“What program did you use?” an essentially useless question.

The question, “What program did you use to make this?” is inevitably asked a hundred times in the comment section of every cool video and project on the internet. It seems innocent, but at its core it speaks of a great misconception in those looking to produce something similar. The misconception being that the software has anything at all to do with the result. That somehow the software is the object responsible for the great work.
Now, don’t get me wrong, good software helps. Good tools help. The distinction to make is that good tools help those who have the skills to use them.

Acquiring skills is a long and painful process. There’s been many times when I’ve seen a master at something produce work a thousand times better than I have using tools I considered inferior and beneath me. I always try keep in my mind that we flew to the moon using nothing more than slide rules, drafting tools, and paper. That’s it. The lunar rover was some crappy aluminum tubing welded together in an “H”. Now we would use our rapid prototyping facilities to do the same thing, but I doubt we’d have a much better product.

Tools are there simply to express your skill. If you don’t have skill, no amount of fancy tools will help you. The only way to acquire skill is through countless hours of daily work.

Whether you’re coding or playing sports this stays constant.

Don’t ask what tool was used. If you have to ask you’re already doing it wrong. Research, practice, learn, and suffer.

Thanks for ruining my programming font DejaVu

I run Windows 7 on my desktop with great success because I cheat and run ubuntu 9.10 in a virtual machine for all my programming needs. Yesterday, much to my dismay I realized that my font looked strange. Quickly, I navigated to my font menu and went to select my favorite “bitstream vera sans mono”.

“Ah, it’s not here, it must just not be installed. I’ll just fire up Synaptic and… Oh god, where is it”

I panicked. A fast ctrl-t and a google search later I find my answer, “In Ubuntu 9.10 we decided to replace ttf-bitstream-vera with DejaVu. Forget you, it’s better.”

“Ah, well”, i thought to myself, “It says here that this DejaVu font is exactly the same as Vera but with more characters, that’s cool.”

This, however, is a horrible lie. Why?

whereismygap

WHERE IS MY GAP!?!

To me, what makes a programming font is that you can see every character. There are some languages that depend on the programmer being able to count those little “_” marks .

It may be a small thing for most people, but it bothers me intensely. Especially since it’s a blatant lie. This isn’t bitstream-vera this is something else. Things have been changed, that makes it different. End of story.

It’s like someone forcing you to drink pepsi because they cant tell the difference between it and coke.

How to make soldering fine pitch surface mount ridiculously easy.

start

This simple tool will change your life. I was lucky to learn how to solder surface mount from a master. He had crafted a tool very similar to this for himself and used it daily.  The design is simple, a weighted pin is attached to a piece of round stock and this holds the part down on the board. Using this tool I soldered an entire surface mount board with no errors on my first try.

When you assemble the tool make sure that you push the bolt through and thread the nut first, because you might bend the threads while filing the tip down. Make sure that the tip has a round point about the size of a standard ball point pen. Any sharper and you could damage/mar parts.final

To use the tool just put the part under the pin and go. It’s that simple, no re flow plates or panavises or any of that junk. You don’t need to worry about tip size for most jobs either. Another plus is that the bolt acts as a heat sink so small parts don’t fry.

howtouse

You see that tiiiiiny little part. You’re welcome.

finish

The most annoying IRC personalities 2

There are many annoying people in this world and it would come to reason that a good deal of them come to troll on IRC. After the semi-success of the previous one and a few suggestions from other IRC users….

Here are a few more:

The Expert In the Mist: This guy knows almost everything about the discussion topic. He can program in 30 different languages and can build just about any electronic device from scratch. He has the answer to ALL of your questions. The only problem is he only stops idling for about 10 minutes, 12:00 at night on the first full moon of the year if the ambient temperature in France is equal to the the average temperature of the arctic icecaps multiplied by negative pi.

Mr. Quits: This guy quits randomly, often in the middle of a conversation, with no warning at all. Mr. Quits will be 3 lines away from fully explaining how to fix that obscure problem with your system when he suddenly quits. Mr. Quits never means to leave you hanging but he does it with such frequency that one can only assume he has a subconscious need to frustrate and shatter hopes.

The Drunkard: This si thast guy who stll massags oi got oblime nd talk abt…. stuff… even after he’s brought himself 2 drinks away from alcohol poisoning. He normally starts off by listing in detail exactly what beverages were consumed in order for him to bless you with his current state. Then he slowly becomes less and less coherent until he gives a semi-coherent away message and passes out.

The Unknown Idler: This guy has been idling since the channel was started. Upon checking the logs you find that he said “hi” about two years back. May be dead.

The Playlist:
I’ve often wanted to know exactly what song the other channel members are listening to. Thankfully, The Playlist is there to help me out. Shamelessly informing everyone in approximately 3 minute intervals the poorly formatted title, artist and play time information of their blatantly pirated mp3s. To make matters worse, The Playlist normally has horrendously bad taste in music.

The Morally Terrifying:

This guy has no discernible morals. The morally terrifying is the only one who thinks a discussion about gun-point rape and the like is a fun channel topic. Freud would have a heyday with this man. We can just hope his mother knows better than to hug him for too long at a time.

Lucifer the Op: Just try to wander off topic or be slightly abrasive and Lucifer will kick/ban for the next 3 months. Lucifer tends to select a few close friends who make sure that he doesn’t miss an opportunity to ban someone.

The Uninformed:

This guy will join in on the discussion and talk about the topic. Can get very repetitive and infuriating. Whether it be about religion or cars he will contribute something… normally obvious or blatantly wrong. Will make sure you completely understand that smaller tires give you better gas mileage.

The Internet Aggregator: This guy never says anything of his own (other than the occasional lol or yea) but constantly sends links of funny/interesting finds on the internet. A internet aggregator is most terrifying when paired with digg and bash.

The Bot: The Bot is a hideous twisted peice of code that sits in the channel and spams useless information. Normally some withered malicious soul controls the silly thing, making sure that it has all the features nobody wants, such as the google compare feature or the all popular insult generator. The Bot’s owner will normally start using his bot during the most interesting discussion of the day, there by ending it. The Bot is often modeled after other annoying IRC personalities, so that the channel will always have an Internet Aggregator and Lucifer the Op.

View the original post here.

A list of some of the most annoying IRC personalites

Anyone who IRCs regularly know of a few distinct personalities that irritate to the core. It’s almost as if there is a nest somewhere making sure that the supply of lost AOLers, obnoxious 13 year olds and elitist know nothings don’t run out. No matter how many you try to kick/ban off the planet.

This is by no means a complete list, but just a few that stuck out in my mind at the time of writing.

The Elitist Know Nothing: This guy talks about everything with complete authority and refuses to budge on any topic as if he were the one who invented it. In all actuality, The Elitist Know Nothing, picked up most everything he knows from biased trade journals written by other Elitist Know Nothings. He has never really ever applied any of his knowledge to see if it’s actually true or not. He just assumes that it is, and makes sure that you know your 20 years of programming experience mean nothing in the face of his all knowing intellect.

The Lost AOLer: This guy somehow managed to find IRC. He doesn’t know exactly where he is. He is constantly confused as to why the ##linux (must be some kind of kinky sex act) members don’t want to cyber with him.

THE 10-15 YEAR OLD: THESE GUYS ARE A MIX BETWEEN THE LOST AOLER AND THE ELITIST KNOW NOTHING. THEY HAVE FIGURED OUT THAT THEIR COMPUTER IS PRETTY SPIFFY AND THAT QBASIC CAN MAKE IT DO SOME KEWL STUFF. THEY THINK CAPS LOOK KEWLER THAN LOWERCASE AND YOU CAN ONLY HOPE AND PRAY THAT SOMEONE DOESN’T TEACH THEM L337. THE BRIGHT SIDE IS THAT THE 10-15 YEAR OLD WILL MAGICALLY LOG ON ONE DAY A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON.

The Scary Asian/Arab: This kid barges in the channel and asks questions in mildly coherent English that most likely threaten every bit of security you have. For example: say you run a shell server, the Scary Asian will come asking for an account.. for stuff and ssh. When you ask what kind of stuff he will give some vague answer. You figure he’s harmless because he kinda sounds like the 10-15 year old. Two weeks later all your bandwidth disappears and you find most of it going through a ssh tunnel he set up. The FBI knocks on your door to inquire about some files going through your server.

The I Can’t Read The Topic Guy: This guy will wander into the channel and paste 30 lines of code right off. Of course the code is C and the channel is #perl, but that doesn’t stop him. He then goes on to ask a question about the code while four other channel members try to explain various things to him such as “this is #perl” or “there’s a pastebin for a reason.” The I Can’t read The Topic Guy will then make some sort of apology and go spam all 30 lines of code in #C.

The Enter Key Abuser:
This Guy
Does not understand
that
pressing enter after every
1-5 words
is irritating
and that people would listen
to him more
if he stopped that

Mr. Offtopic: This guy never talks about anything on topic. He’ll tell you about the state of his room, the color of his socks, or about how awesome the hot pockets him mom brought him are. Never mind the fact that this is the #cryptography channel and you are trying to explain something to someone. Mr. Offtopic does not actually need any interaction from other users. He will continue rambling on regardless.

The Evil Wizard: This is the guy that’s been programming for 30 years and has achieved wizardry. His sole purpose in life is to hang out in the help channels and inform anyone who asks a question how dumb they are. He refuses to part with any useful knowledge and instead tells people to google it or links to the most cryptic documentation he knows of. Delights in making newbies give up on whatever they were trying to do.

The 50/50 Guy: This guy actually knows his stuff.. Half of the time. The other half he cycles between all the annoying IRC personalties. He’ll be talking coherently about a C program he wrote one minute and then suddenly go into a string of expletives and tell you about his toenails.

View the original here.