Put constants before variables in your if-statement comparisons. (Yoda expressions)
Is this really that widespread? I've only encountered one programmer who did this before, and I'd never heard of it before seeing his code. I find it makes code more difficult to read than is necessary. Certainly I've never bothered with this; confusing = and == is something I do very, very rarely, so I've never seen the need for it.
People do do it. I too find it ugly and not particularly helpful.
The other thing that is like this that people get religious about is only returning from a function at one place at the end of the function. Don't find this particulary helpful either because it often has the effect of making if-statement/conditional nesting deeper which I find harder to read then just bailing out of the function early in relevant cases.