Monday, 20 December 1999
When a jar stinks, better not open. "When a jar stinks, better not open". My room mate came up with this surprising piece of wisdom. Great, I really enjoy this type of cultural exchanges.

Since a couple of weeks I've been hired as a Smalltalk Guru, the private trainer of a junior programmer.

    He and I are a remarkable twosome.
  1. My pupil is a Hong Kong Chinese, who has lived in Holland for a couple of years already.
  2. I myself am Dutch, with a rather Chinese mindset thanks to Asian experiences.
Together we are one and a half Chinese. So the Chinese are the majority within the remarkable twosome. There is a but, his Dutch is much better than my Mandrin, so we speak Dutch most of the time, with an occasional word of Chinese, which astonishes the fellow office dwellers who hear the Chinese chit chat in great amazement.

We just completed bug busting a dirty piece of code. The code was so awful that even the debugger ran into errors. Fortunately it appeared that the bug was elsewhere. So, we left the jar unopened as: "Nothing ventured nothing gained, Nothing opened nothing stained.".

The bug appeared to reside in quite a clean bit of code. Not the very best, but doable with a bit of effort. We added a bit of documentation to clear up things further. A new saying was born: "If the jar is not quite clear, better you wash it first.".

The real fix required a complex bit of logic, too much to squeeze into one clear ifTrue: statement. So, we isolated the logic into a new method, in line with a new born Chinese saying: "If it's too much for one jar, better use two".

Till next week!

With special thanks to Paul Wai Kon Lee for his inspiring words of wisdom.