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Search - "there's still some good in the world"
This is more just a note for younger and less experienced devs out there...
I've been doing this for around 25 years professionally, and about 15 years more generally beyond that. I've seen a lot and done a lot, many things most developers never will: built my own OS (nothing especially amazing, but still), created my own language and compiler for it, created multiple web frameworks and UI toolkits from scratch before those things were common like they are today. I've had eleven technical books published, along with some articles. I've done interviews and speaking engagements at various user groups, meetups and conferences. I've taught classes on programming. On the job, I'm the guy that others often come to when they have a difficult problem they are having trouble solving because I seem to them to usually have the answer, or at least a gut feel that gets them on the right track. To be blunt, I've probably forgotten more about CS than a lot of devs will ever know and it's all just a natural consequence of doing this for so long.
I don't say any of this to try and impress anyone, I really don't... I say it only so that there's some weight behind what I say next:
Almost every day I feel like I'm not good enough. Sometimes, I face a challenge that feels like it might be the one that finally breaks me. I often feel like I don't have a clue what to do next. My head bangs against the wall as much as anyone and I do my fair share of yelling and screaming out of frustration. I beat myself up for every little mistake, and I make plenty.
Imposter syndrome is very real and it never truly goes away no matter what successes you've had and you have to fight the urge to feel shame when things aren't going well because you're not alone in those feelings and they can destroy even the best of us. I suppose the Torvald's and Carmack's of the world possibly don't experience it, but us mere mortals do and we probably always will - at least, I'm still waiting for it to go away!
Remember that what we do is intrinsically hard. What we do is something not everyone can do, contrary to all the "anyone can code" things people do. In some ways, it's unnatural even! Therefore, we shouldn't expect to not face tough days, and being human, the stress of those days gets to us all and causes us to doubt ourselves in a very insidious way.
But, it's okay. You're not alone. Hang in there and go easy on yourself! You'll only ever truly fail if you give up.44
TL;DR: If you're an Android user, do yourself a favour and check out https://simplemobiletools.com/ . You're welcome.
Dear diary, today was a good day.
A small part of my faith in humanity was recovered after I found about Tibor Kaputa.
Apparently, this guy - like many of us - was fed up with the bloat, bugs, bullshit and 'features' of many of the stock Android apps that come preinstalled on most phones. And so, he decided to make his own.
Unlike most of us however, he actually pulled through. And then he made them open source.
No bullshit permission requirements.
No ads or tracking.
And no, not just 'toggle white/dark mode', I'm talking 'pick your own color scheme', both within the app and for the app icon (!).
And then sync your colour scheme across the entire suite of apps (!!).
Simple UI, with a lot of customizable settings.
And if you get them from f-droid, it's all completely free as in BEER too!
I've spent a lot of time in the last year trying to find software that does what it's supposed to do well, without trying to pull any sneaky bullshit in the background or annoy me with crap that I don't care about in a miserable attempt to show off its useless features.
I'm not a fan of Medium myself either, but the author's article about how his suite of apps was born really resonated with me. If you care about privacy, open source software, and doing things right, you should really give it a read: https://medium.com/@tibbi/...
I'm particularly a fan of the Gallery, the File Manager, and the Music player apps, and the others don't look half bad either.14
A programmer once explained Nietzsche like this:
A long time ago, god created the world, but forgot to leave a developer documentation, thus the whole world was like legacy code...
And humans are like the end user of this world, and some among them spent time studying it, using the Moral API, hoping to get a result of "http 200 ok" from our world for the peace of mind. But the true operation of this world is still yet unknown...
As time passes, humans begin to find that in Moral API, good and evil are two base classes, and all the other moral properties (like ethic, justice and stuff) are just other classes based on those two classes through multiple inheritance.
One day, when programmer Nietzsche was observing the world's runtime behavior, he came up with a question:
"Did god really use good and evil as base classes? Could it be that they are actually derived classes?"
Most of the world is currently in the favor of mankind, and god must've wrote individual user cases for it's end users, he thought.
This made Nietzsche thinking: if end users are considered into two cases: the strong and the weak, how would the world be designed base on its user story?
Let's think about the strong, they can bully the weak as they please, and there's nothing the weak can do to stop them. In this case whether the Moral API exists or not doesn't fulfill the need of the strong.
But when it comes to the weak, Nietzsche thinks that because the weak cannot fight the strong, they need to belittle bullying and praise the strong for being nice. When the weak does this, it covers their powerless state to some extent, making them look somehow equal to the strong by being capable of commenting.
God might have coded the Moral API to fit the weak's requirement, also adding some public methods for the weak to comment on the strong. If the strong takes care of the weak, they call him nice and good, if the strong bullies people, they call him bad and evil.
That's when Nietzsche realized, that good and evil are both derived classes from the weak, and the base class should be the strong and the weak.
Then he started a series of studies about the Moral API, and got some thesis that persuaded lots of other end users...7
Im gunna get a lot of flak for this but just hear me out:
People keep asking me what it's like working in a male dominated industry. They have conferences for women in tech empowerment and I get forced to go to them because I'm the only female in the office.
The thing is. I don't feel oppressed. I get that we "need" more women in tech but from my experience and from talking to various women at my old university, the reason women are avoiding the tech industry isn't because it's male dominated and they feel out of place. It's because a) it doesn't interest them or b) they never thought of it as an option (like myself).
Computer programming should be in grade schools and highschool's just like math and science to help educated not only women but people in general that it's an option. That's what's going to help more women get in the tech industry. Not these bullshit conferences and women's rights in tech movements, and hiring women over men (even if she's worse than him in skill level) just because she's a woman.
Frankly I think it's downright shameful that companies that are male dominated feel the need to hire women over men just because of gender. If I'm applying somewhere and there's a better male candidate, hire him! I'd much rather your company have a good team then a "balanced" team. Great tech teams are what will bring along new and better technologies, not balanced ones.
Keep in mind I'm talking about Western Civilization here, I get that a lot of countries are still struggling with the balance of women's rights at all but this is Canada.
I also get that there are probably some women who want to join tech but won't because it's too male dominated but frankly that's a shit poor excuse. If you really wanted to join tech then being surrounded by make co-workers wouldn't deter you from living your life the way you want to. If you feel so uncomfortable around men that you won't go into an industry you love because it's male dominated then I'm sorry for you and you should probably see a councillor to get that worked out.
I feel more oppressed by having to put aside my programming and being forced to go to these conferences than I do in the every day workplace. My boss is literally more offended that I don't feel offended about being a woman "minority". He spent a week pestering me about how I would feel about this, that and the other thing if it happened to me.
I'm not saying nobody ever says anything even remotely sexist to me but frankly I could give two shits- I'm here. I'm coding. I'm good at what I do and I'm comfortable enough with myself that I can just blow off the comment (which probably wasn't even meant to offend me) and continue working. But you're going to get that wherever you go, this isn't a flaw of the tech industry. This is a flaw of the world and it goes both ways (men get flak too).28
I spent over a decade of my life working with Ada. I've spent almost the same amount of time working with C# and VisualBasic. And I've spent almost six years now with F#. I consider all of these great languages for various reasons, each with their respective problems. As these are mostly mature languages some of the problems were only knowable in hindsight. But Ada was always sort of my baby. I don't really mind extra typing, as at least what I do, reading happens much more than writing, and tab completion has most things only being 3-4 key presses irl. But I'm no zealot, and have been fully aware of deficiencies in the language, just like any language would have. I've had similar feelings of all languages I've worked with, and the .NET/C#/VB/F# guys are excellent with taking suggestions and feedback.
This is not the case with Ada, and this will be my story, since I've no longer decided anonymity is necessary.
First few years learning the language I did what anyone does: you write shit that already exists just to learn. Kept refining it over time, sometimes needing to do entire rewrites. Eventually a few of these wound up being good. Not novel, just good stuff that already existed. Outperforming the leading Ada company in benchmarks kind of good. At the time I was really gung-ho about the language. Would have loved to make Ada development a career. Eventually build up enough of this, as well as a working, but very bad performing compiler, and decide to try to apply for a job at this company. I wasn't worried about the quality of the compiler, as anyone who's seriously worked with Ada knows, the language is remarkably complex with some bizarre rules in dark corners, so a compiler which passes the standards test indicates a very intimate knowledge of the language few can attest to.
I get told they didn't think I would be a good fit for the job, and that they didn't think I should be doing development.
A few months of rapid cycling between hatred and self loathing passes, and then a suicide attempt. I've got past problems which contributed more so than the actual job denial.
So I get better and start working even harder on my shit. Get the performance of my stuff up even better. Don't bother even trying to fix up the compiler, and start researching about text parsing. Do tons of small programs to test things, and wind up learning a lot. I'm starting to notice a lot of languages really surpassing Ada in _quality of life_, with things package managers and repositories for those, as well as social media presence and exhaustive tutorials from the community.
At the time I didn't really get programming language specific package managers (I do now), but I still brought this up to the community. Don't do that. They don't like new ideas. Odd for a language which at the time was so innovative. But social media presence did eventually happen with a Twitter account that is most definitely run by a specific Ada company masquerading as a general Ada advocate. It did occasionally draw interest to neat things from the community, so that's cool.
Since I've been using both VisualStudio and an IDE this Ada company provides, I saw a very jarring quality difference over the years. I'm not gonna say VS is perfect, it's not. But this piece of shit made VS look like a polished streamlined bug free race car designed by expert UX people. It. Was. Bad. Very little features, with little added over the years. Fast forwarding several years, I can find about ten bugs in five minutes each update, and I can't find bugs in the video games I play, so I'm no bug finder. It's just that bad. This from a company providing software for "highly reliable systems"...
So I decide to take a crack at writing an editor extension for VS Code, which I had never even used. It actually went well, and as of this writing it has over 24k downloads, and I've received some great comments from some people over on Twitter about how detailed the highlighting is. Plenty of bespoke advertising the entire time in development, of course.
Never a single word from the community about me.
Around this time I had also started a YouTube channel to provide educational content about the language, since there's very little, except large textbooks which aren't right for everyone. Now keep in mind I had written a compiler which at least was passing the language standards test, so I definitely know the language very well. This is a standard the programmers at these companies will admit very few people understand. YouTube channel met with hate from the community, and overwhelming thanks from newcomers. Never a shout out from the "community" Twitter account. The hate went as far as things like how nothing I say should be listened to because I'm a degenerate Irishman, to things like how the world would have been a better place if I was successful in killing myself (I don't talk much about my mental illness, but it shows up).
I'm strictly a .NET developer now. All code ported.6
Serverless and death of Programming?!
I hate serverless at work, love it at home, what's your advice?
- Is this the way things be from now on, suck it up.
- This will mature soon and Code will be king again.
- Look for legacy code work on big Java monolith or something.
- Do front-end which is not yet ruined.
- Start my own stuff.
Once one mechanic told me "I become mechanic to escape electrical engineering, but with modern cars...". I'm having similar feelings about programming now.
All of the sudden everyone is doing Serverless, so I looked into it too, accidentally joined the company that does enterprise scale Serverless mostly.
First of all, I like serverless (AWS Lambda in specific) and what it enables - it makes 100% sense and 100% business sense for 80% of time.
So all is great? Not so much... I love it as independent developer, as it enables me to quickly launch products I would have been hesitant due to effort required before. However I hate it in my work - to be continued bellow...
_I'm fake engineer_
I love programming! I love writing code. I'm not really an engineer in the sense that I don't like hustle with tools and spending days fixing obscure environment issues, I rather strive for clean environment where there's nothing between me and code. Of course world is not perfect and I had to tolerate some amounts of hustle like Java and it's application servers, JVM issues, tools, environments... JS tools (although pain is not even close to Java), then it was Docker-ization abuse everywhere, but along the way it was more or less programming at the center. Code was the king, devOps and business skills become very important to developers but still second to code. Distinction here is not that I can't or don't do engineering, its that it requires effort, while coding is just natural thing that I can do with zero motivation.
_Programming is Dead?!_
Why I hate Serverless at work? Because it's a mess - I had a glimpse of this mess with microservices, but this is way worse...
On business/social level:
- First of all developers will be operations now and it's uphill battle to push for separation on business level and also infrastructure specifics are harder to isolate. I liked previous dev-devops collaboration before - everyone doing the thing that are better at.
- Devs now have to be good at code, devOps and business in many organisations.
- Shift of power balance - Code is no longer the king among developers and I'm seeing it now. Code quality drops, junior devs have too hard of the time to learn proper coding practices while AWS/Terraform/... is the main productivity factors. E.g. same code guru on code reviews in old days - respectable performer and source of Truth, now - rambling looser who couldn't get his lambda configured properly.
On not enjoying work:
- Lets start with fact - Code, Terraform, AWS, Business mess - you have to deal with all of it and with close to equal % amount of time now, I want to code mostly, at least 50% of time.
- Everything is in the air ("cloud computing" after all) - gone are the days of starting application and seeing results. Everything holds on assumptions that will only be tested in actual environment. Zero feedback loop - I assume I get this request/SQS message/..., I assume I have configured all the things correctly in sea of Terraform configs and modules from other repos - SQS queues, environment variables... I assume I taken in consideration tens of different terraform configurations of other lambdas/things that might be affected...
It's a such a pleasure now, after the work to open my code editor and work on my personal React.js app...2
> But var is still useful in that it communicates "this variable will be seen by a wider scope". Both declaration forms can be appropriate in any given part of a program, depending on the circumstances.
Now you would imagine that after this comment the author added a good example of this or at least had a reference to another part of the book where it showed this, but nope it goes on to include this note:
> It's very common to suggest that var should be avoided in favor of let (or const!), generally because of perceived confusion over how the scoping behavior of var has worked since the beginning of JS. I believe this to be overly restrictive advice and ultimately unhelpful. It's assuming you are unable to learn and use a feature properly in combination with other features. I believe you can and should learn any features available, and use them where appropriate!
Which again, "durr there's a usecase for this feature" or rather it's coming with basically an insult towards people who don't think you should use var without actually addressing anything. And what usually happens when someone tries to "there's a usecase for everything" is to either be really vague, or come up with some silly thing that you "might" do.