No, I'm disappointed in the efforts of my peers.
Talk to a "professional" software writer about the quality of
the code that he produces (number of bugs, lack of documentation,
stilted user interfaces, etc.) and he'll quickly blame it on
his boss/work environment:
- boss never gives us TIME to test things properly
- the bozos in Marketing that come up with these requirements are idiots
- the Sales folks who designed the interfaces listened to too many users
and didn't impose any consistency on their suggestions
- the documentation folks are all English-lit majors and completely
clueless as to technology
I.e., the *implication* is that, left to his/her own devices, you'd get
a MUCH better product! It's all the OTHER bozos on the bus that are
compromising HIS/HER product!
Then, when they are in an environment (FOSS) where there *are* no other
bozos *imposing* their will on their efforts, they produce the same crappy,
untested, undocumented, poorly defined code! And, when you call them
to task about it, they shrug and say, "No one was PAYING me for it,
so why should I do those things (that I don't WANT to do)?"
It's like looking at a house that a "professional" painter recently
finished painting and commenting on how sloppily he cut in the
trim around the windows, the fact that there is paint on the
glass, paint on the ground, the mismatch of colors on two adjacent
walls, etc. And, when questioning him, he replies "homeowner wanted
it done 'on the cheap' so I didn't bother with all the prep work,
cleanup, color matching, etc."
OK. But, then, when you visit him at his folks' house (or his own)
you notice the same slip-shod workmanship! But, now his "excuse" is
"I did the job for free; why should I bother with those annoying details
that take so much time to do properly?"
I.e., you've got an opportunity to *shine*; to create something
with no "arbitrary" constraints beyond what your own abilities
impose. And, instead of rising to that occasion, you *sink* to
your typical level of performance.
Consumers ahve "trained" the industry to provide them with
untested, low quality products -- because they don't demand/expect
If your customers aren't demanding better, what incentive do you
have to *do* better?
To be the best. Personal challenge.
Good coder always makes it shortest and fastest.
If program can cause hardware problem by pushing it to limit
or programmer did not know hardware is behaving. Once
users using one application start complaining
randomly their number crunch result gives error. Different
users reporting without any pattern. After spending time I could
focus where the error was coming. I could narrow down the codes
(machine instructions) from which I could generate a short script
loop. Now I could see the failing errors ~1 error/25,000 loops.
When I was chasing related logic gates on the main frame, found it was a
One gate's leading edge rise time was like 2 nanosecond slow. Hardware
fix was devised and field change order(FCO) was issued Because this
kinda things software guys, hardware guys never cease to work. BTW,
I was Mutician working in the field with people at CISL at MIT.
But that's the point -- with FOSS, you have removed all of those
outside pressures, constraints, influences, etc. that "get in
the way" of your doing your best. So, you should be *showing*
your best work -- without resorting to excuses.
I grew up surrounded by craftsmen/tradesmen. The bricklayer
had the most *ornate* brickwork; the carpenter the most ornate
woodwork; etc. Each effectively said, "I have this skillset.
I am my own client. I don't need to 'profit' from the work
I do for myself. I can *afford* to show my best effort
(even though I may never encounter a client who can afford
to pay me to do so!)"
FOSS developers seem to take the opposite approach: I'll just
work on what interests me AS IF no one was ever going to see
how *incomplete* (because I['m not interested in the WHOLE SOLUTION)
that effort WILL be.
Sure! I frequently "redo" things that I'd previously considered
as "done" -- simply because my skill level has increased or I've
leraned a better way of evaluating my previous work.
E.g., each time I bake something, I tweek the recipe based on observations
that I made the *last* time I baked it (and wrote on the recipe "for next
time"). Instead of "settling" for something that may be "good enough",
I want to see how I can make it *better* (if I screw up, I can always
return to the Rx that I had used "the time before")
At one point, I strove for consistency in my baking. E.g., so that
every cookie tasted and looked like the one before. (I call this
the "Oreo" approach -- you can eat them until you fall over because
you have no awareness of each *new* cookie entering your mouth!)
Then, I realized that folks would zone out when eating them. They
didn't *notice* what they were putting in their mouth after the first
("Gee, this is good! I'll have -- many -- more!")
So, I started deliberately introducing variation to each batch;
varying sizes, thickness, hardness/crunch, color, etc. And, noticed
that folks found eating them to be far more engaging! As if they
were wondering what the *next* one would taste like -- instead of
silently assuming it would be identical to the one they were still
The goal isn't to make cookies but, rather, to make "eating experiences"!
I, unfortunately, am the latter type: I "eat to live" (instead of live to
eat) so treat it largely as a chore -- to get out of the way as quickly as
But, that doesn't mean that I expect others to have the same "disdain"
for food that I have. Instead, I try to exploit their eating patterns
and give them pleasant surprises.
I put various liqueurs in certain baked goods -- knowing that most of
this will "burn off" in the oven. But, by carefully controlling the bake,
I can arrange for a *hint* to remain. Folks that wolf things down
never perceive those subtleties. And, folks that are more attentive
find themselves frustrated -- when they *sense* a hint of "something"
but its gone before they can identify what it was.
For them, the experience is much more memorable.
[The "oreo" analogy is really appropriate! Not many folks "cherish"
a memory of sitting down with a bag of oreos...]
When I make scalloped potatoes I use real butter and sweet milk along
with fresh chopped onions. The difference in the taste just by adding
real butter for me is the difference between enjoying the dish and
giving it to someone else who doesn't give a flip. If it doesn't taste
good there's no point in eating it for me, anyway.
Potatoes = mucous causing acid causing food, Rememeber how to figure out
+ and - lead using potato? Milk = acid causing mucous causing, Onion good. I eat to live. One close friend of mine who used to enjoy good
food always who knew all the good eating place in town died from stomach
cancer almost 20 years ago.
Most of my meals (for myself) are "checkoff items" -- how quickly and
effortlessly can I get the right mix of nutrients into my body without
making an "event" out of it. I tend to only spend effort on things that
I make for others -- as *they* tend to enjoy these things so I can
justify the time spent.
E.g., I'll make three batches of biscotti this week for various folks
to enjoy. About 6 hours of my time, total. But, I suspect it will
translate into just as many hours of those folks *eating* them
(they tend to be eaten patiently, "over coffee")
There are only a few dishes that I truly enjoy. But, even those tend
to get "wolfed down" instead of "savored". OTOH, I will enjoy the
*memory* of the meal long after it's settled in my GI tract!
I guess there are times that I'm just hungry and don't take my time
enjoying the food, but if I eat too fast it usually gives me indigestion
which I tend to regret! So, eating slower usually removes that problem.
You must be skin and bones if you really don't like to eat much at all.
I get the "adequate" amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight.
I just don't get them in a slow, savored meal. It's not uncommon for
me to eat a 10-12 oz steak. Or a sizeable bowl of pasta. Or, a *couple*
of grinders made from a Bolognese sauce on a bun. Sunday lunch is
always a pseudo-oriental pork dish -- I end up eating 1/2 pound of pork
tenderloin in that meal.
OTOH, I think all I've had to eat, so far, today has been a 4 oz piece
of lemon soaked cod fillet. I may make some rice later this evening...
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