A Coder’s Take on a Rudyard Kipling Poem


If you can write good code when those about you,
Are breaking builds and blaming it on you;
If you can trust your tests when others doubt you,
And write more tests to cover their code too;
If you can patch and not be bored by patching,
And never prematurely optimise;
Or understand Haskell’s pattern-matching,
And not expect a coding Nobel Prize:

If you can branch – and not commit to master;
Or write terse code – and not make golf your aim;
If your app can recover from disaster
And restart so the state is just the same;
If you can bear to see your OAuth token,
Rejected by an API of fools,
Or find a legacy application, broken,
And fix it up with twenty-year-old tools:

If you can make one heap of all your objects,
And risk them on one garbage-collector pass,
And leak memory because of runtime…

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The War Of The Formats


As I recall in this oral history, it was only twenty years ago, well, more like thirty now, that digital didn’t exist in the world of music. Cheap record stores were filled with milk crates holding the latest albums and just behind them were some more that you had never heard of but you did in that maybe a friend said it was good, so you bought that too. The shrink wrapped albums were slippery to tuck under the armpit on the way home and if more than one record was bought you could kiss the use of your hands goodbye.

And when returning home, there was the sound of the record sliding out of the sleeve that caught the grooves of the record when it was pulled out askew. Carefully, but sometimes not so carefully, it was threaded onto the velvet bed and the refreshing snap and hissing noise…

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10 of the Greatest Essays on Writing Ever Written


If there’s one topic that writers can be counted on to tackle at least once in their working lives, it’s writing itself. A good thing too, especially for all those aspiring writers out there looking for a little bit of guidance. For some winter inspiration and honing of your craft, here you’ll find ten great essays on writing, from the classic to the contemporary, from the specific to the all-encompassing. Note: there are many, many, many great essays on writing. Bias has been extended here to personal favorites and those available to read online. Also of note but not included: full books on the subject like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Ron Carlson’s Ron Carlson Writes a Story, or, in a somewhat different sense, David Shields’ Reality Hunger, for those looking for a longer commitment. Read on, and add your own…

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Suicide no. 19: Would You?

I have to say I have tried, and was hospitalized for it. But I’m glad I didn’t suceed. I’ve always been depressed since I can remember, four I think, and I’ve struggled and still do. But I thank God I didn’t, I wouldn’t have seen my children grow up or been able to hold my grandchildren. And I know how it hurts and you think no one cares, but just wait a while longer hold on and the feeling will pass,and if it doesn’t then you need to find a Doctor that can help, there is help. It can get better, if you just think , and call someone …



Suicide no. 19: Would You?

–by Derek Alan Wilkinson

I don’t remember when it started. Before he jumped, some twenty years ago, my Grandpa used to say something like “This has been going on for too long now! Fifty years!”

I don’t know how it began, either. People just had some old-timey catchphrase, and someone put it to the test. I do know that it started in Death Valley; people threw themselves into its depths by the thousands. Cults started to form. The next thing you know, there were corpses littering the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, and as far away as Nepal. Then, every skyscraper in every major city had to be blocked off and barricaded to protect the people who roamed the streets below from falling bodies.

Pretty soon, and before you knew it, everyone was “jumping.”

Some did it because everyone close to them started in with…

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If Writing Is Not Your Day Job, Are You Still a Writer?

I’m a writer and it’s not my day job. When the need and desire to write keeps you up at night and you think about it all day…then you are pregnant and you haven’t given birth yet to that story. But it’s there.

Waiting Outside of Parnassus

At what point is one allowed to call oneself a writer is a question that I’ve spent far too much time contemplating. When I was younger, I would shy away from calling myself a writer because my writing wasn’t serious, wasn’t good, wasn’t published, wasn’t published in a paying magazine, and myriad of other reasons. I now say that the only thing that makes a person a writer is that they write (something I’ve heard a lot of other people say for a long time before I accepted its obvious truth). As long as I spend a good portion of my time getting words on the page, I am a writer. Maybe not a good one, a successful one or any other qualifier, but I am inarguably a writer, though there is always a little (or huge) part of me that doesn’t think I can call myself one. Part of the…

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“It’s Alive!” – The Art of Creating Characters

Odyssey of a Novice Writer

I can think of few things more exciting or empowering than creating your own virtual universe out of the “furniture” inside your head. Writing stories, breathing life into your characters, well… it’s rather like giving birth to a new creation.


Whenever I create a character, an image from one of the old Frankenstein movies comes to mind: the mad scientist looking at the beast he’s created and screaming maniacally, “It’s alive! It’s alive!”

That’s how I feel when I’ve done my best by a character – I’ve given him life.

Have you ever considered how many fictional characters continue to live on in the minds of readers, influencing “real” life? I think a good character can be considered a living thing, a dynamic force that can change the way we think, the way we interact with one another, perhaps even the way we dream.

For example, I wonder how many…

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