the codist - programmerthink

Never Be A Programmer In A Suit

Published: 04/30/2015

Military people wear uniforms to enforce the idea of unity. Business people wear suits to show they mean business. Yet I've only worn a suit one day as a programmer and that was my first day ever back in 1981.

I got a migraine and had to go home at noon. Not a great start to a career. But I came back the next day sans coat. Over the next few months I ditched the tie as well. For the next 3 years I worked at a defense contractor as a programmer but the only one without a suit or tie. Somehow they tolerated me, probably because I did a good job at everything. Or maybe they forgave my youth. Or thought I knew someone important.

I've always said that if a computer would work better if I was splendidly dressed then I would go Armani. Of course that's stupid, it doesn't care, and neither should anyone. It's not that I am some kind of stereotype ponytailed geek who rarely changes clothes either (these days I have little hair anyway). I prefer to wear jeans and a golf shirt. At my current contract they only allow jeans on Fridays.

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What Makes a Programmer Good?

Published: 04/04/2015

If a baseball hitter succeeds at least 30% of the time in getting a hit they are considered good. If a golfer routinely plays under par they are considered good. A shooter should hit the center of the target. A banker I suppose should roll in money.

All of these are relatively easy to measure as to whether they are good or bad or at least compare them to others in the same field.

Measuring the qualities of a programmer is much more difficult. Even describing what those qualities are is almost impossible. Yet there are clearly programmers who are good and those who suck terribly and a lot of average ones.

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Wanted: Dead Or Alive Programmer

Published: 03/19/2015

Like many programmers, my email inbox is filled every day by an assortment of random recruiter emails, many of which are baffling, bizarre and often completely unrelated to anything I've ever done.

Sometimes I wonder how my resume winds up in so many people's hands. I am sure they get sold from place to place like laundered currency.

Today I got an email for job as a registered nurse trainer. At least once a day I get a job for a help desk person. How do these folks come to these conclusions? I wonder if the resumes are not only sold but altered in the process, like some kind of telephone tag process.

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Picking Server Side Architectures Today Is Overwhelming

Published: 03/15/2015

For a project I've started at home which might become a startup (but only if I can prove it makes sense to do so) I've been investigating a broad swath of server side technologies.

All I can say so far is "my head hurts."

I spent nearly a decade doing Java of various flavors including architectural stuff but it has been 6 years since I gave much thought to anything bigger than my blog. My day job has been iOS for quite a while, and before that a C++ game client.

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Really Complex Travel Software Doesn't Exist For A Reason

Published: 03/14/2015

I am trying to plan a trip to England and Germany to visit relatives I haven't seen since I was a kid and the planning is driving me nuts. Trying to coordinate flights and trains and get all the timing to work out is almost impossible.

My previous job was at a brand name online travel company (now sadly just a brand of someone else) so I know a lot of how the backend of travel works. But that's not any benefit. Travel is ridiculously complicated, and the lack of good integration and no easy way to make money makes building anything that would help me impossible.

Airlines pay at most $10 per booking regardless of complexity and this fact alone killed most of the travel agency business. Of course if your flight is simple booking online at an OTA or an airline website is easy. Try doing something more complicated and you are basically screwed.

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