Teaching myself to code
Tue, May 26, 2015 at 11:11 AM by Dave Winer ☮.
  • I backed myself into a corner. I had just announced a feature in Radio3, and a few moments after doing that, I got a report from a user saying that Radio3 doesn't work.
  • So I scrambled. I should have tested better. I was angry with myself. Then I calmed down and thought about which of my programming friends would know what the problem was. Clearly this was a problem for Dan MacTough. He groks pipes in Node. He's a plumber, I'm just a user. So I sat down and carefully wrote an email to Dan. With links, and citations to specific bits of code, and a theory of what was going wrong. I never sent the email, didn't have to. I found the problem myself.
  • When I teach starting programmers how to ask for help, I say they should write the problem up, very carefully, including all relevant info, but nothing else.
  • In the process, you often figure it out.
  • The problem was solved by telling request not to follow redirects when doing a proxy. It worked the first time. I felt so good when this happened! Being self-sufficient is a sign of competence and intelligence. That's quite different from being angry with myself for having been sloppy!
  • And I feel no less gratitude to Dan that I would if he had solved the problem. My inner-Dan solved it. That says he's a good teacher. ;-)