Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Ask me anything: the answers

I had an "ask me anything" poll a while back. Here are my answers.

If you haven't "voted" yet and want to ask me something (either anonymously or with name given), then feel free to comment on this post, that one, or fill out the poll.

Since all those who filled out the poll said I could use their name in a public entry, I'll say who asked what.

timwi asks, "What is (to you) the most interesting thing you have ever programmed?"

I'm not sure. Maybe it was my RFC1086 simulator which I wrote for work so that I could test something that was supposed to run on hardware we didn't have yet. It was my first encounter with threaded programming.

I gave a talk about it at YAPC::Europe last year; my slides are available online.

bride asks, "How did you meet Stella? How did you propse? Tell us about your wedding. =)"

That's a fairly long story and I think it'll have to wait until I write an entire entry about it. Poke me if I haven't done so in a reasonable timeframe.

karen2205 writes, "Religion - from reading your entries I sometimes get the impression that you might be very devout, but other things make me think that that can't be right."

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (official Internet site, official information page for those wanting to read about it); many people call us "Mormons".

I was born into this church and it's fair to say it has a big influence in my life. I also served as a missionary for two years, telling people about the Church and the gospel in Greece and Cyprus for two years when I was 20. I have two callings in my local unit (ward): I teach the priesthood class once a month and I'm in the Elders Quorum presidency (so I'm partly responsible for most men over the age of 18).

Despite that, I'm not completely convinced that the church is true (in church terms, I "don't have a firm testimony" of all things), though I would like to know for sure one way or another. (But not enough, so far, to actually do what is required.) But I think that it makes sense, for the most part, which is comforting.

I do tend to try to live by its precepts, on the whole. I'm a bit curious what sort of things make you think that "that can't be right"?

nik_w asks, "If you could only speak one language for the rest of your life, what would it be (irrespective of convenience - i.e. I'd speak this because X only speaks this)?"

That was an interesting question, and one that puzzled me a bit.

I've read that all languages are equally expressive, in the sense that what you can express in one language, you can express in other languages, too (though you may need more words for it), so I'm not sure whether any language inherently has an advantage over another one.

The most obvious "advantages" to me are utility and aesthetics/interest; from the point of view of utility, I think that English provides the most benefit in the current world. As for aesthetics (the language feels "elegant" for some reason) or interest (it has features that not many others have and that I think are nifty), I'm not sure which I'd choose. I don't think I've come across any feature so far in a language that made me want to speak that language in order to have access to that feature.

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