Re: [hackers-il] [hacks]hacking on MIT OCW
- Hi Shawn,
sorry for the extremely late response.
On Thursday 09 Dec 2010 13:52:38 Shawn wrote:
> hi guys,
> let's make long guffings short:There are great open courses we can
> learn a lot from MIT OCW.I think a correct order in study curve is
> that begin with SICP and 6.087(writing in C).Lisp and C giving
> you a different postions to looking at a same thing:The truth of
> computational model.then get to know about relationship between OS and
> programming languages itself(compilers) in metaphysical that it's
> important as if a man who has a strong faith but need to understand
> about hen and eggs which is came out at first time when SOMEONE
> created the stuff.Speak straightforward,either you can write a OS
> when you got a compiler or you can write a compiler when you got a
I'm not going to reply to your E-mail because it lacks good style which makes
it hard to read. Some offending things are:
1. No whitespace before and/or after punctuation.
2. Lack of proper capitalisation.
3. The paragraphs are too monolithic and the sentences appear to be too long.
I don't know if there's an open courseware university material about writing
in proper English style but there are many offline and online resources such
1. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html - may be a bit skewed towards
American English (in case you prefer Commonwealth English, you may need to
find something else.).
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style (found using a
Google search which as you know absolutely *loves* the wikipedia, so it may
not be good.).
These can go a long way into making your E-mails more coherent. Also search
for E-mail netiquette.
I'm sorry if I come across as a grammar/punctuation/netiquette nazi and as a
prescriptivist, but those conventions really make text easier to read and
understand. Almost all the good hackers (some may say great hackers) I respect
the most have a very good command of written English, and express themselves
clearly and coherntly. For some fun but serious discussion about that see:
http://shlomif.livejournal.com/53966.html - the "Grammar Nazis Conspiracy" -
also read all the comments especially those at the bottommost thread.
> btw:if you are going to hack SICP,take a look at this guy's blog
> may LORD's hacking spirit guide us!!!
God is indeed a hacker, so hack on! But first hack your own English. This will
give you a much bigger long-range benefit than reading or watching all the
computer science courses in the world, because people will listen to you and
take you seriously.
Some of the effective ways I found to better learn English are:
1. Write. Write a lot. Start a blog. Write about interesting stories from your
past. Ask your readers to point to the issues in your text (also your code).
Maybe start specialised blogs for writing about a topic that interests you.
2. Read. Read a lot. Especially fine literature, though not too archaic. I
really like reading original and quality Children and Young Adult's Literature
in English (e.g: The Hobbit, The Treasure Island, E. Nesbit, Roald Dahl, Mary
Poppins, Sherlock Holmes, etc. - can't think of more right now.) There are
many public domain and freely distributable fiction online in Project
3. Pay attention to what you write and how you phrase yourself. Don't write
4. Chat with English speakers on IRC - I like Freenode for that and they have
an ##English channel, but other channels accept somewhat off-topicish
discussion, especially some #not-channels or channels like #perlcafe ,
#lispcafe or #perl-cats (sorry, I'm an old school Perler bastard), which are
intended solely for offtopic discussion.
5. Watch/listen to some films to see how people use the English language in
speech. There are many clips on YouTube and similar sites and you can learn a
lot from them. There are some larger scale videos available online, offline
and on torrents naturally.
6. Most importantly - remember that improving your language is hard work, but
it's also fun, because hard work is often fun, and rewarding and makes you
happy. The opposite of fun and pleasure in general is not necessarily work. If
people did not enjoy hard work for pleasure, then large scale operating
systems that are completely free-and-open-source-software such as GNU/Linux or
the *BSDs could not happen.
Finally, note that this advice was not directed to you in particular and is
universal. I also still make some mistakes in English and am oblivious to or
deliberately violating a lot of good style and best practices, but I'm trying
to learn. Sometimes there's the case of a colour of the bikeshed though:
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
My Favourite FOSS - http://www.shlomifish.org/open-source/favourite/
Chuck Norris can make the statement "This statement is false" a true one.
Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .