: New: Book Report: Life in Code

It's a collection of essays by Ellen Ullman, a writer about technology who has actually worked as a programmer and thought about it and isn't a blowhard. I'd seen some of these before, but some appeared as articles in things I don't read. E.g., she's written articles for the New York Times. So when I said the NYT's tech reporting is bad—and was bad enough to make me pretty skeptical of their reporting that wasn't in their "wheelhouse"—what I meant is their tech reporting is bad except for the few times Ellen Ullman has written for them which I never saw because I had long since given up on them.

These articles go back a ways. She writes about the aggravation of being a computer programmer during the Y2K hype cycle. But her more modern articles also ring true, as she shares her aggravation of modern day startup-culture snake oil hype and… Uhm, she doesn't just write about aggravation. There's articles about the joy of coding. She peeked in at some MOOCs and noticed some things that worked (a forum where students could help each other) and things that don't (assuming that this wide, diverse audience you're trying to reach loves Monty Python as much as you do). Interesting things, some of which might be interesting even if you aren't a big computer nerd.

Tags: book programming

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