Counting Is Hard

2022-08-20 21:47:18 PDT (last update 2022-09-06 21:56:47 PDT)

Turns out my last post contains an off-by-one error. I was only three posts behind.

This is one of the most common errors in computing: a fact surprising to non-computingists, I think. Computers are supposed to be really good at counting things. They are. The problem is that we humans need to let the computer do the counting. When we try it ourselves, we inevitably get close but no cigar.

Turns out that the manual blog-post-numbering I was doing as I manually made Markdown files for my post was off by a bit here and there. Fixing it turned into a half-hour mess of renaming files and editing their contents to make GitAtom happy again.

The obvious solution is to fix my GitAtom blog software to do post numbering for me. That's hard, and I'll have to think about (a) what I want to happen, and (b) how to make it happen in the Python codebase. Again, maybe (a) is the surprising part: it turns out that figuring out exactly what we want the computer to do is arguably the hardest part of software development.

The computer is a real-life Literal Genie. The computer will (software bugs notwithstanding) do the most annoying version of exactly what we tell it to do. With great power comes great failure, mostly.

A Literal Genie maliciously granting a wish.

For now, I'll just wade on manually and try to avoid mistakes. Like that ever worked.