>I, like many programmers, will optimise the smallest code
>just to eek out the smallest gains. In doing this you
>learn the art of optimsation.
I would have to disagree with you on that. The art of optimization is knowing when it's worth optimizing and when it isn't. In my experience, most code isn't worth optimizing. Over-optimizing to save a few microseconds (or less!) is rarely worth it. That said, there are certainly times when you do need to optimize and fixing up a particularly slow (and often used) bit of code (for example, a regex inside a loop) can certainly save the day but writing obscure code to shave off a few microseconds would not classify as "art" in my book.
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