Category Archives: Links

Links to interesting articles I found surfing the web.

The Perils of JavaSchools

I’m starting to sound like a grumpy old man. (Those that know me should stop nodding their heads and agreeing now, please.) This is another “things were better in my day” post.

As I previously mentioned, both graduates and companies are complaining that university courses are not vocational enough. I personally dispute that. However I am generally in agreement with Joel Spolsky when he says that “Java is not, generally, a hard enough programming language that it can be used to discriminate between great programmers and mediocre programmers.”

Joel on Software: The Perils of JavaSchools

This all comes back to knowing “principles” rather than just implementation details. Java is a fine language for doing “real” things in, but since you don’t need to know much about pointers, recursion and some fairly standard algorithms, people tend not to learn the fundamentals. This is a great shame.

IT grads damn university courses

We normally see employers complaining that recent graduates don’t have “relevant” skills. This article is an interesting twist on that, with the job-seekers themselves complaining about their courses.

The Register: IT grads damn university courses

I think both employers and job seekers are missing the point. There’s a difference between “education” and “training.” University degrees should not simply be vocational training, they should teach principles that can be applied throughout a career and not just specific technologies that might well have a shelf-life of only a few years.

Quality in Typefaces & Fonts

This links in with my earlier post about good technology being invisible. Fonts and typefaces have a far bigger impact on the readability of text than most people think yet you almost never notice their design unless it’s bad enough to make it difficult to comprehend.

This blog, “Quality in Typefaces & Fonts,” by Thomas Phinney, an Adobe employee, doesn’t discuss the design of typefaces — which is an interesting area in itself — but does give some insight into how much effort goes into making a good electronic font.

Weirdest Movies Reviews in the World — Ever

This is incredible. And I don’t use the word lightly.

The site in question is the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Reports. Here you can find hundreds of “reviews” of movies and ratings of how well they conform to one interpretation of good Christian values. They claim that it’s objective but there are a number of opinions about the faith that would not be shared by all.

I think pretty much all of my favourite films do very badly on their scale. I have not checked through all of them yet but two of the best ones so far are for The Incredibles and The Passion of the Christ. They both score roughly the same, yet the former, a typical Pixar movie with all those hallmarks that Disney films used to have, has “…behavioral, moral and value implantation dangers” while the latter, despite depicting a man being nailed to a cross, “…is [only] a movie.”