K. Sabbak




April 05, 2018

On the surface "Don't Repeat Yourself" (DRY) seems pretty self-explanatory. It's the concept in writing code that one should … never repeat oneself. Simple! Well, mostly. There's actually two parts to this, and the second one is the hidden gotcha that took me quite a while to grasp, and I'm still working on actually applying that knowledge to what I write.

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Tags: dry general

Pairing on New Things Is Super Cool

March 02, 2018

There have only been like two instances ever in my very short life in programming where I have tried writing in a code base that I haven't contributed to from the start. The first time was a sort of open-source volunteer group thing and I still don't understand a single thing that is happening in that code base, though I managed to modify an API call enough to contribute to a ticket.

The second one was just this week where I got to pair with someone who has been working in that code base for about a year. I'm not sure how much I contributed, but if I had to pick a project to work on right now in order to save the world or something, it'd DEFINITELY be that one.

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Tags: general pairing

Learning to Teach

March 02, 2018

My first programming class was when I was 17. It was also my teacher’s first time teaching a programming class. It was in Java and we used a library called Karel J. Robot, which felt like it was aimed at much younger kids, and I remember having a hard time matching what I was learning from the separate textbook and what I was building with Karel J. Robot. I also remember that a lot of my classmates were taking the class because they knew they’d be able to play games online for a whole class period. What I’m trying to say is that it was not the best programming class ever.

Whether or not I learned Java is a little unclear, but what I did learn is that programming was interesting and powerful and I loved it. I also learned a second lesson, which took much longer to surface, but that was that you don’t have to be an expert to teach something. That even just knowing enough can make a huge difference and change people’s lives.

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Tags: learning teaching general

A Friday Tip for Productivity

February 02, 2018

I'd like to think I work better with music on, but I haven't actually tested this. After all, lyrics can be very distracting, new music tends to draw my attention. I had been working mostly with Spotify's Brain Food playlist, but lately there have been three or so songs that just... talk and it was driving me crazy. "Did you hear about the story about the Russian cosmonaut?" (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

The other day I read an article (who knows which one) that just casually threw out there that listening to one song over and over again increases focus and creativity. There were no links to any research to support this, but I liked the idea so I figured I'd see how it worked for me.

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Tags: general productivity

LING114 as Applied to My Current Life

February 01, 2018

Here's a fun fact about me: I have a BA in Linguistics. What did I think I was going to do with that? Well, probably more school, but at some point I realized that was the wrong path for me. That being said, I really appreciated what I learned as a linguistics student.

The very first linguistics class I took was probably LING114 taught by Prof. Glick. The thing about Prof. Glick is he was the head of SUNY Binghamton's Linguistics department, and I took a lot of his classes. He had three principles about language that given how often I took his classes, I will likely never forget. The goal here is to try to apply them to code - after all, we may be coding in constructed languages, but they're functionally very similar to natural languages in many ways.

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Tags: linguistics general

The Five Stages of Grief as Applied to Learning

January 23, 2018

If you’re anything like me, and I know I am (who did I steal that from? It’s awful), change is hard. There are probably studies done that make a case for why this is, but regardless of the why, change is just really hard.

For me, learning design principles in writing code is basically on par with changing how I believe the world works. It’s hard and uncomfortable and this is how it goes:

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Tags: learning general


December 05, 2017


I spent the past day and a half diving in to Jekyll to set up this blog, and now I'm going to talk about it:

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Tags: blog general