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English Is a New Top Coding Language.

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Or so Sarah Butcher reports:

If you’re wondering which coding language to learn for a software engineering job in banking, Goldman Sachs’ CIO Marco Argenti seems to be aligning himself to the people who suggest an advanced knowledge of the English language and an ability to articulate your thoughts clearly and coherently in it, is now up there alongside Python and C++.

Writing in Harvard Business Review, Argenti says he’s advised his daughter to study philosophy as well as engineering because coding in the age of large language models is partly about the “quality of the prompt.”

“Ambiguous or not well-formed questions will make the AI try to guess the question you are really asking, which in turn increases the probability of getting an imprecise or even totally made-up answer,” says Argenti. In the future, he says the most pertinent question won’t be “Can you code?,” but, “Can you get the best code out of your AI by asking the right question?”.

Asking the right question will partly depend upon being able to articulate yourself in English and that will depend upon, “reasoning, logic, and first-principles thinking,” says Argenti. Philosophical thinking skills are suddenly all-important. “I’ve seen people on social media create entire games with just a few skillfully written prompts that in the very recent past would have taken months to develop,” he adds.

I know nothing about coding, but Stu Clayton, who sent me the link, does, and since he thinks this is of interest lächerlich, I’m passing it along. Anything that places value on “advanced knowledge of the English language and an ability to articulate your thoughts” is probably a good thing.

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denismm
35 days ago
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So basically you need to be able to speak English in a specific constrained way that gets consistent results from a computer program that generates code for you. That is called a PROGAMMING LANGUAGE. Just use a normal programming language that doesn’t require a huge energy-wasting black box instead of an optimized compiler.
cosmotic
35 days ago
Humans use energy too, at some point the efficient way might be the ai
jickmagger
34 days ago
most code is not energy efficient, but to make it so would be too difficult to write. It would be something like a long LastPass password, only fathomable to AI, which is the way things are going. Coders will be obsolete very soon
cosmotic
34 days ago
The cost to do any sort of math is going to be WAY more efficient on a computer than a human. A computer can do more calculations in a second than a human would take over their entire lifetime. At 2000 calories per day, that computer is going to roast the human.
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synapsecracklepop
35 days ago
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This sounds suspiciously like the BS I was sold 25 years ago about being an English major, wrt how my "critical thinking skills" etc would be so desired by employers across many industries.
ATL again
freeAgent
35 days ago
I can see how this may not be complete BS, but at least in any near-term scenario I can envision, a human is also going to need to review any code generated by an AI and be able to correct or modify it where necessary, and that obviously requires a human who knows how to code without an AI intermediary.

Cheap Auto Insurance Is a Thing of the Past. Here Are Five Reasons Why - Bloomberg

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denismm
62 days ago
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> Today’s cars are packed with high-tech gadgetry meant to entertain, comfort and protect occupants. The array of safety equipment now common on cars includes automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection and lane departure warnings. To give drivers eyes in the back of their head, automotive engineers have embedded cameras, sonar and radar sensors from bumper to bumper. All that technology has driven up the cost of repairing even a minor fender bender.

So they’ve made it more expensive to repair but have all of those features made accidents less likely? (I couldn’t read the rest of the article.)
sarcozona
60 days ago
“Despite the additional safety equipment on cars to help drivers avoid crashes, US roads have become far more dangerous. And that’s pushing up insurance rates to cover the costs of repairs and health care for those injured in crashes. Nearly 41,000 people died in US traffic crashes last year, up 13% from 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”
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sarcozona
60 days ago
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We should have just dropped speed limits and planted big street trees to visually narrow all our roads
Epiphyte City

A Conspiracy To Kill IE6

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denismm
113 days ago
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Posted May 2019 but still a good story.
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Generation X workers have become disillusioned with tech culture—and their jobs

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The generation that helped shape modern-day workplace culture is also less interested than their younger peers in working for a large tech firm, a new survey suggests.

Generation X workers are losing motivation for the work they perform in the tech industry. That’s according to a study conducted by the experience management firm Qualtrics. The firm polled tech workers to see how they felt about their companies’ mission and values and their work that is driven by that.

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denismm
289 days ago
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Surely the fact that they’re nearing retirement age is a factor too but this article doesn’t mention it.
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Sort data on the Linux command-line

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Unix was first used to process text files, so Unix and Linux both contain a variety of commands that let you act on text contained in files. And even in 2023, these problems come up all the time. Knowing how to work the Linux command line can make some of these problems easier.

This came up recently when I was part of a meeting where we discussed product names, based on an 8-page list of different names from a web search. An important our discussion required knowing the most common instances of the names. Many of the names were repeated, others were minor variations on the names, such as hyphenation or capitalization.

How could we simplify the list so we could discuss it? One person suggested running the data through a spreadsheet; another proposed using a statistical analysis package. I opened a Linux terminal, copied the list of names into a text file, and ran a few Linux commands to reduce the list of names to a manageable grouping. That meant we could discuss the list immediately.

Here’s how I used the Linux command line to quickly find repeated names in a long list.

Remove hyphens

Let’s say I have a list of names that are similar, except some have hyphens and others do not, plus one line that is different. I’ll save this in a plain text file called hyphens:

$ cat hyphens
Lorem-Ipsum
Lorem Ipsum
Dolor Sit Amet
Lorem Ipsum
Lorem-Ipsum
Lorem Ipsum
Lorem-Ipsum

To make comparisons easier, it doesn’t matter if the hyphen is there or not, so let’s remove it. You can use the Linux tr command to easily translate or convert one character to another. In this case, we want “Lorem-Ipsum” to be the same as “Lorem Ipsum.” The easiest way to do that is to convert the hyphen to a space:

$ tr - ' ' < hyphens
Lorem Ipsum
Lorem Ipsum
Dolor Sit Amet
Lorem Ipsum
Lorem Ipsum
Lorem Ipsum
Lorem Ipsum

Now every instance of “Lorem-Ipsum” will become “Lorem Ipsum.” To count the identical names, we can use the sort command to generate a sorted list, then the uniq command to print unique instances of each. The -c option to uniq prints a count of the repeated instances, which is the count we want:

$ tr - ' ' < hyphens | sort | uniq -c
      1 Dolor Sit Amet
      6 Lorem Ipsum

Remove trailing spaces

When I processed the 8-page list of names, I realized some of the entries had spaces at the ends of the lines. The name “Lorem Ipsum” with a space after it is different from the name “Lorem Ipsum” with no space. If your list might have trailing spaces, you can use a quick sed command to remove them.

Let’s start with a different list of names called spaces where some lines have trailing spaces, saved in a file called spaces. Here, we can use the -E or --show-ends option with cat to display a marker at the end of each line, effectively showing where we have trailing spaces:

$ cat --show-ends spaces
Lorem Ipsum  $
Lorem Ipsum  $
Lorem Ipsum$
Lorem Ipsum  $
Lorem Ipsum$
Lorem Ipsum    $

sed is the standard stream editor, and allows you to perform several kinds of automated manipulations on text files. sed acts on regular expressions, a string of characters that matches text on lines in the file. For example, in a regular expression, ^ means the start of a line and $ means the end of a line. Also, + means one or more of the preceding character and * is zero or more of the preceding character.

To strip all trailing spaces from a file, we should match  *$ which means any amount of spaces at the end of a line, and replace it with nothing, which deletes the extra spaces:

$ sed -e 's/ *$//' spaces | cat -e
Lorem Ipsum$
Lorem Ipsum$
Lorem Ipsum$
Lorem Ipsum$
Lorem Ipsum$
Lorem Ipsum$

Convert to lowercase

Some of the names in my file were the same, except for variations on capitalization. But we weren’t interested in differences of uppercase and lowercase letters; we just wanted the names that were otherwise the same.

You can easily convert text to uppercase or lowercase with the tr command. tr can do more than translate single characters; it can also convert between character groups.

For this example, let’s start with three variations on the same name, stored in a file called capitals. One uses uppercase for both “Lorem” and “Ipsum,” one uses capitalization only on “Lorem,” and the last doesn’t use any capitalization:

$ cat capitals
Lorem Ipsum
Lorem ipsum
lorem ipsum

To convert all uppercase letters to lowercase letters, specify [:upper:] and [:lower:] as character groups in the tr command. This tr command converts the text to all lowercase:

$ tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]' < capitals
lorem ipsum
lorem ipsum
lorem ipsum

Replace words

In the 8-page list of names, some phrases used “and” while others used an ampersand. For example, “Lorem and Ipsum” and “Lorem & Ipsum.” But for our discussion, the ampersand was unimportant. This is another instance of replacing words, which is a great use case for sed

Let’s start with a sample list of words which are basically the same except two spell out the word “and” while one uses an ampersand. Assume this plain text file called and:

$ cat and
Lorem and Ipsum
Lorem & Ipsum
Lorem and Ipsum

In this case, we want to match the ampersand as the regular expression. This is a special character when the ampersand is on the right side of the sed replacement; used on the right side, the ampersand means replace with the matching text. If you want to convert “and” to an ampersand, you need to be careful about this special case:

$ sed -e 's/and/&/' and
Lorem and Ipsum
Lorem & Ipsum
Lorem and Ipsum

That sed command means find and replace any instances of “and” with the text that matched it, which means replace “and” with “and.” If you want to replace the text with a literal ampersand, you need to “escape” it with a backslash:

$ sed -e 's/and/\&/' and
Lorem & Ipsum
Lorem & Ipsum
Lorem & Ipsum

This works well, but it can cause problems for words with the letters “—and” next to each other, like the word “ampersand.” The same sed command blindly replaces all instances of “and” with an ampersand:

$ echo ampersand | sed -e 's/and/\&/' 
ampers&

Instead, it’s more reliable to go the other way: convert an ampersand to the word “and.” This is also easier for humans to read:

$ sed -e 's/&/and/' and
Lorem and Ipsum
Lorem and Ipsum
Lorem and Ipsum

Putting it all together

To process a long list of names, ignoring capitalization and hyphens, and assuming “and” and ampersand mean the same, we can combine these commands to generate a simplified list. I’ll demonstrate with a randomized list called names of over two hundred entries that are just variations of two phrases:

$ wc -l names
238 names

In this sample, the lines differ in capitalization, hyphens, trailing spaces, and ampersands. Using the sort and uniq commands isn’t quite enough to reduce the list, because the variations of how each line is written means uniq can’t find truly unique entries:

$ sort names | uniq -c | wc -l
24

By using both tr and sed, I can quickly reduce the list to a more meaningful set:

$ tr - ' ' < names | sed -e 's/ *$//' | tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]' | sed -e 's/&/and/' | sort | uniq -c
    199 lorem ipsum
     39 one and two

Processing plain text files like this isn’t a common task today, but it is exactly what Unix was written to do. Using a few tools on the Linux command line, every Linux systems administrator can quickly reduce a list of similar entries to a manageable grouping. Let the command line do the hard work for you.

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denismm
360 days ago
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I love “sort | uniq -c | sort -n” so much I named a stuffed-animal puppy that. Then I aliased it to “puppy” so I can just do “cat answers.txt | puppy”.
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What Could I Do?

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Daniel Pink suggest a small language change in the way you think about a problem you’re trying to solve. So simple. So powerful.

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denismm
507 days ago
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Sometimes that’s great but sometimes choosing among the possibilities is the exact problem so adding more options does the opposite of help. Just a question of knowing which is which I guess.
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