Archive for March, 2012


We’re doing something right!!

I was really please to read this post about the teaching we provide at Hull.

It’s great to see that we’re getting some things right here, but what I hope we give to students (among other things) are the skills they need to learn on their own, because in this industry they’re going to need them. Where ever you are taught computer science you have to accept the fact that in a few years what you were taught at university will rapidly be becoming outdated.

Aspirations of a cat herder

Aspirations of a cat herder

Teaching computer science is a little bit like trying to herd cats. We’re constantly learning new technologies, and whatever we teach you now will likely be outdated in five or ten years time. That’s why what I hope we manage to get across are the underlying principles, and I hope we manage to inspire students to get out there and start exploring things, and give students the skills to start learning on their own.

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Why settle for Notepad…

.. when you can have notepad++!

Notepad++ is basically a text editor (like notepad) with a ton of extra really useful features.

My Favourite Notepad++ Features

My Favourite Notepad++ Features

Here’s a list of my five favourite notepad++ features:

  1. Tabs – I can work on multiple documents at the same time. I can save them all at the same time, and if I close the program it will remember what files I was working on and have them ready for me when I open it again.
  2. Syntax Highlighting – if you give the file the right extension you get nice syntax and keyword highlighting making it easier to structure code and spot errors.
  3. You can launch your code with an .exe – for example, under this menu I get options to launch the webpage I’m working on in internet explorer, firefox or chrome – whatever notepad++ knows is installed on your machine.
  4. Plug ins – there is an active community of programmers writing code to plug in to notepad++ delivering the useful features they want to see – for example, I have an SVN plugin that is built on top of Tortoise SVN so I can manage version control of my files.
  5. Best of all, it’s free!

Notepad++ isn’t the only alternative though. There are lots of others! What text editors do you use? Why do you use them? If you do use notepad++ too what are your favourite features?

The 49ers have now signed ex-giants running back Brandon Jacobs to a one year deal. Brandon Jacobs used to be an absolute beast. He’s 6’4″ and 260lbs+ and back in the day regularly run over defenders as a matter of course. If you didn’t stop him before he got started you just made your life a whole lot more difficult! These days though, he isn’t the runner that he used to be. Getting closer to 30 and a year older than 49ers starting running back Frank Gore, I don’t see Brandon Jacobs doing much more than forcing out 3rd string running back Anthony Dixon. The #2 back Kendall Hunter showed flashes of future greatness spelling for Gore last year and has the benefit of youth on his side.

However I do see how Jacobs could be of great benefit in creating mismatches and space for Gore if the two were on the field at the same time. Imagine the defence when Davis, Gore and Jacobs are on the field, but Davis is one of the 49ers best receivers and Gore has stung defences many times catching passes out of the backfield. Add Jacobs into the mix and the defence simply has to step up to respect the threat of a run up the middle or off tackle, and play action passes (where the offence fake a running play before passing) could simply be epic.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if this experiment ends before the season begins. The 49ers have only committed to a one year deal at backup money so cutting Jacobs at any point wouldn’t hurt the teams future prospects. That’s why I like this move. It seems to me all the 49ers have done is created more options at a relatively low risk.