ESMITHY.NET

Review of "The Body: A Guide for Occupants"

Book Cover

Douglas Crockford, in JavaScript: The Good Parts said, “Computer programs are the most complex things that humans make.” As someone who builds software, that idea can make you feel pretty good about your intellectual place in the world, because even though I don't know how lots of software works, I …

When to Give Up

When we programmers find an aspect of software that fails intermittently, we sometimes follow the impulse to add retries with a Churchillian insistence that we will "Never give in — never, never, never, never"! But sometimes the right thing is to give up.

One might ask, why retry at all? Didn't …

My Best Side Project

After a few years working on it, I can say that the "magic mirror" I built with my son has been the best for-fun side project I've ever done. When I was describing the idea, my wife was hesitant about letting me hang it on the wall -- mostly due to …

My Favorite Podcasts 2019

After working at home for a couple of years, it was hard to get back in the car every morning to commute after changing jobs. I'm lucky that it isn't that far, but it still felt like a monumental waste of time to be stuck in traffic. Podcasts have redeemed …

Notable for Note Taking

I recently started using Notable for my software development notes. It is an Electron app that lets you write your notes as Markdown. It is a little light on features currently, but that can be a good thing.

OneNote

OneNote Screenshot

I've used Microsoft OneNote for a long time. There are a …

Tips for Your First Month at a New Job

Congratulations on getting your new job as a software engineer! Your employer and team are happy to have you join them. Here are some tips for the first few weeks to help them feel like they made the right choice in hiring you.

Work hours

Learn what the work time …

Randomness in Tests

Wouldn't it be cool if a few uses of the random module in your unit tests could discover bugs in your code? Meh.

The problem is that random tests are non-deterministic, meaning they lack the highly desirable property that if they pass in my local development environment, they'll also pass …

The Impossible World

Sometime when I was a teenager, my step-dad gave me a box full of sci-fi and war novels. I'm not sure where he got them -- maybe in bulk at a garage sale or something. Years later, many of them are still sitting on a shelf, mostly unread. I thought I'd …

Origin of the Name of the City of Lehi

Introduction

Most people believe that the city of Lehi, Utah was named after Lehi, the first prophet and patriarch of the Book of Mormon who fled Jerusalem with his family prior to the city falling under siege to the Babylonians around the beginning of the 6th century BC. Both the …

UI Baffler: Outlook Reminders

Why is it that in the Outlook reminders dialog, the "Dismiss All" button is disabled if there are no reminder items selected?

Dismiss All disabled

Well clearly it is because that button is supposed to dismiss all of the selected reminders, right?

No, because if there is any selected reminder, clicking "Dismiss All …