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Misapplication of Something You Have Learned

April 25, 2010 Leave a comment

I think one of the hazards of learning something new is when you try to apply it to a particular problem. We’ve all been there.

Here southeastern Virginia, it is springtime. After a particularly cold and snowier than usual winter, the smell of fresh cut grass once again is in the air. A few weeks ago, I pulled my lawnmower out for the “first cut” of the season. It wouldn’t start. A friend of mine came over and showed me the problem: I had not drained the fuel from the last time I used the machine and now the carburetor was gummed up. He taught me how to clean it and soon we had the machine running.

Flash forward two weeks. Nearly the same scenario. I pulled the starter rope, and nothing happened. I looked at the spark plug, put a little gas in the spark plug hole which helped a little. But still, the mower would not start. I decided to pull the carburetor off again to clean it, which, still looked just as good as the last time. After reassembling, it still did not start.

Running through the possibilities in my head, it dawned on me that I had never checked the gas tank.

I had this new knowledge, I came across a problem and decided that this new knowledge would be applicable. It was not.

This applies to programming as well. I am currently trying to learn the GOF patterns. But, taking a lesson from the lawnmower, I am ensuring that I know the intent of the application.

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Categories: Learning