Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Saturday, 2017.07.22
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows
absolutely everything about nothing.

		Murphy

2008.07.01

The Bungee Email Safety Feature

I proposed this idea in various conversations something like 10 years ago, before there were blogs and such. Perhaps it’s time to voice it again in this forum where any techno-entrepreneur can stumble upon it and, if we’re all lucky, run with it to some success.

Today, for the third time in as many weeks, I was the recipient of an email regretfully sent just nanoseconds after the “Send” button had been clicked. (Today’s blunder, it must be stated, was exacerbated by the “Reply All” button, but I don’t have a solution to that problem.) None rose above the level of “Major Oooops”, but we’ve all heard stories where such events have ended careers, relationships and governments to small countries. (Just kidding about that last one.)

For people caught up in the anger of the moment, too drunk to practice self restraint in front of a keyboard or those who just can’t get the hang of thinking about consequences, I propose The Bungee Email Safety Feature.

It’s simple. If you’re one of those people who feel a strong, irresistible urge to defiantly, compulsively, decidedly or with malice of forethought click the “Send” button regardless (you know who you are), then this safety feature is for you. The way it works is the email client would have a setting whereby a user could specify a number of minutes/hours/days (depending on a particular users safety threshold) that have to pass before any and all email messages they “send” are actually released into the wild. After clicking the “Send” button, their messages would sit safely in the send queue until such time the wait period had passed.

With this feature, once the sender has cooled off, found wisdom or sobered up, he can easily open up his send queue and disarm the ticking time bomb placed there prior to having attained enlightenment. And, of course, if he decides to send that message anyway, he can always cut the bungee chord. Sometimes, there’s satisfaction in that as well.

2007.11.10

Run, Legacy Media, Run!

Glenn Raynolds’ wrap up from Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas:

It really underscored to me how big and diverse the blogosphere has become. There were lots of big bloggers I barely knew of, because they’re in areas I don’t follow. Some tech folks were telling me that they liked it because, going to the tech conferences, they saw the same people every time. I think a lot of political-blogger types felt the same way. There was plenty of cross-fertilization.

But the bottom line is that the blogging pond has gotten very big, and there are a lot of big fish in it now. I think that’s a huge success for the blogosphere.

I would agree and I believe the blogger’s effect on news and information is still defining its self. Just two years ago there were a handful of blogs I kept up with on a daily basis and of those I pretty much kept up with all the posts and comments. Of that handful, just two remain that I follow that closely: Instapundit and Tim Blair. I still tune in now and again to many of the old favorites, such as Althouse, Hot Air, Gateway Pundit, Iowahawk, The Anchoress and the Advice Goddess. But the time that had been spent keeping up with the second tier blogs has been supplanted by time spent at a variety of excellent blogs related to my business and industry. Two years ago, there wasn’t much out there in the blogosphere related to my business. At least not much beyond the posting of code samples, requests for technical support and rants against Microsoft and such. Today, there are a number of excellent blogs related to software design, development and security. Joel Spolsky and Bruce Schneier are no longer such lonely examples in the blogosphere.

The adaptability of the blogosphere, where evolutionary rules prevail more so than the revolutionary, is not its only advantage over the legacy media. The blogosphere, I believe, will host a diversity of which the politically correct congregation cannot even conceive. When an environment of diversity exists without fear of reprisal or repression by guilt, there can be true dialog and understanding.

In the blogosphere there are no suicide bombers to be fearful of, entitled, unfocused hunger strikers receive the collective yawn and laughter they deserve, lies are exposed, and justice prevails. In the legacy media, you’ll find support of terrorists tactics (bombers, snipers, use of human shields), exaggerated importance of trite stories, fabrication, lies, bias disguised as journalism and efforts to incite lynch mob frenzies among their readers. True, you may find this among bloggers. But other bloggers will expose such bloggers. Legacy media does not do this to its own.

I have great faith in the general population’s distaste for being duped like this and judging from the falling circulation and stock prices among the major US papers as well as the anti-war bombs being cranked out by Hollywood, I’d say the general population is catching on to what a shabby product the legacy media is producing. And for those that see, the blogosphere is there to catch them.

2007.11.01

Not Your Father’s IDE

That’s Integrated Development Environment to you non-software developer types. More generally, I’m referring to most of the marketing material for developer tools originating from the Great Northwest. I’m seeing more and more of this stuff with the ninja-kung-fu-martial-arts theme.

“Use our tools and be an instant black belt master of codi-fu on that next killer app!”

Much of the code I see from the younger set of developers, those that are a generation behind me and who have never known of a world without a wide web, is indeed quite killer. As in the “killed the project” kind of lethality. The IDE wrapped around the .NET languages has become a warm blanket for new developers which insulates them from the consequences of sloppy design until much too late in the development process.

I came to software development just at the end of assembler’s run and when C was it. Memory was still scarce but there was a lot more wiggle room in 640KB than there was in 64KB. A bad design still failed early and a good developer understood how design effected performance. Not only did you need to know the language, you needed to understand the hardware as well. These days, systemic knowledge is a tertiary concern if it’s considered at all.

“Black Belt Programmer” is a phrase that has always made me wince. The discipline required to achieve a black belt rank in most martial arts is considerably greater than the discipline required to become an excellent software developer. I can make this call because I actually have a real-life black belt rank in a martial art (currently, 3rd Dan in Aikido) and sustain an excellent quality of life as a software developer (so presumably I’m good at that, too. Right?)

So I’m not buying into this ninja marketing hype, yet that’s what is selling to them that’s buying. Will “evil code assassins” replace “debuggers?” Will my work day be interrupted with Kato-like tests (à la Inspector Clouseau) of my skill and attentiveness? Hiiiiiieeeeeee-YA!

Leaves me with the feeling I’m not long for this world of main stream software development.


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