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The Shopping Bag as Issues List (A Fable)

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Recently, e_i_pi discussed working for an organization that maintained issues list as a set of Sharepoint lists.

I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but it's all too common. An organization starts out thinking, well, we don't really need all that stuff, we can get away with writing them down on this old shopping bag, and...
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Kaizen Diary: Introduction

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I work on a small team - three people - mostly focused on maintaining and improving the user portal for a large non-profit startup accelerator. It's an interesting codebase, with some interesting problems issues...
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Kaizen Diary: Tickets For All Work

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Kaizen: Tickets For All Work (Sprint 6)
(an entry in the Kaizen Diary)

This was the first kaizen for our team that I have a record for. Right away, you can see that this is a team with some issues: the most important improvement we could come up with was that we follow one of the most standard pieces of developmental rigor, and require...
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Some Notes On R: A Dialog

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When beginning R, the user should expect a number of gasps of disbelief, face-palm moments will not be uncommon, and occasionally the responsible programmer will be tempted to take the language out back and shoot it in the head.

I'll get much of this reaction out of the way for you in one line:

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Java: "Why isn't my input inputting?"

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One of the most common beginner traps in Java is the behavior of the "convenience" methods of the Scanner class. The usual scenario is this: the assignment is to write code accepting inputs of various types and process those inputs in some fashion. For example the assignment might be to prompt the user for a String, a substring, an...
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Switch Statements in Java

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It has come to my attention, both here on DIC and in the real world, that many programmers do not actually know that there is a difference between a switch statement and a string of if-else clauses. This seems worthy of correction. You may have been told at some point in your path to becoming a developer that a switch statement is "just like...
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The Easy Way

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Just to clarify: "the easy way", in the real world, is the way that you can get done, and up and running, immediately. "The easy way" is not the way that would be easier if you just figured out how to do it - don't go down that rabbit hole!
If you have to choose between the clever way and the way you know, do it the...
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Everything is done wrong

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Everything in software is done wrong. This is because, by the time you know how to do it right, you've already done it. The only exception is when you do the same thing over and over - and that's a DRY violation, and so wrong by definition.
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How to think about finding primes

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Finding primes is a common exercise in programming, and for good reason: it's a good exercise that combines mathematical thinking with programmatic thinking. The exercise comes in various forms, most commonly "find the nth prime" or "find the first n primes". Also common is "find all primes less than n". It turns...
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++ considered hazardous

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The postincrement (++) and postdecrement (--) operators (hereafter called "postinc" and "postdec") are a perennial source of befucklement for new and intermediate Java programmers. In particular, people get snagged on complex exp...

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