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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dreaming in Code

Jumping Jehosephat - someone's written a book about it. You have no idea how disturbing it is to dream in code: a particularly stressful repetitive experience. Always, in my case at least, running through the coded statements of some pointless infinite loop, asking "what the heck is this doing?", unable to prevent its continued iteration. Language will vary depending on what you are working on - C, C++, assembler, microcode, hell-blasted SOUL for chrissakes, which none of you will have heard of (it isn't this one; it was dead before the web was invented) - as will the goal that you know it isn't realizing.

Surefire sign that you need a vacation; and a surefire sign that there's no damned way you can take one.

The blurb suggests the book is about the dark art of coding, rather than dreaming, per-se. And make no mistake - it is an art; an act of creation that no amount of schooling can imbue. Indeed, the very worst programmers I've dealt with have all had stellar Comp-Sci academic backgrounds. And the worst of their drivelings put my dreamscapades to shame.

8 Comments:

Blogger Zach said...

I should think that somehow this is asking for a Matrix joke.

12:54 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

I still haven't seen the third one.

Oh, wait - was that the one with the powdered twins with dreadlock wigs?

Maybe I have then. Or that was a glitch.

1:10 AM  
Blogger DarkoV said...

One of the blurbs about the book was The first true successor to Tracy Kidder's "The Soul of a New Machine". I recall Mr. Kidder's book and reading in back in the day.

Back in the day when the company in the book, Data General, still existed. I think EMC bought Data General in the late 1980's, swallowed it, extracted the core capabilities, and regurgiatated the majority of the company out.
It wasn;t pretty.

So, if this book is the first true successor to Soul of a New Machine, what does it bode for the programmers?

9:08 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

Don't remember "Soul of a New Machine", but - bloody hell - Data General rings a bell! Wasn't that before DOS?

I had this odd mental association with CP/M.

9:49 AM  
Blogger DarkoV said...

Data General sprung form the minds of...do you remeber these folks, Digital Equipment Corporation?

Actually, Kidder's book was pretty good, especially in describing the hours and sacrifices people put into a project that was soon found to be obsolete. I've read some of Kidder's other books and found them equally fascinating. I think Soul of a New Machine won him the Pulitzer for non-fiction that year (1980-1981?)

10:11 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

I know and love DEC - first real computers I worked on were Vaxes, then microVaxes, which were still pretty damned big.

Those were the days of magtape spools burling in the background like James Bond, and of "removable" Winchester drives with 8 LP-sized disks in a column.

As opposed to the first unreal computers I worked on, which were designed and built and condemned to the company I worked for. And for which "SOUL" was the hideous language they invented to program it in.

11:17 AM  
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