That A**hole

That Asshole My first programming job was for $30k at a time when the typical entry-level salary was $60k. I was a college drop-out with only hobby programming experience and I needed work for food. Someone took a chance on me. Another developer, a guy with a Masters, there heard about it, said “That asshole.” … (Read More)

Your First Programming Language

“What should my first programming language be? Should I learn Javascript or C or C++ or Java or LISP?” … (Read More)

A Mythical Man Month Corollary Conversation

(A conversation that happened with another developer. Lightly edited to protect the innocent. Also, there may be typos and grammatical errors, since it is copied pretty directly from an IM thread.) K: I can sit here and think that 100 man developer teams have as their sole advantage over 5 man developer teams that they build systems that can only be maintained by a 100 man developer team…but I have no proof of that, and we already have such a system, so what can I do? (I really do think that…it can’t be accurate at the limits, but it’s marginally true at some wide range that the only thing long-term gained by adding a developer is that they will help you produce the same system that only an n+1 developer team can maintain.) A lot of successful businesses disagree with me, so maybe I’m wrong…but it feels true. Throw 5 devs at a problem and they will solve it perfectly well with a system that can be maintained by 5 devs. Throw 100 devs at the same problem, and they will solve it just about as well (probably worse) with a system that only 100 developers could maintain. … (Read More)

She Will Be There

It is Saturday, November 2nd, and another day for the nurses and the dozens of humans who have outlived their lives. Among them walks a disheveled and unshaven man wearing a crooked crucifix. “I want to go to church,” he tells every nurse who will listen. It was three or four nurses before one answered kindly. “It’s Saturday, Mr. Gibbons. Church is on Sunday.” For a moment he stood there, mouth moving silently (a symptom of dementia,) before answering. “I want to go to church. I want to pray for my wife.” The kindly nurse considered, paused on whether to tell the poor soul his wife had been dead for a decade and decided against it. “It’s Saturday, Mr. Gibbons. We’ll have chapel tomorrow. On Sunday. I’m sure your wife will be there then.” She felt a little guilty about the small lie, but Mr. Gibbons could never keep his dates straight, and it ended the conversation. … (Read More)

College Thoughts

I’m sick of being a college drop out. I have the time and the money and I only have ~20 credit hours left, so I’m finishing my BS in CS. One of the lib ed courses I need to finish is “Democracy and Democratic Theory.” Off I go to buy textbooks. And the required texts are Hobbes, Machiavelli, Rousseau, and a short book on writing. No textbook in sight. I have never met or heard of this woman (Prof Kosmetatou at UIS). But, she has already made my list of favorite teachers ever. … (Read More)

Our Future King

The future king of America is (probably) currently alive and is (at least) thirteen years old. And when I say probably, I mean that I would bet at even odds that in my natural lifetime, America will have a monarch or a dictator or an emperor or some other word for an executive serving for life and wielding practically unlimited power (even if only sophisticated observers realize how much power that is). It might be as few as four years. It might be as many as forty. It won’t be longer than sixty. … (Read More)

Golden Handcuffs

Let’s talk golden handcuffs. I heard about the concept on the Advisory Opinions legal podcast to describe the dilemna that faces Harvard educated lawyers who accept jobs at major law firms in New York City. These young, entry-level lawyers are paid ridiculous salaries, even within law, and then are given workloads that are impossible to handle without working 100 hour weeks. … (Read More)

Blessed Karl Pray For Us

They are there, hundreds of them, packing into a room to commemmorate a dead man they didn’t know, who died five generations before their time and took with him a world they never knew and cannot imagine. But, they think they do, and they long for it. Poor American children living in the secular age, mourning a long dead Austrian and what he represents to them. Heaven help them. … (Read More)

A Conversation About AI and UBI

C: Eventually, AI will be sufficiently advanced that most jobs will be eliminated. We will need UBI to ensure people have access to the wealth created by the AI. … (Read More)

Letter from a Dev Dinosaur

Dear Hipster Coders, If you fashionably hate OOP, but your fulltime job is writing OOP, but your “OOP” code is full of 🤬🤬🤬🤬-ing switch-case statements, then you don’t hate OOP, and you aren’t cool and trendy. You’re trapped in 80s writing bad PASCAL, and we’re here for you when you finally realize that polymorphism wasn’t invented for your testing framework. With Love, The Dev-Dinosaurs … (Read More)

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