Monday, February 11, 2008

Cutting Code in a Coffee House

I need to remind myself that its all about creative problem solving. The Web and internet is all just a facade. Software is all about a manifestation of concepts. It's a tool for creative thinking. If you can web-enable it then you are trendy.

While doing embedded development, I am limited by what can be physically rendered. I can only get things smaller up to a point. I can only do what physics deem possible (for today at least). I can be creative, but I can't fly.

Current thinking in Web technology threaten to clip my wings too. I left IT development for the embedded world because I felt bogged down by XML, HTML and the Web programming juggernauts (Java, Javascript, Ruby, etc).

The effort of putting things on the Web didn't seem all that sexy anymore.

The effort of building complicated backend servers was no longer appealing.

Building embedded thingies gives me some immediate satisfaction. People use the stuff I build. I can measure the impact. It's real. It is physical. It has a form.

But, I kinda miss pure software. Coding in coffee houses is fun. Developing something useful while sipping on coffee and eating sweet breads (doughnuts, danishes, pie, oh my) is heaven. I just need an idea.

At times, when I got wrapped up in just hacking for the sake of hacking (e.g. getting awk/ksh/bash to do things they really weren't meant to do), I didn't feel like I was contributing much. Hey, I was a member of the language-of-the-week club (Erlang, Haskell, ML, etc)!

In reality, the languages I am the most productive in has been (in no particular order): C, Tcl, Awk and Perl. I've built production systems in Tcl/C and have written my only contribution to open source in Perl (see AFT). So, why do I insist on learning new languages? Why can't I just cut code in what I know best?

I need to take the time to visit a coffee house. Just me, my laptop and some ideas.

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