31 Mar 2000 deirdre   » (Journeyer)

What Nick meant to say was:

It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years!

It's from the intro to Alma, one of Lehrer's more amusing songs. And, in my personal case, five years. Bleah, it's not just sobering, it's downright depressing.

Sloppiness is a bad coding technique.

Speaking on Kelly's entry from last night, the most extreme example I can come up with personally was spending three weeks to fix ONE line of code when I was working on some MacOS voodoo project. The bug would only show up, sometimes, after my app had quit. It took a week to find a way to reproduce it reliably, two weeks to muck about and figure out what was going wrong, and two minutes to fix it when I found it. It was a real data mining expedition.

Early in my career, when compilers were abysmal and fast RAM was still measured in milliseconds, I coded power plant control software in Pascal. Because it took two hours to do a full compile, we typically did it once a day, sometimes only twice a week. Thus, we sometimes had a LOT of errors that needed to be fixed. Once, I got the error, "Pass 1 errors detected, pass 2 not run." It turns out that a semicolon at the end of a line was replaced by a colon instead. With an utter lack of things like diff and lint, I think that one was 14 hours. We didn't have enough space at the time to be able to keep a revision back. Remember 8" floppies? We had those. Hard drives were not yet available to mere mortals, so diff wouldn't have helped a lot.

3500 people have viewed the 10 minute total idiot's guide and the only comment I've heard that was specific was that it really DID take one guy 3 hours and 52 minutes to compile all the requisite components. Others have wanted more expansion, but I really wanted a KISS approach as a lot of people were having trouble just getting on the runway. The number of hits are kind of amazing considering that it was unlinked from the front page of the site until yesterday (doh!) when I revamped the pages. It also comprises about 35% of all hits to the baypiggies site.

Rick and I did some log-grepping on Linuxmafia last night. He's serving about 100k pages a week, and his BALE page (Bay Area Linux Events) page gets about 10k hits a month. The most amusing part is that the host is an 8-year-old 486. Go Linux!

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