All Code Is Fleeting, Don’t Act Like It’s Forever

Feb 3, 2016

Of all the things I have written in my 34 years of being a programmer, the code I have written that I know is still in use is very limited. Prior to my previous job the only app I know still exists is Deltagraph, which for some reason is still being sold 27 years after I started its main.c, and much of the original code I imagine is still in there as the app hasn’t changed dramatically since we stopped working on it in 1994 or so.

Everything else is gone, replaced, out of business, shut down, superseded or archived for no apparent reason (as if some future archeologist might inquire). I bet most of yours is gone as well. The people who wrote all those banking and insurance systems in the 60’s can say the code has outlived them, if they could. Not all code is malloc() today, free()ed tomorrow of course.

These days I work on iOS apps, and their lifespan is fairly short. At my current job the bean counters hear “mobile” and always respond “expense, you’re just going to rewrite it anyway.”

Read the rest of the article…

Trapped By A Database

Jan 6, 2016

I managed to move to my new apartment in another state right after the US Post Office sent their address database updates to their customers. Just before that someone moved into the apartment across the hall which is one number less than mine. I have the highest number in the building.

Guess what, now I know exactly who uses the Post Office database to autocorrect all addresses. Many of my address changes were autocorrected to my neighbor's apartment number instead of mine.

The funniest was my new checks. I updated the address online for the bank which was correct of course. When I ordered new checks at a local branch they verified my address. Today I got the checks—with the autocorrected apartment number. The check printer clearly ran the address through the database and so now I will have to get them reprinted. Anyone want to bet it's still wrong?

Read the rest of the article…

A Moving Experience

Nov 1, 2015

I am in the process of moving halfway across the country so I won't be able to write much until I am settled in the new place and all my stuff gets back to me. This has been a long process that took most of my time.

For the first time in my life I am actually taking a full-time job in another state, after living around here for all but one decade or so, one year in high school and a year in the Bay Area 20 years ago. I had a number of folks who wanted to hire me here but basically nothing was all that interesting any more. The new job is quite worth the effort in getting there.

Even better will be that my commute will drop from 2.5 hours per day to just 30 minutes total and eventually when we move only 20 minutes. That's the shortest commute I've ever had outside of working at home. The idea of not being exhausted when I get home from work will take getting used to.

Read the rest of the article…

Programming Is Not A Dying Profession

Oct 24, 2015

While reading the post Coding Academies Are Nonsense I came across the statement that coding academies aren’t worth any investment because it’s a dying profession.

The author goes on to say “I see coding shrinking as a widespread profession. Not because software is going away, but because the way we build software will fundamentally change. Technology for software creation without code is already edging toward mainstream use. Visual content creation tools … will continue to improve until all functionality required to build apps is available to consumers — without having to write a line of code.”

Someday, maybe, but long after I am dust and ashes. I’ve been hearing this type of thinking for all of my 34 years as a programmer. Generation after generation people have been promising that programming will go away and be replaced by filling in forms, dragging around icons or connecting symbols, and so far none of them ever pan out as practical for anything other than pretty demos.

Read the rest of the article…

The Art of Failing A Phone Screen

Oct 14, 2015

Currently I am helping my soon to be former employer in finding a replacement and it’s been an eye-opener.

Although recruiters are bringing the resumes, I am reading them, picking who to phone screen and doing the phone screens. My questions are based on what I know of the 4 apps we have (one a major update) and are all basic stuff any working senior level iOS Objective-C programmer should be doing almost every day. Nothing strange or tricky at all. I also wrote the job description as well.

Some days I just want to scream. Out of all the resumes and maybe half as many screens one person correctly answered the questions. They had a good interview as well but couldn’t come to an agreement unfortunately. The rest—not pretty.

Read the rest of the article…