Copyright 2017-2018 Jason Ross, All Rights Reserved

Programming Languages - They're Just Tools

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When you start out as a software developer it's easy to get fixated on one particular language. It might be the first language you learned, or the first you used professionally, but you'll probably form a serious attachment to it. You might view this language as perfect, or at least much better than any other, and you'll tend to use it for pretty much everything you need to do.

After a while though, you'll start looking around at other languages and seeing why other people think they're good. Initially you may think they're nowhere near as good as your favourite language, and stick purely with your own. This is really the wrong approach.

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A while ago my laptop decided that it wasn't going to download and install Windows Updates in the background any more. I tried to open the Windows Updates window and all it said was that the service could not be started. I decided to dig around on the web and was unsurprised at the number of "Try stopping it and starting it again" suggestions, as well as "Switch off your anti-virus", all of which were useless.

A little more digging led me to the right way to fix it...

Bins - Commented Code Goes in The Black One With The Other Garbage!
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Looking through your system’s source code, you’ll almost certainly find code that’s been commented out without being deleted. This might strike you as an odd thing to do, and it is. Why would anyone clutter up their source code in this way?

A single goat
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The Original Simulation

In The Monty Hall Problem – A Simulation In JavaScript we wrote a simulation for the Monty Hall Problem. The simulation consisted of two separate iterations through some JavaScript code that recorded the results of the competitor either changing their selection, or keeping their original choice, respectively.

Looking again at this, the idea of there being two iterations through the same code seemed a little excessive and made me start to idly wonder: could this be done in one iteration? This might make the simulation faster, although it would need to be timed to make sure of this, and it doesn’t take long to run anyway. It might improve the integrity of the simulation though. After all, what if something happens during those two iterations so that the odds involved in the second iteration change? It’s not likely but it’s just about possible – maybe the random number generator has a bug or some other strange side effect occurs, and then we can’t be sure what would happen.

If we could get all the information we need from a single game that should eliminate this possibility.

The Monty Hall Problem - It can really get your goat!

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The Problem

You are a contestant on a game show, and are allowed to select one of three doors. Behind one of the doors there is a car that you can win, and behind the other two doors are goats (You don’t get to keep the goats!). You choose a door and then the host, who knows what is behind every door, opens another door to reveal a goat. You are then given the chance to change your selection to the remaining door.

Should you stick with your original selection, or choose the other door instead?