Saturday, April 29, 2006

Time for Song

Hacking and methodologies and pointy-haired-manager busting and SQL and language wars and best practices and requirements gathering and testing and bugs and dealing with spaghetti code and arbitrary deadlines and corporate America and viruses and still trying to fit time in for family and gaming and reading. Whew.

Take a break and enjoy a song from eccentric folk singer Johnathan Coulton. This one's called Code Monkey and it's hilarious. That it works on several levels (poking fun at programmers and their struggles with management, social ineptness, and dreams of success) might be genius, or it might be serendipity.

Either way, the song is catchy and this page includes a link to the song, Coulton's song notes, and feedback from several listeners. Elsewhere on his site you can also find the lyrics. The only thing I would have changed is the song's reference to "Tab and Mountain Dew." In my universe, it would be "Code Red Mountain Dew."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Define Happiness

If someone came to you and asked, "Are you happy with your IT job," how would you respond?

Obviously, the person asking would have an impact. You might answer differently if a friend asked than you would if a manager asked.

At the risk of sounding Clintonesque, I think you also have to clarify the question first, by saying, "Define happiness."

If you spend time reading the mentally engaging discussions at Joel Spolsky's site Joel on Software, you might get the impression that the ace developers out there all want jobs where there's no overtime and a working environment void of interruptions. Both of those are good things to have, and both are the sorts of things the evolved software development experts talk about (guys like DeMarco and Lister).

The truth is that it's considerably more complicated than that. There are varying types of developers and varying types of IT jobs. So, as is often the case, before we can answer the original question, we have to answer several other questions.

I'll be exploring this before returning to the happiness question.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Software is hard

My motto for a lot of this blog is,
"Making software is easy, making it right is hard."

Well, I was certain others had thought of that sentiment before me, and now I have proof. Donald Knuth had this to say in a lecture, captured in a document of the American Mathematical Society. main conclusion after spending ten years of my life working on the TEX project is that software is hard. It’s harder than anything else I’ve ever had to do.

There you have it. Don't take my word for it, listen to the college professor.

Thanks to the gang at Joel Reddit for linking to the article. If you want to learn about the world of software, spend some time at this Reddit site. Great stuff.