Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   certain satisfaction
Thursday, November 4 1999
I don't know when or how it happened, but at some point this week I realized that I've actually become a senior-level web developer. A little over a year ago I didn't even know I had the basic aptitude and personality type to effectively program computers. I was out on the street looking for a job and was mostly concerned about finding a workplace close enough to home to allow for a commute by bicycle (in other words, not Rancho Bernardo). But I remember wanting to prove to myself that I could do all the fancy whiz-bang server-side stuff which I vaguely knew about, even though, at the time, I would have been hard-pressed to give a definition for the term "database server."
Admittedly, my SQL/database-design knowledge is still well within its arrogant/ignorant adolescent phase. But I'm tapping into an intense year of experience with storing data in other ways and now I'm finding myself cranking out SQL-based designs that easily pass DBA scrutiny. I've arrived at the point where I'm almost never frustrated by my work. I've solved so many nuanced variations of so many different problems that I've developed a substantial cerebral library of solutions to different programming problems. Since my memory is practiced and substantially better than average, I can always remember where to look to find where I solved a particular problem in the past. I work fast and effectively, with very little wasted motion. To me it subjectively seems that the number of forward steps for every backward step is running somewhere in the neighborhood of 20:1, far better than the company as a whole.
That said, it's important for æsthetic and pragmatic reasons to be humble and open to learning from others. It's easy to reach a point where I think I'm such hot shit that I become a terrible bore, reviled by colleagues and stuck in a rut. I wouldn't want to become like my colleague Eric, who is so pumped-up with his recent string of management-system successes that he feels the need to pat himself on the back with every declarative sentence. During a meeting today to hammer out the specifics of an online election system, I found his pomposity rather hard to take. I wouldn't even be through with one cringe when another transparent self-congratulation would send me into another.
That said, Eric definitely has cause for a certain satisfaction. He's an incredibly fast, industrious, and effective programmer. He's become an expert on all sorts of intricate programming issues and is happy to dispense his wisdom. He's mastered the politics of the project management system and routinely receives fat checks of bonus compensation. And, despite his arrogance, he's open to new ideas from those around him. I get the feeling he has genuine respect for my incredible year of progress as a web developer.
It seems that the more someone succeeds in the system, the more he is enslaved by it. For example, during the bad old days this summer when the ill-fated "New Architecture" team was considered the geniuses of the company and developers like Eric and me were marginalized, Eric was thinking about quitting and getting a more lucrative job with another company. He was perfectly happy with his the old Volvo kicked down from his parents. It had humble, alternative charm in keeping with his outsider status. But now, with his recent windfalls within the system, his shabby car is starting to drive him crazy. He's thinking about buying a new BMW. I try to tell him that the improvement to his image isn't worth the expense, but I can tell he's not listening. He's too self-important to drive an old Volvo now. It's really kind of sad.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next