Saturday, July 3, 2010

My new approach to coding

I have a large function to write over the weekend. When it's finished and a co-worker gives the all-clear after his tests are complete, I'll unleash it on the documentation notebooks for the upcoming version of Mathematica and let it do its thing. My function will store blobs of information in each notebook, and my co-worker's function will use those blobs to build other parts of the notebooks.

This time around, though, I'm doing something a bit different that's working remarkably well so far. I started with an empty function template and simply wrote the function's story in sentences and paragraphs and bulleted lists, from start to finish, as if I were describing it in detail to a technically-minded co-worker. In a second pass I broke apart the prose into smaller sections and then just translated each idea into Mathematica code. I've left the prose in there as free-form commented areas to act as documentation for my future self, who will have forgotten all about this code in a couple of years.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stoddard on real and fraudulent art

From Andrew Cusack via Hilary White (no relation), Alexander Stoddart on art in an interview with The Scotsman:

Modern art is “rubbish”, narcissistic, snobby, devoid of skill, ignorant of taste, gripped by “nostalgia for the future”. But it goes deeper than that. It’s a difference of opinion about what art should do. Art, he says, has always been about “trying to alleviate the pain of existence”. Modern art “collaborates with misery as opposed to trying to oppose it”.

“A painting by Titian is like a Leningrad, holding out against the forces of the world. Even if they’re having to eat rats in there, they still will never surrender to it. Whereas the art of Tracey Emin is a complete capitulation to the world. Cutting a shark in half and putting it in a tank of piss is just art giving up. I find it very odd when they describe art as challenging, because I always thought art was meant to calm you like a lullaby, not challenge you like some skinhead in an underpass.”