October 7th, 2004

krazy koati

She's the quintessence of making the grade

One question on the midterms I gave out yesterday was to identify and fix all the errors in a block of code. It was surprisingly hard to write deliberately buggy code; all that came ``naturally'' was = where == was meant. I had to go back and re-bug the fragment.

One bug was switching the capitalization (to which C is sensitive; touchy, even) of two variables. A student asked if that was an unintentional typo. Repeatedly. He wanted to be sure it was a mistake-he-was-meant-to-find before listing it. Maybe it's because I never took a programming class, and never took grades or exams all that seriously, but I can't understand why he thought it worth trying to get an answer other than, ``If it's something which will make the code not do the desired task, then list it'' out of me. Did he think we'd mark him off if he picked out an error we hadn't meant to include?

So far, about two-thirds graded, nobody's gotten fewer than four of the eight true/false questions right. I'm curious whether anyone will do worse than random guessing.

Also I ran out of Rejuvenating Effects Crest, which was really tasty. My teeth will have to stop cross-dressing.

Trivia: George Mortimer Pullman and Leonard Seibert built the first Pullman railroad car without blueprints or drawn plans; they worked to Pullman's intuition. Source: The Story of American Railroads, Stewart H. Holbrook.

Currently Reading: Chariots for Apollo, Charles R. Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff.