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Present Perfect


Filed under: Hacking — Thomas @ 12:15


I've been listening to the StackOverflow podcast for a few months. I never was into podcasting but decided I should give it a try and I decided around the time Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood started their podcast. I've followed both of their blogs for a while now, mostly because Joel is very good at explaining his opinions and has lots of experience to build on, and Jeff is refreshingly down-to-earth and prolific as a blogger. I use them as my conduit to the non-Linux side of programming, as a crutch to keep me a little bit grounded into the real world out there where 95% of people never use Linux and get their job done as well.

So, I applied for the beta, but didn't have time this month to actually use it. I started using it last weekend, browsing, answering some questions, and so on. It's actually a fun site, and I think it will end up being very useful. In the beginning I couldn't do much because you need reputation to do certain actions, like voting questions up. But today I hit the 3 digit reputation score, I've had some questions answered, and I've had some answers voted up or promoted to the right answer, and it starts being useful.

It's too soon to say, but it might end up being the single best new web site this year, and one of the few directly useful for my work. And it's all running on Windows!

I sincerily hope us Free Software people can get past that 'it runs on Windows' hangup and seriously use the site when it's available. I've already run into one of us going through some of the Python questions. Instead of asking the intarweb, I'm now going to ask technical questions over there. I hope you will too.


  1. > I started using it last weekend

    What did you start using? I don’t understand what web site you are talking about.

    Comment by David — 2008-08-28 @ 13:17

  2. From the little bits of description that were published so far, the site looks to be quite interesting. I hope we can gather some community of Gtk and Python people there to answer those lots of Infrequently Asked Questions about PyGtk development (and maybe there will also be some people for those hardcore Linux questions I couldn’t find an answer for yet – think “how to get info about opened file descriptors/sockets from a core dump”).

    What platform the site runs on doesn’t really matter, as long as the topics and people are cross-platform :-)

    Comment by oliver — 2008-08-28 @ 13:23

  3. Why the comments are not displayed?

    Comment by elmarco — 2008-08-28 @ 15:27

  4. @David: the site is called stackoverflow and is still in beta.

    Comment by Thomas — 2008-08-28 @ 15:40

  5. It’s kind of sad that Jeff calls ACID people “architecture astronauts”, even though the problem is rooted squarely in their selection of Microsoft only technology and unwillingness to change. But I can see why he’s kept his readership, he writes regularly, writes quasi-intelligent on technical subjects, uses pictures and follows Neilsen’s guidelines for writing on the web. But every time I read his blog I just get angry that someone can be so popular and so wrong. The password security article turned out to be misleading, the XML thing was a stupid argument against complexity and letting others do your job right for you, and his post on locking is so terrible it scares me. It seems between him and his audience, he’s the less informed. Which could be fine, but he writes with absolute certainty and the comment system is god awful at filtering for truth.

    Launchpad already offers a free question and answers site, but it’s not marketed to people looking to cut and paste code snippets into a working program. So I guess that’s half the equation, getting the right people excited about using your software.

    Comment by jldugger — 2008-08-29 @ 03:02

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