Useful lists of cognitive biases

From Twitter: @matseinarsen June 5th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I just want to share these very cool lists of cognitive biases.  It’s so useful to just have an overview of these on hand – and obviously I’m not the only one thinking so, as there are several useful collections out there:

For the uninitiated, cognitive biases are identified tendencies in human decision making, or as wikipedia defines it “a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situation”.


Programming well with others: Social Skills for Geeks

From Twitter: @matseinarsen May 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


Long time no posting, but this just had to go on here.

Six steps to excellence

From Twitter: @matseinarsen August 29th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Tony Schwartz/Harvard Business Review has an interesting bullet point list of what is necessary to excel in any field: Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

It’s based on Anders Ericsson’s work in the field, and holds as well for computer programmers as practitioners in any other field.

See also: Accelerate your Perl learning

Psychology talk from YAPC::NA 2010 online

From Twitter: @matseinarsen August 29th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

The video recording of my talk from YAPC::NA on the Psychology of Perl is online.  It has a very funny beginning when Tatsuhiko Miyagawa walks into the room receiving standing ovations as I start my talk, which is really weird in the video. Still made for a fun start of the talk…

I have to admit I haven’t watched the whole video myself, but word around is that people liked it. Which is motivating for putting together a larger, more detailed talk for a smaller interested audience, rather than a quick overview for a generally less-than-interested audience.

Psychology of Perl talk links

From Twitter: @matseinarsen June 24th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Wow, I managed to sneak in a lightning talk about the Psychology of Programming, with a Perl twist, at the YAPC::NA 2010 conference. Very fun – it was my first ever conference talk, and I could certainly work a bit on the style, but it got some people thinking and talking, and that’s a great response.

Someone requested that I post the slides so he could get the url’s I referenced. I think there was too many copyrighted images in the slides for me to put them online, but I’ll post the links for reference:

Working memory limitations: Oberauer & Risse (2010), Selection of objects and tasks in working memory, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol 63 (4), 784-804.

Object Factory Pattern: Update on the Natural Programming Project

Data-driven programming: The Evidence Based Software Engineering database

Also, after my talk someone notified me about the interesting blog Psychology of Video Games

And finally: A million thanks to the people who gave me feedback on the talk!

At the YAPC::NA 2010

From Twitter: @matseinarsen June 20th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m attending the YAPC::NA 2010 which is starting today. If anyone is going there and want to chat about the psychology of programming and how it may relate to Perl specifically, feel free to get in touch with me! I’ll be hanging out with the people as we will be there trying to recruit some people over to Amsterdam too.

I’m also hoping I’ll be able to put together a lightning talk about an interesting little finding from cognitive psychology that might put a light on what the default variable does to Perl code readability.  But as the talk is neither finished, submitted nor approved on the day of registration, it is a bit unlikely that will happen, although I’m hoping for a bit of slack in the lightning talk approval process…

Ending The Long Quiet

From Twitter: @matseinarsen March 8th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

It turns out I’ve done to my blog what I swore not to: Stop updating it. However, I’ve also sworn that if I did I would come back to it and not give up.

So what happened?

Well, it’s been quiet here because the heat turned up a few notches in my day job, and the opportunities to actually apply psychological methods turned plentiful. I’ve been involved heavily in recruitment in a (the) major Perl employer these days, and while I’ve learnt plenty about the minds of computer programmers, I also find myself in the situation where there’s correspondingly little I can write about it. On one side because there’s limits to how much detail I can write about before giving out information best kept confidental, and on the other side because some parts of a recruitment process needs to be kept inside the company to not give candidates unfair advantages (or disadvantages).

Now in a related turn of events, I seem to be heading to the Nordic Perl Workshop 2010 and I’m thinking about putting together a talk introducing the idea of using methods from Psychology to Perl programming.  Alternatively just a general light-weight something about some subject from the world of Psychology of Programming.  Which leads me to, if anyone who’s been reading the blog still follows it,  what was your favourite post? Or what post would you like to seen elaborated on?  Or what would just make a good talk?

Or to put it like the quintessential computer/psychology crossover, ELIZA, would: Come, come, elucidate your thoughts!

Accelerate your Perl learning 2: From novice to adept

From Twitter: @matseinarsen November 14th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

I stated in an article some time back that a challenge in learning is that the knowledge setting experts apart from novices isn’t explicitly known by either – it’s tacit knowledge. Since that was about learning Perl, I just want to bring attention to this good series of blog posts by chromatic under the header “From Novice To Adept”, as they fill in a bit of this gap:

And a bonus: Essential Skills For Perl 5 Programmers.

Are there any other good resources out there expicitly aiming at taking novices to the next level – or is that just when general “documentation” takes over as learning instruments? What’s it like in other languages?

Also, while updating with Perl news, scruffy old has become dashing new!

Updated with new articles March 8, 2010.

The Great Perl Comeback?

From Twitter: @matseinarsen November 3rd, 2009 § 9 comments § permalink

Google Timeline is a wonderful tool! Here is a Google Timeline for the search “Perl” showing an exceptionally interesting trend:

The great Perl comeback?

It may seem like the recent efforts to market Perl, as well as the Perl Ironman blogging drive, is paying off big time in terms of online attention! The graph certainly sends a clear message that Perl is alive and kicking as never before.

Note: I tried to create comparative graphs for Ruby, Python and Java, but was left with enough noise from fake gems, snake attacks and earthquakes to fill several Hollywood movies. Any suggestions for good searches for comparison are welcome.

Note 2: Maybe this is just caused by some Google indexing algorithm gone bad, but a quick visual inspection of the first 100 hits indicated that the August and September hits are real Perl mentions. Is this a real empirical indication that the recent efforts are really paying off?

New newsletter from Programming Psychology Interest Group

From Twitter: @matseinarsen November 3rd, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

This would perhaps not be newsworthy normally, but I thought the PPIG newsletter was dead. Those rumours were apparently highly exaggerated: the November 2009 issue was just released, detailing among other things the PPIG 2009 workshop and the upcoming 2010 workshop.

It also includes a few links to some really interesting blog posts: Does parallel processing require new languages?, What do you consider readable code?, The Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors and this old article from Computerworld on how community and culture goes hand in Perl.


Oh, and it also seems to be written extensively in rhyme.