Why is learning programming so hard for some people?

I’ll try to explain based on my experience explaining Java to some friends. I never been through formal programming training which probably hence made me a poor teacher.

To me, it is because they cannot accept the language as it is. They question why are things done this way? Why not another way? The modern programming language is so abstract. It’s hard to see how the lower level components interact.

Some learners need to fiddle with the lower layers to accept and understand the higher level components. We just build tools on top of the lowest layer and then establish more and more layers thinking it is making life simple.

I lost my patience before and said to a friend, “Why can’t you just memorize it? It’s by design, if you don’t like then design your own language.” Actually it’s just an excuse because the real reason is too long to explain. It’s like telling a primary school kid that light travels in a straight line even though you well know it doesn’t and thank god it doesn’t.

Perhaps it does make life simple for the already programmers, but it makes learning a lot harder.

How to set up VirtualHost in Ubuntu

My environment is Ubuntu 8.1 Intrepid Ibex. I also written a guide on how to set up virtual hosts in Windows XP or Windows Vista.

0. Introduction

Sometimes, we have multiple projects and we would like to access the Project 1’s website by typing ‘http://project1/’ in the browser address bar. And Project 2 may be at ‘http://project2/’. Virtual hosts are what you need for your development work. This guide requires you to have basic knowledge of Apache. This guide assumes you haven’t done additional configuration to your Apache. You must have already got Apache2 installed.

Also remember that you should always do a backup of every configuration file you change.

1. Add a new host in Ubuntu

You should only be adding new hosts if you want to develop multiples sites in your local computer. Skip this section to go to Section 2 if you just want to add virtual hosts to a remote server.

Type in the following command into your terminal, you need to sudo here: Continue reading “How to set up VirtualHost in Ubuntu”

Borders no longer wants to sell itself

I love Borders. Love to be able to walk in and browse through. I have to admit that 90% of the time I come out empty handed or perhaps just with the Borders card member brochure.

I’m sorry that you aren’t doing well Borders. It’s all my fault.

Borders Inc ‘no longer for sale’

It posted a net quarterly loss of $175.4m (£113m), or $2.90 per share, as against $161.1m, or $2.74 per share, in the third quarter of last year.

But it said applying a range of restructuring measures in the past year will allow the company to stand on its own despite the downturn.

“We have smiles on our faces”, Borders chief executive George Jones said.

Like-for-like sales dropped 12.8% in Borders superstores, with revenue falling to $693m from $765m during the same quarter last year.

The news sent Borders share down 52% in after-hours trading.

In March, Borders said it had been evaluating a sale of its core business after facing increasing difficulties in accessing funds. (Source: BBC)

Books aren’t doing well these days probably because lesser people are reading these days. I used to see more people reading in trains. Singaporeans are rather busy people, few have the chance to read at home for leisure. Most read during commute time. It’s not easy to read while standing. Those sitting on chairs either have their ears plugged with earphones (blissfully unaware that they suppose to alight the previous stop sometimes) or sleeping (or perhaps pretending to sleep when there’re older folks in front of them).

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Anyway, it’s just not good news for book lovers. Are physical stores impractical these days? Is the future going to be electronic books? I still much prefer touching paper. I’ll hate to see physical bookstores become a luxury of yesterday.

Apple: iPhone ‘really fast’, UK regulators thinks otherwise

Responding to 17 people’s complaints that the Apple advertisement misled them on the speed of the Apple iPhone, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) determines that the “advertisement must not appear again in the same form”.

Apple made to drop iPhone advert

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints by 17 people who said the TV advert had misled them as to its speed.

Apple UK said it was comparing the 3G model with its 2G predecessor and its claims were “relative not absolute”.

The advert repeatedly stated that the phone was “really fast” and showed news pages and the Google maps service taking just fractions of a second to appear.

Text on the screen said: “Network performance will vary by location.”

After upholding the viewers’ complaints, the ASA said the advert must not appear again in the same form.

It said the advert was likely to lead viewers to believe that the device actually operated at or near to the speeds shown in the advert.

The watchdog concluded: “Because we understood that it did not, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.” (Source: BBC)

It’s not the first time advertisements mislead. Most do anyway. Just like blog titles. Meh.

Diners who eat without paying caught through Facebook

This one is funny though a little lengthier than what I usually post.

Dodgy diners at Seagrass in Melbourne Facebooked

The drama unfolded last week when a group of five young diners, after drinking at the bar, requested a table at the Southbank restaurant.

Over dinner, they worked their way expertly through the menu, ordered and drank fine wines and, after ordering dessert, slipped out “for a smoke”. They kept going.

Leary was left with an unpaid bill for about $520, and little hope of recovering his money.

“It was then I remembered that when the group arrived, one of them had asked about one of our waitresses who was not working that night,” Leary said yesterday.

The waitress gave him a name and then he thought of Facebook.

“The site also gave me his place of employment, which was handy.”

Leary discovered that both the man and his girlfriend worked at another Southbank restaurant.

Angered that it was workers from his own industry who had perpetrated the scam, he stormed down to the restaurant and confronted the restaurant owner, who promised to deal with the matter.
Within hours, the restaurant manager arrived at Seagrass with the ringleader, who not only paid the bill, but left a generous tip for staff.

“The restaurant manager then told me he would let me know what further action would be taken,” said Leary. (Source: News.com.au)

Ahh, Facebook’s handy. I found many secondary school friends there. It’s such a good tool.

What led me to have this kind of dream?

I woke up this morning feeling rather horrible. I had this dream concerning a friend. There was this quarrel that shouldn’t have happened, these word exchanges that are perhaps too harsh and I remember the angry stares.

I sat on my bed wondering why I have the dream. Not regarding the contents of the episode but why did I dream about these kind of things. Was there any prior event we had that led to this dream? Why is this dream delivered to me in this manner? Is my mind trying to prepare me for such a situation? Perhaps my mind (in a dreamy state) anticipated a scenario close to this.

Weeks ago we had this conversation that involved angry at each other and hence getting scolded and so on. And today I woke up realizing this could actually happen.

Comfort taxis now have touch screen?

I was taking my uncle’s cab last month when I notice this TV screen.

Comfort taxis now have information services

(Comfort taxis now have information services.)

They’ll be some ads and it runs on and on and on.

The touch screen springs to life once the meter starts running. Located at the back of the front passenger seat, the sounds would annoy you the entire trip.

“Can turn this thing off?” I asked.

The taxi driver cannot turn it off for you. Can only guide you to turn it on. It seem to be by (bad) design to run voices to your head while you get back from a tiring day.

Interestingly, you can query movie listings and stuff. When you’re really bored you can take a look at bits of news or stare at repeating advertisements.

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To turn it off… Okay I forget, but happy fiddling.