"Geeks and the Women/Men Who Love Them" or "Normal People are from Earth, Coders are from Sedna"
This is a great post folks are talking about on Matt Warren's blog (a C# design engineer at MSFT, and one of the guys designing Xen, a language whose name is clearly stolen from me, as I have patented and trademarked all things Zen. Send me a check next time you meditate. :) )
At my company, we all are deep, deep in the development of the 2nd revision of our .NET eFinance SDK (which I had the pleasure of demoing via WebCast today) and I think it's fair to say we're consumed. We're refactoring and generating code and improving and building and abstracting and dancing and generally killing ourselves. (Apparently Patrick is feeling the pressure and went to McDonalds. If I remember correctly, he was a vegetarian once, so this is a concerning turn of events.)
I'm trying to work out more, watch movies, read/listen (Audible.com+iPod...use it, live it) but I'm still up late running through designs in my mind. It's the kind of consumption you've only read about. And it's usually in the context of tortured artists that cut their ears off experience. My wife, however, is an MBA. The operative letters being "Master" and "Business" while I am a "Master of None." I came home today and told her about our new plan to introduce a new interface - blah blah - .NET solution - blah blah - reduce compile time dependencies - blah blah - revolutionize the company - blah blah - TLBs and Interop assemblies. I painted a picture for her complete with charts and graphs and jazz hands. All it elicited was "that's nice dear." Talk about an artist not being appreciated for his work! :) Now it's 12:34am, she's asleep on the couch and I'm coding away! Must...create...must...dance...jazz hands!
Perhaps it's time for me to get my Master's. But not in CS. I think someone as tortured as I should be a starving artist and get an MFA in Software.
Some highlights of Matt's post:
Like an artist I must channel this energy through my being and out my fingers, onto a digital canvas, because that is what the expression of my ideas become to me, my art. I paint with the keyboard, patterns in symbols, lines and logical structure. It's more than the simple words, the names and statements, the loops and threads.
It speaks of motion, a liquid flow, a living breathing thing, and you can feel it when you read it, drinking it in.
Real coders know this. They know their programs are alive, somewhere there in the machine, even if only caught in time.
The best comment on the post was this:
Oh yes, I knew this already! I pray for the day my husband comes up from the cold, dark, stinky basement and asks for a beer and plops down in front of the TV to watch the Packers play. Heck I'd settle for a white wine spritzer and figure skating at this point! I sit with a smile on my face nodding as I listen to him excitedly rant about .Net and how he got a (whatever you call it) down to .003 seconds from its previous 3.8! I hug him and tell him I'm proud of him and he can do anything because I know that one day, that idea that's clawing and chewing its way out of his brain will make it out!