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I am (not) a ...

by dragonchild (Archbishop)
on May 08, 2004 at 01:43 UTC ( #351667=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is inspired by your attitude towards the code you write.

I am not a ...

  • programmer
  • code-slinger
  • keyboard jockey
  • database designer
  • webapps developer

I am a ...

  • problem-solver
  • artist
  • thinker
  • philosopher

I just happen to work with 1's and 0's instead of paint, marble, math, or ethics. There is no other difference.

We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

Then there are Damian modules.... *sigh* ... that's not about being less-lazy -- that's about being on some really good drugs -- you know, there is no spoon. - flyingmoose

I shouldn't have to say this, but any code, unless otherwise stated, is untested

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: I am (not) a ...
by davido (Cardinal) on May 08, 2004 at 04:14 UTC
    Add to the "I am a..." list, "scientist." There is a science to what goes on in so many areas of expertise in this world.

    I'm a buyer, and yet I can say all of the same things:

    I am not a ....

    • Professional shopper.
    • Money spender.

    I am a ...

    • Problem solver.
    • Artist.
    • Thinker.
    • Philosopher
    • Analyist.
    • Scientist.

    It's just a matter of what we apply our science to. Programming, trend analysis and buying, physics, economics, or even vacationing. ;)


      "Art vs Science - I issue a restraining order, Science is to stay 100 yards from Art at all times"
      Actually it was 'Religion' in my Simpsons misqote.
      IMO there is no one midset that suits hacking. The mental attitudes are as wide and deep as the discipline itself. One moment you need to be an Artist, the next you need your 'Codemonkey Engineering' head on, and after spending a while as a Linguist, a Mathematician, or whatever else your specialisms bring to the mix you have to be a able to become an Ignoramus, a Consumer and Yahoo to utterly beat and stress test your application. That's a lot of brainwork for one day.
      Who was the Turing award winner who said, if it's got to be called a science ... it isn't (referring to computer science)? ;)
        I know that Larry Wall used that line in one of his talks. I'd always thought that the line was original to him. He could well have been borrowed from someone else, though.
I'm The Joker
by PodMaster (Abbot) on May 08, 2004 at 07:18 UTC
    Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah
    Some call me the gangster of love
    Some people call me Maurice
    Cause I speak of the pompitous of love

    People talk about me, baby
    Say I'm doin' you wrong, doin' you wrong
    Well, don't you worry baby
    Don't worry
    Cause I'm right here, right here, right here, right here at home

    Cause I'm a picker
    I'm a grinner
    I'm a lover
    And I'm a sinner
    I play my music in the sun

    I'm a joker
    I'm a smoker
    I'm a midnight toker
    I sure don't want to hurt no one

    I'm a picker
    I'm a grinner
    I'm a lover
    And I'm a sinner
    I play my music in the sun

    I'm a joker
    I'm a smoker
    I'm a midnight toker
    I get my lovin' on the run
    Wooo Wooooo

    You're the cutest thing
    That I ever did see
    I really love your peaches
    Want to shake your tree
    Lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey all the time
    Ooo-eee baby, I'll sure show you a good time

    Cause I'm a picker
    I'm a grinner
    I'm a lover
    And I'm a sinner
    I play my music in the sun

    I'm a joker
    I'm a smoker
    I'm a midnight toker
    I get my lovin' on the run

    I'm a picker
    I'm a grinner
    I'm a lover
    And I'm a sinner
    I play my music in the sun

    I'm a joker
    I'm a smoker
    I'm a midnight toker
    I sure don't want to hurt no one

    Wooo Woooo

    People keep talking about me baby
    They say I'm doin' you wrong
    Well don't you worry, don't worry, no don't worry mama
    Cause I'm right here at home

    You're the cutest thing I ever did see
    Really love your peaches want to shake your tree
    Lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey all the time
    Come on baby and I'll show you a good time

    MJD says "you can't just make shit up and expect the computer to know what you mean, retardo!"
    I run a Win32 PPM repository for perl 5.6.x and 5.8.x -- I take requests (README).
    ** The third rule of perl club is a statement of fact: pod is sexy.

      Huh. I thought this was a K.D. tune. "The Beatless Sense Mongers" started it?
We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.
by jeffa (Bishop) on May 08, 2004 at 16:42 UTC

    I was so meditating on this just yesterday when i told eduardo that i should soon start looking towards Project Management. You see, i don't want to be a "construction worker" for the rest of my life -- i would much rather be an "architect".

    I really am starting to think that "coders" are going to become less skilled in the future and rely on hooking together "canned solutions" to solve the bigger problem. And that is not only where the money is not, but it is also where the "thinking" is not as well.

    When the future does arrive, i would rather be an "architect", especially since i have two BS degrees. :/


    (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)

      The problem is, there are very few Frank Lloyd Wrights, fewer wealthy patrons with the vision to give you free reign and, as yet, no equivalent of the architectural drawing for specifying your software design.

      The architect can calculate--or in most cases, just consult a pre-calculated table to obtain--the size of his beams and know they will be sufficient for the task.

      The software architect can have no such confidence. As yet, we have no way to accurately predict the loads we must cater for, and no way to quantify them if we settle upon an estimation.

      Be wary of any suggestion that Project Management is a stepping stone to either job security or job satisfaction. Project management in software requires much the same set of skills as project management in any other field. It is about enforcing the whims of customers and upper management upon the daily lives of the do-ers, and insulating each from the other. A good filing system, time management, people skills, and a thick skin, are infinitely more important and useful than any amount of familiarity with Knuth or Turing.

      It may be a stepping stone to upper management for the lucky few that excel at it, but if your joy is in programming, realise that you will rapidly leave it behind.

      I agree that the future is likely to be gluing together canned solutions, especially as the demand for software increases, but most of these bread & butter jobs will rapidly move off-shore to countries with lower costs of living. The project management jobs will rapidly follow them.

      However, the canned solutions will still need to be devised and written, and these R&D type jobs are where the money will be and these will tend to remain in the western societies for a while to come. The number of these R&D type positions is likely to remain pretty static whilst the rest of the software industry grows, and the people that will get these jobs are those that take inovative and unconventional views of the problems to be solved and are open to exploring uncharted waters.

      Examine what is said, not who speaks.
      "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
      "Think for yourself!" - Abigail
Re: I am (not) a ...
by exussum0 (Vicar) on May 08, 2004 at 17:15 UTC
    If what you work in is 1's and 0's, then you may also be an engineer, as well as a database designer, websapp developer or programmer.

    It reminds me of a joke a prof told me.

    In a town, three seperate fires started in a town, not necessarily at the same time. One in a chemist's bedroom, another in a physicist's and a third in a computer scientist's room.

    The chemist wakes up, measures the size of the fire, the heat and gets a flask of water and equally distributes the water over the fire to extinquish it.

    The physicist wakes up, sees the fire. Fills the flask to the brim and douses the fire. Fire is out.

    The CS dude wakes up, looks at it, determines the problem is solvable and goes back to bed.

    As someone who expresses himself, I don't work in just unsolved problems. The web is one big solved problem, now to get content on the web for people to see. Matrix math, to some degree, is like this too.. but knowing how to solve these problems, in real life, helps us to appreciate how bad some solutions are and what is acceptable. That balancing, is a science in itself.

    Just my point of view. :)

Re: I am (not) a ...
by l3nz (Friar) on May 08, 2004 at 15:54 UTC
    I have always found it strange how people who simply don't care about it spend their days programming, maybe in Cobol, as if programming and designing were just a (boring) job just like any other. Some of them have Ph.D.'s, too.

    I always find it inspiring to select my own way of solving a problem, trading between CPU cycles, memory footprint, disk I/O's, mantainability and what else can make the piece of code you write simply unique, and your own. Very often you can distinguish the 'touch' of a programmer by reading some code, seeing his/her own unique style.

    Most of them find wat they do boring, just something you do for a living. What a pity they don't see the beauty hidden in what they're doing. And if you try explaining it to them, they look at you as if you were positively nuts.

    I wonder if medieval artists (or artisans?) engraving churches were the 9-to-5 type looking for a better job.... and now we celebrate what they did as an achievement of humanity. Will this happen for CPAN contributors one day?

Re: I am (not) a ...
by flyingmoose (Priest) on May 08, 2004 at 22:18 UTC
    At work, I am an instrument of the machine. In spirit, I am all the things in this thread. What we do should be art, and when something is ugly...well, hey, I want no part of it.

    Dear Programming God, help me from becoming one with the machine.

    Working for my company... It's like asking Michelangelo to paint houses. Sadly, most of us paint houses most of the time... it's just something we've got to do to find those little places where we can create a Sistine Chapel ceiling when no one is noticing.

      yeah, of course they ask you painting houses. but doesn't it depend on how you paint the houses? didn't they ask michelangelo to please paint that chapel ceiling and the way he did made it special in the end?

      of course the do have to give you enough freedom to make a sistine chapel out of painting the house, and seldomly they do so.

      oh yes, and for the artist:
      I am all the things in this thread.

      i once read about the japanese zen art of flower arrangement (ikebana). they meditate until 'everything is there' and they only have to put it the right way. sounds interesteing.
Re: I am (not) a ...
by EdwardG (Vicar) on May 08, 2004 at 10:50 UTC

    You must be master and win, or serve and lose,
    grieve or triumph, be the anvil or the hammer.

    You're a yob or you're a wanker -
    Take your fucking choice


Re: I am (not) a ...
by zetetes (Pilgrim) on May 10, 2004 at 19:34 UTC
    yes, i'd definitely agree with the artist, thinker, philosopher. that's way i do like perl, for me it's the language that suits me the most. some other may like brushes, pens, VB, java, whatever. TIMTOWTDI.

Re: I am (not) a ...
by Elgon (Curate) on May 12, 2004 at 11:41 UTC

    I always tend to be very wary of threads or articles which attempt to place programming in the context of "art" or some other unquantifiable realm: Not necessarily because I don't think that Perl or any other programming language cannot be artistic, but mostly because it seems so rare that it ever is. There certainly are some pieces of code which transcend the barrier between what is essentially a list of instructions and an object of beauty: Erudil's Camel Code being one, the Perl RSA Dolphin another.

    The simple fact is that when I have to script for work I simply have to hack out a workable solution absolutely as quickly as possible - this results in code with a very limited set of cases which it can handle, but as better than 90% of the work I write (in Perl, C or Ksh) is thrown away afterwards this is rarely a problem. This is far from art, so I certainly would not describe myself as an artist. Indeed, the majority of the programming I see is similarly far from art - it is eminently pragmatic in most cases and has little to do with some of the elegant, beautiful code I have seen elsewhere.

    I don't see this is a fault or as being bad per se, just as art has its place and the solid, dull, dependable has its place. I see the code that is art as being subtle and elegant like fencing, whereas the majority of the actual work I see is more like brawling - crude and ugly but gets the job done just well enough.

    • Indentured Consultant
    • Streetfighting Coder
    • Marksman


    "Stercus! Dixit Pooh. Eeyore, missilis lux navigii heffalumporum iaculas. Piglet, mecum ad cellae migratae secundae concurras."

      And likewise, the vast majority of my jobs have been in code maintenance: not a sexy image there, but really, most of life is routine. That doesn't mean it has to be boring (although it usually is: I work with Java).

      And too, I don't see much artful in most code I've written and/or maintained. Rather the opposite: unless a system was designed "well" (for some value of "well"), I'm quite wary of it and worried about it.


      "Shaa!" ekshiish Pooh. "Eeyore eksisasguke ma paadurkakshingi sigadasurak in ekhirgarimguke melam ka Heffalump. Piglet shekhurakimguke ka angiin saamakengi kardami-ak."

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