An owner’s guide to programmers

Thursday 13 September 2007

Devizen has an essay he (she? there’s no author’s name there) titled Programming Can Ruin Your Life, but I think it should be called An Owner’s Guide To Programmers, and should be required reading for significant others of people engaged in writing software. Some choice bits:

The same traits that make you a great programmer can make you an awkward, misunderstood and miserable human being. ...

When faced with an interesting programming problem your mind will chew it over in the background. Maybe it’s an algorithm you need to develop, maybe it’s a tricky architecture problem, maybe it’s data that needs to be modeled. It doesn’t matter. Your mind will quietly work the problem over in search of a solution. The “ah-ha!” moment will come when you’re in the shower, or playing Tetris. This practice of constant churning will slowly work its way into the rest of your life. Each problem or puzzle you encounter will start it’s own thread; the toughest and most troubling of which will be blocking. ...

You will spend your free time feeling guilty about not working. But you will be working. Your hands may not be at the keyboard, but your mind will be.

He does a good job breezily covering the pitfalls of extending a digital mindset to the analog world. The lack of undo is particularly unfortunate.


Eh, reminds me of an essay written by Atari ST hacker Dave Small for the french magazine "ST Mag".

Only published in the french translation, AFAIK ("Les affres de la création", the original title was "Idling")

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