Psychoanalyzing a programmer

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Last week, I came across a few articles written over at Lispy.Wordpress.com. The first article was titled “Do you know any programmers that exibit these personality traits…?”

I’ve been observing an unusual programmer friend of mine for some time now. He has such a strange combination of potential and incompetence that its hard to tell if he is just lazy or if he has a “light” form of autism or some other disorder.

He goes on to list several dozen traits for his “friend”. A couple days later, he follows up that article with one called “How to Get the Most Out of Your Eccentric Programming/Genius.” Here he makes a few more observations:

They will pick up a rare set of skills on their own just for the fun of it– skills that aren’t or can’t be taught in schools. They aren’t attracted to the field of computing because of the money (though that doesn’t hurt) but are terrified of getting stuck in a job where there’s nothing left to learn. People in other careers speak of a “seven year itch” phenomenon, but these guys have a “two year itch.” These guys will change jobs not so much to get a raise… but to keep from getting bored.

The next day he followed up that post with one titled “Hey… You forgot to tell us how to get the most out of this guy!”

To get the most out of your nutty self-obsessed right-brained wanna-be mega-geek: let him solve problems his own way. Let him develop tools/abstractions that help him hide the sort of details and menial tasks that sap his strength. Force him to get up and go exercise or relax. Don’t hold a nebulous unfinishable to-do list over his head to guilt trip him– he will come down off of his creative high and beat himself up for being irresponsible and may even shut down emotionally.

Overall, the three articles are pretty lengthy with tons of comments. I don’t think that the general information presented here could apply to any particular person, since he is talking about a single person and at some parts he generalizes and assumes quite a bit. It’s still an interesting read for anyone.

Free eBook on Data Structures and Algorithms

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The Data Structures & Algorithms book was written by by Granville Barnett and Luca Del Tongo and posted over at DotNetSlackers.com.

The first draft preview is available in Adobe PDF format and is 97 pages long. You can download the book here. The book uses pseudo code, and a C# version of the code can be accessed via the DSA CodePlex site.

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Clean up your source code

One of the minor annoyances that I encounter is having multiple “using” statements at the top of my class files that aren’t in use. Prior to Visual Studio 2008, there wasn’t a real easy way of figuring out which ones are in use and which ones aren’t in use without deleting one and then compiling, then undeleting it if it doesn’t compile, etc.

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Using Microsoft Log Parser 2.2

Recently, I was asked to put together some statistics to count the page views for a certain set of pages within a corporate web site. Unfortunately, we aren’t using anything nice like WebTrends for web stats.

However, I did remember an old Microsoft log query tool that I thought might do the trick without needing to install anything on the web servers. So, I headed off and downloaded Microsoft Log Parser 2.2.

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