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i got two degrees and you get this

its been awhile since the last posting, but like I said, I was on vacation.

Now i recall leaving you all with some morbid and probably slightly disrespectful accounting of death on an airline. Well, today its time for some thing completely different.

Today is about design patterns. Some of you may be familiar with these in the computer science field, especially the book 'Design Patterns written by the GoF (Gang of Four). This was hot schnizz I got involved in when I was in college and I loved it. The idea is that for any given situation (assuming you were using object oriented programming), there is a correct solution or pattern. For example, you may have a situation where there are many objects that must have controlled interaction with the environment, much like airplanes at an airport. However, these objects don't need to communicate with each other; they can be controlled via a control tower. This solution is futher defined as a pattern and named "mediator" and the idea was that if you could identify enough patterns, you could establish a pattern language. Then as you were merrily designing your code, you could say.. "this is a great time to use mediator! or what about flyweight!"

Dorky eh? but what is interesting about this is where it comes from. If memory serves me correctly, the idea of a pattern language was presented by Christopher Alexander, an architect. He believed that for a given situation (here is a space 10 by 10 foot with certain characteristics), there were right patterns (a full length window, angled skylight, etc.). He also believed that if a solution would contain a certain feeling of "rightness" and without that, people would instinctively dislike the area. So his thing was that it was possible to design rooms, buildings, whole towns in a way that was right and made people feel good as a result.

so, now the point. How does this help you or more specifically me? Well, this is what I do. Many people have problems with using public toilets, for many reasons. The one that I can identify with is cleanliness. So when I visit one of these charming facilities, I immediately identify the most appealing looking stall, and then I avoid it. I then look for the creepiest stall there (not including the actually filthy one). I am looking for the one with the wacky door handle, strange alignment, bad lighting, anything that gives you a bad feeling about the stall. And that's the one I use.

I know, its a rather sad sketchy description of a great idea that impacts at least two fields of thinking, and I've reduced it to potty humor.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 5, 2008 10:52 PM.

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