Hippies

My band played Bele Chere up in Asheville this last weekend.  It was a lot of fun.  And sorry for the brevity of this post.  I don’t have much more exciting to say at the moment than this: some time in the last year we got really good.   I suppose that happens when you...

It Would Be Cool If

I write code all day, and the IT department has a number of very good and pleasant programmers.  But for the most part I work alone since I’m the only web programmer of the bunch.  While I do some very cool things, I don’t get to tell many people about it.  And that’s what would be cool.   EDIT: Let me ramble a bit.  Last week I rolled some sub-classes into the application to provide security context and the framework for a single-sign-on (SSO) system.  This week I built a representational state transfer (REST)  application programming interface API that relies on the SSO system for authentication.  The API emits JSON (I’m done with parentheses now) and XML data on demand, or can return JSON data specifically tailored to Fusion Charts.  All this tech was developed to support a new demo version of our software and a tracking system so we can report on usage, conversions, trends, etc.  There is so much cool going on that I can’t help but look smug.  But then I try to tell people about it and get glossy stares and head nods. Yeah, I know.  Being a nerd is like...

Try, Catch, Shrug

I’m working as a software contractor in Winston-Salem, for those who are not up to speed with my life.  I know, I move a lot.  It’s all part of a marvelous chain of “plan B”s that have turned into something far better than any “plan A” I could come up with 10 years ago.  Anyway, as a contractor I am basically a hired gun.  I don’t get ownership of any of the software I’m in charge of, but it’s my job to make sure it works, bugs get fixed, and new features get added. I inherited the software I’m working on from a previous hired gun, and it’s like taking over a classroom from another teacher, or a meal from another cook.  Occasionally you come into something good, but most often you end up questioning the other person competence to even put their underwear on facing the right direction.  Guys, the hole goes in the front.  Ladies… I just… I don’t know.  Women’s underwear always seems so gloriously simple yet endlessly confounding.  But by and large I’m not worried about the ladies getting their stuff on right. I digress. The software code I get to work on every day expresses a habit that jumps out at me.  In many modern programming languages there’s a structure called “Try, Catch.”  It basically amounts to having a plan B when you don’t get what you want.  You “Try” something and “Catch” when it doesn’t happen your way.  You don’t have to have a plan B if you’re doing something simple, but this is how you put one in place if you were...

Fail Fast

As a programmer in programming circles, I hear  a philosophy going around these days that can be summarized as “Fail Quickly.”  The idea is that we learn best from failure, and lots of small failures followed by lots of small corrections can lead to large (aggregate) successes.  I have seen this work pretty well in software development, and also in musical development.  But I read something the other day that got me thinking.  I forget where I read it, but the gist of it was, “The greatest risk is the one you didn’t take.” As a normal adult, having experienced a pretty normal awkward teen existence, I tend to avoid failure.  At least the failure of the personal kind.  That’s not to say I won’t take risks, or at least imagine that I dream big.  As a programmer I start small and flesh out an idea, testing what works and what doesn’t, because failure is a great teacher.  As a musician I work up musical pieces that I know are going to be challenging and I’ll fail… until one day, through practice and persistence, I stop sucking.  I get better through this process.  But in my personal life I don’t fail quickly, because I don’t like to fail. And neither do you. What I’m saying is that we all have blind spots.   Speaking from experience, I make the same mistakes over and over again, but somehow don’t call them mistakes, and therefore don’t learn from them.  For instance, I have purchased pants at Target on numerous occasions, and each time I find that I don’t like them.  Yes, the...