Verity Stob

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Verity Stob is the pseudonym of a software developer based in London. Since 1988, she has written her "Verity Stob" column for .EXE magazine, Dr. Dobb's Journal and, now, The Register.
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Molesworth and the New Latin

Stob 'In his speech [...] the Education Secretary Michael Gove appeared to accept in its entirety the argument that ICT had become little more than training in office skills and something far more rigorous was required [...] While Alex Hope's slogan "coding is the new Latin" did not appeal to some, it must have appealed to the …
Verity Stob, 27 Feb 2012
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The Sons of Khan and the Pascal Spring

Stob [We last heard from the Sons of Khan in 2010. The scriptures continue - Ed.] The woes of Techdom And it came to pass that the seasons rose and fell, and financial crisis waned while new financial crisis waxed, and the Kimjongilia flower did wither and fade on the vine. But misfortune struck the code cutters of Java, who were …
Verity Stob, 16 Jan 2012
Richard Stallman, credit: Victor Powell

Riders of the Bearded Sage

Stob Ever since Richard Stallman hit the news ... Whoa there, Verity! Not so fast. Let me check I have this straight. We are talking about the gun-toter who wrote that definitive episode of Frost that everybody is supposed to have seen. Murder in the Cathedral I think it is called. Right? No. You are probably thinking of Eric …
Verity Stob, 21 Nov 2011
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Doctor Who and the Unsatisfactory Five Hole Tape Punch

Stob This sentence is false... As soon as I heard about the sponsored Doctor Who-themed parties, I just knew that they would want an article on the early years of Doctor Who IT to include in the special pack. However, since nobody has actually asked me for it yet, you get first dibs. W.O.T.A.N. for Will Operating Thought ANalogue …
Verity Stob, 07 Nov 2011
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Verity's secret shame revealed

Stob I defrosted my ideas box, and found several morsels which wouldn't make a whole meal in themselves, but nonetheless needed eating. Palmed off Here you are: a free chance get to laugh at-not-with me. I am a Palm Pre owner, pretty much the last one in the box. I hold this status in a work environment of iPeople. I feel my …
Verity Stob, 19 Sep 2011
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Here lies /^v.+b$/i

Stob After I've gone In a melancholy mood, this week. Went back home to have a look at Dad's bench. He was a Classics scholar, actually; went up to Cambridge and everything. And so above his name and dates on the brass plaque screwed into the wood, instead of "He loved this place" or something equally fatuous, it says: ORE STABIT …
Verity Stob, 22 Aug 2011
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Educating Verity the OU way

Stob I think I mentioned that I was doing an Open University PGDip course in software development. (For those not familiar with the institution, the Open University has rightly been described as a sort of mental gym. You join with great enthusiasm; then, after three months, having attended just twice, you can drop out and ask for the …
Verity Stob, 18 Jul 2011
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Verity Stob and the super subjunction

Stob Just downloaded the beta version of English V3.31, and I have to say I am very excited about it. This is definitely going to be a feather in the cap of Anglophones everywhere, and way better than the notorious V2.99 release of French (or the 'deux point neufty-neuf' as it has become known). There's a ton of new features to talk …
Verity Stob, 01 Jun 2011
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No stranger to the moleskin trouser

Stob A website called MySpace is 'in a death spiral' according to Mr Robert Scoble, who attributes this unhappy state to its being implemented using Microsoft .NET technology, and because it is headquartered in Los Angeles, where apparently there aren't enough good programmers. Slightly cross-eyed with concentration at his three- …
Verity Stob, 11 Apr 2011

In defence of Comic Sans

Stob Good Morning!!! A Facebook pal recently posted to his status: Whenever you see this font, raise your fists and shout "Comic saaaaans!" This is a splendid idea, and I have already promised him on your behalf that we will all join in this game. But it made me wonder: what is it about Comic Sans that inspires such excitement? …
Verity Stob, 31 Jan 2011
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The Girl with the NSObject Class Reference tattoo

Stob What better occupation, at this time of year, than to polish up one's IT skills with some background reading? What have the great programming publishers got lined up for our delectation in 2011? Alas, as far as this reviewer is concerned, these rhetorical questions must remain unanswered. A certain Amazon parcel, containing …
Verity Stob, 10 Jan 2011
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I was timeboxed in a holistic scrum

Stob Do you suffer from unsatisfactory projectile climaxes? Is your software construction methodology previous generation? Do you require the predictable outcome of pre-planning with the flexibility of iteration and the lightness of touch of partially de-hierarchicalised management approaches? No need to say anything. I can tell from …
Verity Stob, 29 Nov 2010
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Diary of an Overflow Addict

Stob Thursday Medals 0 Rep 0 Need to write code to hash some passwords. Hmm. Troubled by the suspicion that this has been done before. Wonder if there are any functions in the Windows API to do this that a) aren't insanely complicated to call, or b) are .NET-only, or c) are reserved exclusively for Raymond Chen's use. Googled a …
Verity Stob, 05 Oct 2010
Disco

Sons of Kahn: The Apocrypha

Stob The Sons of Kahn move on And it came to pass, as hath previously been extensively documented, that the Sons of Kahn were sold by the Borlandites unto the hyperpolysyllabic Embarcoderhododendrongogogoch. And one acquisition begat another. For, in turn, the Borlandites themselves were absorbed by the tribe of Methuselah-focus …
Verity Stob, 23 Aug 2010
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Lord Peter views the logfile

Stob "What is design? Dorothy Sayers (English writer and dramatist - quoted by Brooks) suggests that design has three phases" - InfoQ reviewing Fred 'Mythical Man' Brook's latest tome. I had never realised that the famous crime writer Dorothy L Sayers was one of us - VS. The morning sunshine, filtered, as it were, through London's …
Verity Stob, 26 Jul 2010
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A Rumba with a Roomba

Stob Don't tell me. I've heard it already. You've got the iPadFever. Or Obsession for iPhone 4. Or iMac Mini Madness. Apparently nearly everyone is contemplating dropping hundreds of not-as-big-as-they-were-once ones on an Apple product, and joining in the chorus of boring bores who bore on in boring detail about how lovely the …
Verity Stob, 21 Jun 2010
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I Married a Monster from ISO 9000

Stob We had our quality audit the other week. Its cadences seemed curiously familiar. The solemnisation of the quality system The service is traditionally held in the offices of a software house, as a St Audit's day substitute for matins. The congregation are gathered in the programmers' kitchenette, sipping coffee. Opening …
Verity Stob, 24 May 2010
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First among SQLs

Stob Legend has it that Edgar 'Ted' Codd got the idea for SQL while attending a 'Sky at Night' spin-off lecture. Patrick Moore, pointing at the blackboard, said: 'Select a star from the table'. 'That's it!', cried Codd, and ran out the door to follow up his inspiration forthwith, missing a good discussion of vulcanoids. Though born …
Verity Stob, 20 Apr 2010
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Is it ta-ta for Flash?

Stob I hear you're a bit of a Flash programmer. Why is Flash in the news so much, Verity? Flash seems to have become the whipping boy for just about everybody in the IT crowd. Now it is under attack from Authentic Steve Jobs, who won't let it play on the iPad, just because the runtime is supposedly a tad flaky. Computer Engineer …
Verity Stob, 01 Mar 2010
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Verity Stob's App Store

Stob You have had your Sweet iJesus NexPreDroidBerry smart-like-hell-when-you-get-the-statement-phone for a month or so now. Perhaps the novelty has worn off a device that's much more difficult to use than its primitive predecessor, and which eats its battery charge faster than a New Year's resolution breaker munching an economy- …
Verity Stob, 18 Jan 2010
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A Deadlock Holiday

Stob Moore's Law, I need hardly remind a top-notch industry professional like you, states that as the density of silicon circuitry doubles, the probability of you not being able to find some sensibly-priced extra memory to fit your old lappy approaches 1.0. In recent times it has become generally admitted that, if this well-known …
Verity Stob, 10 Dec 2009
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Abigail's Windows 7 Party

Stob What are you doing on Oct 22? Microsoft is putting a Tupperware-style twist on the upcoming Windows 7 rollout, launching a new initiative to encourage thousands of employees, partners and technology enthusiasts to throw parties in their homes and communities to demonstrate and help spread the word about its new OS - Slashdot …
Verity Stob, 14 Sep 2009
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Not now darling I'm twirping

Stob Baroness Susan Greenfield, head of the Royal Institution and occasional star of Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column, has dramatically claimed, via the offices of the Daily Mail, that social websites harm children's brains. I think the Baroness misses a trick. Children are not the problem in my experience. My difficulty is the …
Verity Stob, 24 Aug 2009
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Don't call me Ishmael

Stob 'No, you don't understand,' the White Knight said, looking a little vexed. 'That's what the name is called. The name really is "The Aged Aged Man."' 'Oh, do get on with it, you pedantic old weirdo,' snapped Alice crisply. Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll (1871), revised Verity Stob (2009) It started when we were all in …
Verity Stob, 22 Jun 2009
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An unthinking programmer's guide to the new C++

Stob So what’s all this about a new C++ standard, Verity? Why you asking me? I know nussing. I’m down to write ‘Porcine influenza — a programmer’s perspective’ this month. Don’t fib. Oh very well. The enthusiasts imprisoned in the ISO C++ bunker are reputedly on the point of lighting a white smoke bonfire to indicate they have a new …
Verity Stob, 07 May 2009