It may seem like this week's disjointed ramblings follows on from last week's topic, in some lexographically eerie and unexpected way. I can assure you that this wasn't intentional - the capability to avoid straying off topic during the course of a single short article has so far always eluded me, and I see no reason for that situation to have changed. After all, there's no sign yet that I'm actually getting the hang of this blogging thing. Still, at least I'm not frightened of computers, as are some people in my age group...
No, what actually prompted this week's ramble was something I came across recently while researching obscure software design patterns. Part way through one document, I found this enlightening and interesting line: "Use a common data format to perform translations between two desperate data formats." Now, I'd have to admit that I don't do that much actual programming these days, but I do tend to deal with quite a lot of data. And, thankfully, none has yet come to my attention as being "desperate". I'd go with "wrong", "strange", and even "useless" as descriptions of the data I encounter, but none of it has shown any signs of criminality, or suicidal tendencies.
However, maybe it's just that I don't notice. Perhaps there are some Int32s in there that are really, really keen to escape into 64 bits. Or lumps of serialized binary that just can't bear not being an XML document. Could it be that they actually mean "desperate" as in "criminal"? Is there a gangster-style DataSet roaming through the layers of my applications stealing rows and leaving a trail of empty tables? Or perhaps the author of the page I was looking at actually meant "disparate", not "desperate".
But, coming back to people being frightened of computers, just image how much more frightened they'd be if they thought there really was desperate data flying round inside. So, to put such people's minds at rest, I've been touring the Internet and have assembled a list of the Top 10 things that you may not know about computers:
You may like to print out this list and keep it somewhere handy ready for when your son or daughter gives their old computer to your mother. Or for when you become senile. Meanwhile, if you have any useful tips for new or nervous computer users, you can send them to us.