimal work?

                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                          Yeah PicoCSS and SpectreCSS are also really nice. I personally really struggle with CSS myself and would love to see something minimal with just the right stuff to get started building “native”(ish) looking apps too. Not sure if possible? 🤔

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            Thanks for the links! I found https://terminalcss.xyz/ which I’ve started using for my tilde server. I love that I can use these simple CSS setups in combination with a Markdown parser and UNIX tools to make a simple templated site without a bunch of kitchen-sink frameworks and CLIs!

                                                                                          2. 2

                                                                                            Sakura is a minimal CSS theme that has been around for a while. It can be used as a drop-in.

                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                              Company: Gather

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                                                                                              Position(s): WebRTC/Video Engineer, Infra Engineer, Backend/Fullstack/Frontend Engineers

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                                                                                              Description: We are building a virtual universe which fundamentally improves how people interact online. Starting with social events, conferences, offices, universities, and other virtual gathering places.

                                                                                              Tech stack: NodeJS, React, Typescript, Kubernetes, MediaSoup, Firebase

                                                                                              Contact: jobs@gather.town

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                Absolutely love y’all’s product, one of my favorite pieces of software to use!

                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                  Thanks :)

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                I’ve experienced both of these methods of “sketching”, and I think they both have their place in our work. I recently had to write a fairly complex program in assembly for my processor design class. I worked an entire weekend in the “sketching with code” fashion and wound up with a buggy, failing program. My dad (who was a software engineer for many years) stepped in at this point and helped me take a beat and sketch out in English exactly what I needed to build. In just a couple of hours, I had a complete, working program that was more robust and elegant than my original solution. Designing without code helped me immensely in this and many other cases.

                                                                                                On the other hand, when I want to build a quick project, sketching with code instead of English helps me learn a lot, and quickly. I recently started building a small text editor and by sketching through code I learned a lot about terminal modes and how the tty subsystem works in UNIX systems. This method often comes out in my personal projects and has helped me grok complex systems with relative ease, and is just a fun and enjoyable way to learn about different systems. So it seems to me like sketching with something other than code is good for things that need to be robust and work in very specific ways, and sketching with code is good for exploration and learning new things quickly.