Hidden Messages in Programming Textbooks

Introductory programming courses usually start with an example program called “$g(Hello World).” Hello World uses variables named “foo” and “bar.”

Innocent syllables? Not.

Foo and bar come from $d(FUBAR), an old military term meaning F—– Up Beyond All Repair.

So nearly every intro computer science textbook hurls an expletive at new students.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Geeking at the Gym

I have a Compaq iPAQ 3970 PDA. It was given to me about a year and a half ago by SMU because SMU was going to write a PDA-based ticket writing software for the SMU police department. I wasn’t going to write the software, but as a web geek I was supposed to provide support and knowledge.

The project never got off the ground.

Now I use the PDA to be my Outlook calendar, contacts, and task list when I am not at the office. It’s incredibly useful for this.

My favorite use is a gym workout tracker. The PDA comes with a scaled down version of the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program called Pocket Excel. After I use each exercise machine at the gym I jot down the weights I used and how many repetitions I managed into my spreadsheet. (Click on the spreadsheet to see how wimpy I really am.) Over time I will graph my workout results to see if I am improving.