I’ve been meaning to pull out my old artwork from when I went to The Art Institute of Dallas and I actually had a reason to do so today. While my son and I were looking for a lost toy, we came across my old art supplies and portfolio. Since he asked what it was and if he could look at my drawings, I figured I’d go ahead and take a few pictures to share.
I wonder if I can still draw… it’s been a really long time since I’ve tried.
I recently put a question on Twitter asking about the difference between an experienced/advanced developer’s “fluff” and and a beginner’s learning tool. The replies I got a indicated that there are at least a couple of different perspectives out there depending on which angle you take as well as where you fall in the beginner-to-advanced experience levels. While there weren’t hundreds of people replying to that tweet, there were enough that I wanted to do a quick post to put them together and extend the question to my blog readers.
My initial tweet:
Would you agree that what some call “fluff” in tech reading/writing, others might call previously unknown info (a.k.a. “learning”)?
A more detailed version of that question with more than 140 characters allowed:
Within many tech books, you’ll find explanations of topics that advanced developers have known for years but beginners have never even known existed. While the simplest answer is to look at the target audience of the book (beginner, intermediate, advanced), the question still presents itself within smaller breakdowns of those experience levels. To take the middle ground, let’s say the book in question is targeted at the intermediate level and that one person from each of the three levels is reading it. Does the beginner dev view the explanation of certain topics as useful information while the advanced dev views it as nothing more than regurgitated information from places like Adobe livedocs? Based on the responses I received, I think the answer may not be a straight up yes or no. So here’s a general breakdown of the different views I’ve seen. They all make complete sense to me if I step back and view them with different thoughts. I’d love to hear more so feel free to add your point of view to the comments.
There were a few people replying that felt this kind of information was undeniably considered fluff. They want to get to the meat of the information on which the book was written. If they came across anything they didn’t understand or already know, they would rather turn to livedocs, APIs, etc.
A “necessary evil”
Another thought was that it may be fluff, but someone is learning from it. While reader A may come across information of which he is fully aware, (s)he tends to skip past it without thinking too much of it and knows that reader B may learn a quick lesson while reading the book. (I think I favor this one)
One stop learning
Some people look at it as a sort of “one stop shop” where they could get everything they need without putting the book down. If a developer is reading a book which is covering topics that developer has never worked with, they can learn it all right there. This line of thought may seem a bit lazy on the surface, but may also be efficient for the lesson at hand. If a beginner developer is reading about classes but has no idea when to use private vs protected, they don’t have to stop reading the book to go look it up online. Instead, they get the explanation right there in the book and they continue on with their learning.
So that’s it. There’s the question and those are the general thoughts people presented as answers. Now it’s your turn. How do you view that type of information in a tech book?
Unlike my last post, it seems that I should start this one with a few disclaimers, so here they are real quick:
- I’m only trying to share my views
- I’m not trying to battle with Ted Patrick
- I do not think that ALL evangelists are elitists (I have an enormous amount of respect for most evangelists)
- I do not think that ALL industry leaders are elitists (I have an enormous amount of respect for most industry leaders)
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the post…
After checking out some links about tilt shift photographic effects in a tweet from Mike Chambers (@mesh) I thought I'd give it a quick try based on this tutorial. While I've seen tilt shift photography plenty of times before, I never really realized what it was or how it worked. At any rate, here are my quick tries at this awesome effect.
Note: I am definitely NOT a profesional photographer.
Another Note: Numbers 2, 3 and 4 were taken with my iPhone.
Another-nother Note: Roll over the images to see the before/after
Ok, that's all I got. See ya later.
A funny thing that I find about this line of work is when I learn about things that have been there all along but went unnoticed. Whether it's an entire section of a framework that you just never had an opportunity to utilize or a single line of code that does a little bit more than you thought. The latter is the subject of this quick post (which I started to write back in March but forgot to finish). The line of code in question here is very simple and it even has a name: "Mark of the Web".
So what is the Mark of the Web? Well, as Microsoft puts it:
The MOTW is a comment added to the HTML markup for a Web page. When a user opens the Web page from their local machine, Internet Explorer references this comment to determine the security zone in which it should run the page.
Here is the line as I most easily recognize it (although it can be modified in several different ways):
<!-- saved from url=(0014)about:internet -->
So why am I writing about it? Because I removed it from the HTML of a project I was working on. After I removed it, I started getting security errors when I tested my project locally in IE. It took me a while to find out what was going on and I hope that maybe this post will help others find it more quickly. So anyway, there it is. The Mark of the Web. I hope this post saves someone a little time tracking down their local security errors in IE.