I’m not saying everyone should learn the web framework of the month, or that everyone should be able to recite QuickSort before being allowed to touch a keyboard, but in effect we’re dragging people around art galleries, and chastising them for picking up crayons: If you want art! Hire an artist!
It’s ok that everyone isn’t a poet, or a lawyer, or a journalist, but it’s a good thing that many are literate. It’s also ok that not everyone is an embedded engineer, a web developer, or a data analyst, but it is a good thing for more to be able to express their ideas on a computer.
Code is about communication, expression, and play—not just apps.
“I came to realize that professional baseball players are masochists: hitters stand sixty feet and six inches from the mound, waiting to get hit by a pitcher’s bullets; fielders get sucker punched in the face by bad hops, and then ask for a hundred more. We all fail far more than we succeed, humiliating ourselves in front of tens of thousands of fans, trying to attain the unattainable: batting a thousand, pitching without ever losing, secretly seeking the immortality of the record books.”—Adrian Cárdenas reflects on why he quit Major League Baseball to study creative writing: http://nyr.kr/17XTQSo (via newyorker)
Great, wide-ranging piece by Frank Chimero. If I had to pick just one excerpt to circle and annotate YES, it’d be:
Sometimes the mythology/values of the internet feel willfully contrarian, and the ones who offer it are safe in ivory towers from the effect of that bad advice. The rest of us get messed up for believing it, thinking it will some how lead to ivory towers of our own.
This is what Anders remembered. Heat. A baseball field. Yellow grass, the whirr of insects, himself leaning against a tree as the boys of the neighborhood gather for a pickup game. He looks on as the others argue the relative genius of Mantle and Mays. They have been worrying this subject all summer, and it has become tedious to Anders; an oppression, like the heat.
Then the last two boys arrive, Coyle and a cousin of his from Mississippi. Anders has never met Coyle’s cousin before and will never see him again. He says hi with the rest but takes no further notice of him until they’ve chosen sides and someone asks the cousin what position he wants to play. “Shortstop,” the boy says. ‘Short’s the best position they is.’ Anders turns and looks at him. He wants to hear Coyle’s cousin repeat what he’s just said, but he knows better than to ask. The others will think he’s being a jerk, ragging the kid for his grammar. But that isn’t it, not at all–it’s that Anders is strangely roused, elated, by those final two words, their pure unexpectedness and their music. He takes the field in a trance, repeating them to himself.
[Courage] is an awful word…I hear like a choir of angels whenever you say that word like it’s some fancy thing. But, like, courage is this thing that you dig out of a pit of shame, most of the time, I think. I think courage is not this thing where you walk around—I mean, that’s the people who’re full of crap, the people who’re walking around, acting all courageous and saying the right thing. I think the real courage is to be somebody incredibly broken who occasionally pulls it out. Like, that’s courage.
Courage to me is almost like some kind of little seedling that comes out of this dirt of embarrassment.
“Each breakthrough in hardware technology leads to more massive programming enterprises, new organizational principles, and an enrichment of abstract models. Every reader should ask himself periodically “Toward what end, toward what end?” — but do not ask it too often lest you pass up the fun of programming for the constipation of bittersweet philosophy.”—Foreword, SICP.
I spent a couple of days in december visiting my Dad. It was quiet and peaceful, just Dad, Myself, and his cats. We spent the evenings sharing the things we had in common—listening to Dad’s obscure music and complaining about our careers.
He talked about ship-building, I talked about building software—The jargon was different, but the people were exactly the same.
Same denial of risks, same castigation of whistleblowers, and the same putting everything off until it explodes. Schedules that reflect the dreams and ambitions of the company, rather than the treachery of a complex system. With no room for failure, each and every fuck up compounds, as the company moves from one artificial crisis to another.