Last Modified 04/20/2011
Visitors since 1/22/2008
The Black Box Syndrome
"People tend to blame the part of the system they understand the least."
I was born in 1970. As I was growing up, computers were just beginning
to come onboard to cars. As a result, the problems that occurred were
frequently blamed "on that dang computer". At the company I worked at, our trucks started getting
more getting "multiplexed" controls in 2000. As a result, a lot of
longtime mechanics would blame the computer or the software when
problems happened. As a result, our department took a lot of heat.
Some deservedly so, most not. We went through 11 managers (including
interims) in 3 years. But the mindset remains.
"People who have the fastest answers to complex problems tend to have the least understanding of the problem".
On Programming Styles.
"There's many out there. Pick one."
A lot of "holy wars" are fought over styles. Best to pick one and leave some people unsatisfied than to use many and cause inconsistency, which leads to confusion. If you're going to change, do so on an infrequent basis to avoid "fad" decisions.
"There's a lot of electrical engineers who had a course or two in programming and end up writing code. I know Ohm's Law. Does that make me an electrical engineer?"
On the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
"Knowledge is gained from books. Wisdom is gained from experience."
"People rise to the level of expectation."
On finding an employer
"Work for a company that specializes in your line of work or has your work as a core business. Otherwise, you're really just another necessary expense, like the janitor."
On the use of the word, kid.
"I'm not really sure when I started referring to younger people as kids, but I think it was about the time I started living under my own roof and paying my own bills."
On the difference between computer science and software engineering disciplines.
"Both mechanical engineers and physicists deal with the mechanical laws of the universe. But you wouldn't hire a physicist to build a bridge, would you?"
On toy commercials, and pretty much everything else in life
"Some kids can have it. some kids can't"
-Tim Swanson as a child, deducing what "some assembly required" meant.
"In documentation. We often capture the what but miss the why. So, we end up wondering why we did that"
-David "Dave" Walker
"Idiots memorize. Geniuses derive"
"People rise to your level of expectation"
"Abstraction is just selective ignorance"
-Scott A. Davis
"Don't confuse incoherence with brilliance. Genius is not the ability to speak without being understood. Genius is the ability to explain difficult concepts in simple terms. See the works of Gene Ray and Richard Feynman for examples of each"
On commenting source code:
"I don't think a program is finished until you've written some reasonable documentation... I think it's unprofessional these people who say, 'What does it do? Read the code.' The code shows me what it does. It doesn't show me what it's supposed to do." Joe Armstrong