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Re: [hackers-il] [hacks]hacking on MIT OCW

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  • Shlomi Fish
    Hi Shawn, sorry for the extremely late response. ... I m not going to reply to your E-mail because it lacks good style which makes it hard to read. Some
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 14, 2011
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      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[1] and 6.087[2](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[3]
      > when you got a compiler or you can write a compiler[4] when you got a
      > OS.
      >

      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
      as:

      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[6]
      >
      > 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
      Gutenberg,

      3. Pay attention to what you write and how you phrase yourself. Don't write
      too hastily.

      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:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_Law_of_Triviality

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

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