Archive for November 2020

Fan mail

Received this today from a heretofore unknown correspondent (I don’t often check Facebook Messenger but just happened to). Name removed (I am not sure he would want me to identify him), text translated from another language into English.

Hello, thanks for your book “Object-Oriented Software Construction” [read in a translation]. I read it after a horrible failure of a project on which I was a consultant. Another consultant was my technical leader. He was truly insufferable but I appreciated him for one reason: his code! I had never seen such “beautiful” program code; he was using principles of genericity, dynamic binding and others, which were totally unknown to me after the lousy programming education I had received. He had insulted me, telling me that I was no developer at all; I was deeply offended since I could feel that he was right. In spite of his unbearable personality I wanted to learn at his side, but he was far too selfish, seeing me just as a competitor, even if a pathetic one. He had a book on the side of his desk… and it’s that book that enabled me to understand where he had learned all those OO design methods. That book, obviously, was yours, and I acquired a copy for myself. I sincerely think that it should be used as textbook in educational institutions. And I really wanted to thank you for writing it. I hope to become a real developer thanks to you. So, thank you.

Note 1: Thanks to you.

Note 2: There is also the intro programming text, Touch of Class (Amazon page).

Note 3 (to my fan club): You are welcome to take advantage of the ideas and there is actually no compelling requirement to be, in addition, “insufferable”.

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Why we love computers and software

A 1949 book I just bought* has the following printer’s label, hand-glued on the title page:


Because of a change in pagination, you will need to add the digit 9 [actually, the number, not the digit] to references to page numbers between 1 and 114, and the digit 8 to those between 116 and the end of the volume.

Examples: The reference that says “see page 92” should be read as “see page 101”
The reference that says “ see page 150” should be read as “see page 158”

*Précis d’histoire de la langue et du vocabulaire français (handbook of the history of French language and vocabulary) by Albert Dauzat, Larousse, Paris, 1949.

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