Nick Mudge Ignition Software Consulting & Development

I'm a pretty good news junkie, particularly about programming stuff on the web.1 Every once in awhile I really do come across some great stuff. I came across a great piece of material today.

Now imagine this: You are a programmer and you love programming and you always want to improve your knowledge and ability as a programmer. It's a hot, boring afternoon and you start wondering to yourself about this. And then you have an interesting idea. What if you just out of the blue email some of the best known great programmers in the world asking them the most important questions you can think of about programming? You are just some guy on the Web that barely knows English, so why not?

Polish blogger and programmer Stiff did this and posted the questions and answers on his blog.

I love this comment:

That's just awesome. I can't believe no one before had this idea. I will bookmark this and study it excessively later.

Stuff I Think is Awesome

Peter Norvig dislikes Windows, Mac, and Linux. I wonder what operating system he uses.

Steve Yegge, Linus Torvalds, David Heinemeier Hansson, Peter Norvig and James Gosling were self-taught in programming even if they studied it in school.

Steve Yegge and Linus Torvalds stress communication skill as important for a programmer to have.

Math and physics aren't necessarily used that much in programming but are good to know. Steve Yegge _really_ loves math and physics. Tim Bray thought he was going to be a math teacher.

Linus Torvalds says that operating system and compiler work is about as close as you can get to playing with hardware without actually designing or building it yourself.

Guido Van Rossum uses vi and emacs.

All of them except Peter Norvig like and use Unix or Linux..

Steve Yegge said: "Great programmers learn how to program their tools, not just use them." Linus talks about programming his tools.

Linus Torvald's favorite programming book is the classic Kernighan & Ritchie The C Programming Language.

Bjarne Stroustrup's favorite programming book is also K&R.

Programming the 80386 is the hardware/computer architecture book Linus used when he started building Linux.

Both Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs and Programming Pearls were mentioned twice as favorite programming books.

Bjarne Stroustrup likes The Dixie Chicks and Beethoven.

1My programming bookmarks

Check out this blog post for an introduction to Newsconomy:

Newsconomy is a user-submitted news website like or Hacker News and a bookmarking website. But it is also different and this post explains how it is different.

Newsconomy keeps submitted URLs unique. If someone posts a URL to an article, another user cannot then submit that same URL. The way Newsconomy handles this is a major difference from other websites. Below I show how reddit, delicious and newsconomy handle duplicate URL submissions.


reddit doesn't let a user submit a URL to a subreddit if it already exists in that subreddit:


Here's how Newsconomy handles a duplicate submission:

Buy the item if you want it?

Notice the purple "Buy" link below the title of the item. If you come across an item that you find interesting or like and it already exists in Newsconomy you can buy the item. When you buy the item it moves from the account of the person you bought it from into your own account, and you now have powers over that item. It's like the item is now yours, in the world of Newsconomy, and nobody else can have it, unless they meet your price. That's the idea anyway.

But Why on Earth Would Somebody Want to Do This?

With or without the trading aspect of Newsconomy, it serves as a perfectly good bookmarking website or news website. The trading part of it makes it more interesting and helps find news and links to interesting content. The ability to "buy" items provides a different way to share items between users and shows what people are interested in. Someone who wants interesting content on the web in a new way should try this. Someone who has good content on the web should post to Newsconomy.


Newsconomy doesn't have karma, or some sort of points system. It has something called lambda and it has trading histories. Newsconomy's monetary unit is called lambda and it is what users use to buy items. On the site the λ symbol is a symbol for lambda. Like the $ sign is for dollars.

What to Do With Lambda

Each user automatically gets a certain amount of lambda when they create an account. This amount changes. Yesterday a new user automatically got 10 lambda. Today the amount is 50.

How to Get Lambda
Here are three ways to generate lambda:

  1. Sign up for an account.
  2. Submit interesting items that others buy.
  3. Buy items for low and sell them for high.

Note: Any cheating will be detected and all accounts of a cheater will be deleted and the items of the accounts will be given to joemama.

How to Find Interesting Items

Check the homepage. Right now anytime an item changes ownership it is put at the top of the homepage. New submissions and newly purchased items are put at the top. This may change in the future for new ways of pushing up interesting content.

Every item has a "Trading History". The history shows every person who has purchased an item and how much they paid for it or if they were the original submitter. Every item shows how many owners it has had. This information provides good indicators of how interesting an item is.

Here's how to see the history of an item: Notice the link "Link" in the image below. Imagine clicking on that. Also notice that the Trading History is 6.

After clicking on that link you are shown the individual webpage for that item that shows its history:

More Info

I've used Newsconomy to create a list of links to posts/articles about Newsconomy. More information can be found in those links:

Every once in awhile I have an interesting idea of some application or software program I'd like to create, but I almost never have the time to immediately do it, and then sometimes later I notice that I forget what the idea was, or why I wanted to do it or what was great about it.

So I'm thinking, why don't I just write my ideas down on my blog? Then I could always look back at my blog posts for any ideas when someday I really have time to do something. And plus, it would be fun to write them down here and of course hearing what other people think is always great.

I would worry about someone taking my ideas but I've grown to the idea that if you can come up with good ideas in general then ideas aren't that important, what really matters is doing something with them. Any helpful idea I might mention that someone uses to carry through with something deserves full credit and respect for what they create, and of course I'd want to hear about it because it would validate my ideas, and of course I enjoy knowing that I had some slight participation in some new creation.

So I'll tell my first idea which was my first idea for a Web application, and I'll tell its story.

Way back when I didn't know I was going to be a programmer for a living I had a great idea called Democranet. Basically the idea was that there would be this website that would contain political articles. Anybody could submit articles and people could vote on whether they agreed with the articles or not. Through a democratic process the website would push up and show the ideas in the world that people cared about most and how people thought the world should be and how it should change. Democranet = Democracy + Internet. I had gotten the idea from reading the book Ender's Game.

Some of my ideas of functionality of were similar to how and work, except the content would be on instead of linked to all over the web. I think and were way less known when I first began working on this, in 2004.

Anyway, I was so excited about this idea and this website. But I had no one to build it for me and I didn't know anything about web programming. So I decided to learn how to do all the computer technical work myself. A friend recommended that I get a book on HTML, Javascript and PHP. So that's what I did and that's how I started. I had taken a C programming class in college and knew something about programming (I loved Qbasic in school.)

In the process of learning how to build this website and building it I began to realize that I didn't like politics very much, and that grew more and more. After some time I realized that I really liked learning and building the website but that I didn't like the idea of the website anymore. So that was the end of that. I have the old code for it somewhere. I have a visual redesign of the site I was going to implement that is still in HTML here:

The Democranet project has been gone for a long time, but it has an issue connected to it that has lingered. At the time I bought the domain names, and These are really great domain names and I have no idea what to do with them. If you know of anyone that might be interested in buying them for a million dollars, please let me know.

What came out of Democranet was that I found that I really liked web programming and it gave me a project to learn web programming with. I eventually got a full time web programming job, which was fantastic for me.

Stay tuned for the next idea.