Spouting Out My Thoughts

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Note: This post includes random thoughts with no structure or point. By reading this you will only be wasting time, just as I was when I wrote it. There is no point, no view, no philosophical wisdom... just random words in a random order with some punctuation.

When a carpenter creates a structural masterpiece, if he leaves it in a cupboard for many years, people will still be able to appreciate the product he has created. Providing it does not rot or mould, nothing will change. It will be where he left it.

In our industry that is not how it works. It may seem that you are creating something real when you are writing thousands of lines of code; but as soon as your computer is turned off your product no longer exists. Sure, you can probably get it back or it could be stored online but it is still just a combination of bits or magnetic data positions that are not actually anything real unless being read in a particular way.

This is a subject that has been at the back of my mind for quite a few years. What is the point? So many of us, not even just geeks but everyday people, spend far too much time using computers of all types. These people are communicating constantly, consuming media and generally checking what has changed since last time they checked (which is commonly very short amounts of time).

Or perhaps look at it from the other side, the creators and curators. So many people spend perhaps the majority of their daily life creating or curating content on the Internet, be that through developing websites or moderating a community. If you are a developer, just think how much time you have spent perfecting the experience on a particular website, I can almost guarantee you spent more time testing Internet Explorer or mobile devices that any one user will spend on the website (unless you work at Facebook).

This post. I am just typing my thoughts while drinking through the 2 for 1 offer at Starbucks. Why am I writing this? It is just a combination of magnetised bits on my hard drive, it is possible that it will never even be read after I write it. So why am I writing it?

People spend so much time using computers. They have stopped being used as a tool to complement the real world, instead it feels almost like the virtual world has taken over the real world. This is the kind of thing that authors were writing fiction books about many years ago, it no longer feels like fiction.

Back to the programming viewpoint when I write a piece of code (even if I know I will be the only person to ever read it), I try my best to write it as "cleanly" as possible. Clean code, what a strange concept it was not long ago that everybody was programming in assembly and now we are worried about how clean the high level (or even higher scripting languages like JavaScript) languages are programmed. Does it matter? It is nicer for humans to read, but in the end the computer is only reading 1s and 0s. The computer does not care how nice your code is. Of course we should be writing readable code, but does that warrant rewriting entire projects (which often happens) just because the code is getting a little hard to handle?

How many hours of our life should we spend fixing our digital mistakes?

When a carpenter creates his masterpiece, he can leave it in a cupboard for a lifetime. When a programmer creates her masterpiece, it is unlikely to live more than a year let alone 50 or 100 years. Which is quite horrendous considering the cathedral I just walked past was last rebuilt completely over 900 years ago. This post might still be around in a few months, possibly so why bother?