Thoughts on Random Thoughts

Yesterday I put up a post on my blog about programming. I did this because I had read an earlier post that inspired me about the idea of trying to write something every day. The basic idea was that if you keep at it you will get better. So I had a go.

The incredible irony here is that one of the points I was making in my blog post was that much of the skill of a programmer seems to me to be innate and thus I wondered if it can be taught. So while I was demonstrating my belief in the idea of practice, I was demonstrating it by questioning it.

Um whatever,  on a good day 10 people read my blog. Thanks sis!

The post actually got picked up on a few sites and I got literally 500x more traffic than I expected. From this experience I learned a few things:

1) Wp-cache is a good thing.
2) I really do need practice writing.
3) I would have been alot better off with a few shorter posts.
When you title something “Some random thoughts on …” You pretty much give up any pretense of saying you are making a coherent argument about anything. That should have been my first clue that my post wasn’t ready for prime time.

Still reading all the comments does help me realize what I was trying to say:

1) I think people’s ability to deal with complexity seems at least to be some kind of innate trait
2) Managing complexity is a key skill in programming
3) Abstractions can both reduce and introduce complexity
4) Javascript is more complex than many people think
5) We should worry about 4) since we seem to be using it for everything now.

I’ll try to do better next time.

Things I wasn’t trying to say:

1) I am awesome
2) If you aren’t awesome like me quit trying, you will always be a loser.

For the record. I don’t think I am awesome. I have done some cool stuff and some crappy stuff. I have worked with people who were both better and worse at this than me. I’d say I am good not great. When I was 26 maybe I was great. Its hard to remember.

I also don’t think people can’t improve. That wasn’t my point. People get better there is just a limit on how much better they will get.  I ride my bike almost everyday.  I actually climb hills better than when I was 26, but I am getting no closer to winning the Tour De France much less a local cyclocross race.

4 Replies to “Thoughts on Random Thoughts”

  1. Fantastic and congratulations, and I’m glad that humble piece of writing made some difference.

    > 1) Wp-cache is a good thing.

    Indeed! I got 20,000 hits over three days and stayed up on shared amazing… amazing.

    > 2) I really do need practice writing.

    I think it’s pretty good, but sure, we could all improve.

    > 3) I would have been alot better off with a few shorter posts.

    Agree, tentatively. I like to write long posts, but people seem to prefer to read short ones 😉

    > Things I wasn’t trying to say: 1) I am awesome

    Perhaps not, but you could be. Awesome is an act you’re doing, not a trait you are.

    Anyways, I am a newly minted reader of yours, and thank you for the kind words and link. Best wishes.

  2. I hope you were great when you were in your 20s. ’cause you were always better than me and if you’re mediocre, I sucked ass. I used to think I was about an 7-8 on a scale of 10.

    I long since gave up on really writing code. It just kind of stopped being fun over time. Too many all-nighters and sky is falling stresses, I guess. But, for me at least, higher level architecture, information design and new product/feature brainstorming are still fun in exactly the same way coding once was.

    As for the innate thing – some people take joy from mentally juggling complexity and some just don’t. Or at least that’s what I think I got out of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance, the last time I re-read it.

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