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Programming

Getting my (rubber) ducks in a row

Photo: Acer Nitro 5 laptop computer with monitor and many rubber ducks.
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In programming, there’s a term called rubber duck debugging. It’s a problem-solving technique where you describe the problem you’re facing in as simple a way as possible to an inanimate object, such as a rubber duck. 

It’s turned out to be a good way to solve many programming problems. When you describe how something should work and then look at the system and see how it isn’t working, it often becomes easy to spot where the issue is.

You could perform the exact same thing with a person — in fact, it’s one of the things that pair programmers are supposed to do — but when another person isn’t available, a rubber duck can come in pretty handy. So I’ve started a collection.

The newest addition is the Einstein duck, located below the big monitor on the left. I supposed I could’ve ordered it from Amazon, but I bought it at the gift shop the History of Science Museum when I visited Oxford last month.

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