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October 20, 2005

You know you're a geek when...

Perl Best Practices

You know you're a geek when, well, first of all, you're reading a book called Perl Best Practices. However, you know you're more of a geek when you get excited that the author advocates a coding style that matches yours (i.e., spaces instead of tabs, 4-space indents, and starting brackets on the the same line as the construct that controls the block). Even worse, though, is when you can't wait to get to work tomorrow to try out a few new vi configuration options described by the author to help your lines break more sanely.

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October 08, 2005

O reader! do not blame me...

Leonardo's Notebook

Throughout school and my working career, I've had a problem taking notes. One of my biggest issues is what seems to be a subconscious need to have everything in its own place, nicely organized. If something doesn't fit neatly in with what's already on the page, I tend not to write it down, sometimes losing the thought forever. I found a bit of inspiration this morning to write more things down, organization be damned!

While browsing Slashdot, I found a link to the British Library's Turning the Pages collection of 14 old and important books and manuscripts, one of which is one of Leonardo Da Vinci's personal notebooks. Leonardo's notes bounce around from subject to subject several times on each page, going from theories on the mechanics of solid bodies to diagrams of light reflecting off of concave mirrors to lists of household goods to an I.O.U. written by his pupil.

I also found a link to some translations of Leonardo's notebooks on the Project Gutenberg site. It was amusing and a bit heartening to see Leonardo recognized his disorganization and the sheer breadth of his work:

And this is to be a collection without order, taken from many papers which I have copied here, hoping to arrange them later each in its place, according to the subjects of which they may treat. But I believe that before I am at the end of this [task] I shall have to repeat the same things several times; for which, O reader! do not blame me, for the subjects are many and memory cannot retain them [all] and say: 'I will not write this because I wrote it before.' And if I wished to avoid falling into this fault, it would be necessary in every case when I wanted to copy [a passage] that, not to repeat myself, I should read over all that had gone before; and all the more since the intervals are long between one time of writing and the next.

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