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Real Life Debugged » Education

Archive for the Category ◊ Education ◊

DEADBEEF and Kids These Days
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

Someone should write an “Ode to 0xdeadbeef.”  For a couple years, I taught an embedded systems class at NJIT and used deadbeef to initialize memory and find memory leaks and the like.  My graduate students were initially confused that hex was useful for anything beyond binary conversions and writing ASCII characters to a display.

They tittered at cafebabe, feedf00d, and babe2bed.  Poor deprived children.

I always taught wandering through the room, and repeatedly tortured these unwitting victims with random demands, “What is 2ˆ16?  Why is it magic? What’s the hex value for ‘0′ and why is it a good one to memorize?”

From their initial stunned expressions, I could tell they secretly doubted the usefulness of such games, and wondered if Professor Simone was simply nuts.  To my joy and happiness, they caught the bug and starting bringing their fun words to class.

Denton Gentry wrote a fun “looking back in time” entry (aptly named “[0123456789abcdef]” ), reminiscing when discovering new words was a cool sign of superior nerdhood.  And nutty Professor Simone never thought of 0×0ddba11 or 0xf00f.  Ah, opportunities wasted.

This book also targets a very wide audience. Several types of folks will enjoy these mysteries. All kinds of engineers, students interested in science and technology as a career, technical and support staff who have to debug and understand embedded systems.

And maybe best of all - your FAMILY and FRIENDS! Never know what to buy for your favorite techies? How about a neat technical mystery book!

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In the past, learning and teaching debugging was, perhaps, only somewhat more haphazard than it is now. Learning from a mentor, a teammate, trial-and-error at 4 am before a customer demo. I’ve pulled double all-nighters. Painful, with a stomach-churning donut-induced sugar high.

This “approach to problem-solving” - it is really such a big deal? Donuts are pretty tasty…

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