Date manipulation and Java 'interface' equivalents

Joshua Muskovitz josh at
Mon Nov 13 10:07:12 CET 2000

> Or realising that there's a duh-switch at all. So much of learning how
> to programme well is flipping duh-switches. Isn't there something to
> be done about that, do you reckon? I think I can say without
> overstating it that it's not entirely unimportant.

I don't think so -- learning to be a good, solid, sane coder seems to me to
be a very experiential process.  Having someone tell you up front to "watch
out for duh-switch X" doesn't seem to work well.  You have to screw it up a
few times before it sinks in.  But one thing I've learned over the years is
to recognize much more quickly that there is a duh-switch that needs
flipping.  I don't bang my head for days any more -- now if I can't figure
something out in an hour or two, I know to either *ask* a coworker for a
second opinion, or to just start over.  But it was a hard lesson to learn.
(I once spent 5 hours trying to find a bug in a block of code that was
completely commented out.  I couldn't figure out why my printf's weren't
printing, but I was so frustrated that I decided to leave that problem for
later.  Duh.  I discovered syntax coloring editors the following week.)

In the past when I've interviewed programming candidates, I choose to ask if
they have any anecdotes like this.  Interestingly, novices tend to deny that
it happens to them, but veterans will freely admit to them, because they
realize that it happens to everyone.

-- josh

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