Sorry, I’ve been busy. The books pile up, the relatives come into town, there is LEGO to build with your son, or videogames to beat.
Also, when things are going pretty well, I don’t need to vent. So I’m not posting much.
But to get 2010 started….
You see it again and again, the same stuff over and over again: Newly clever implementations of linked lists. Somebody’s idea of what a hash table should look like, crippled with innovation. Yet another object file format, another command line option parser, another memory allocator. A thread pooler that you can’t find any /obvious/ flaws in, but that you know will expose some subtle, nasty eleventh-hour race condition that will make your life living hell just before ship.
And a shiny, fresh face pops into your cube, quivering with excitement: “Say, did you know that you can do (insert gnarly, evil thing here) with C macros?”
“Yes, but the last person to try that had his soul seized by Knthulhu, and was dragged screaming down to the Place Where They Still Use Punch Cards and Octal, and if you listen carefully you can hear –”
“Octal? What’s that?”
Your generation did not invent the facepalm. It’s probably been around since the caveman days; I can easily imagine Throg hitting his head repeatedly on a rock when Grognak tried to nasaly insert Fire again.
Deja vu, ad infinitum.
The future of computing is its own past, mashed-up and remixed by young’uns who have yet to fear the dark corners, the places where us old farts went in with similar bushy-tailed attitudes and came out with ashen-faced, eyes barn-door wide and with fifty new words for “pucker.” Heed us. The stove is hot if you touch it. The stove is not only hot, it will incinerate your soul. At some point you will want to make pancakes or wash dishes for a living rather than run another build or merge another check-in or fix another bug, and at that moment you will be worthy to take up this mantle of curmudgeonly benevolence and utter the words:
“Son, you ain’t seen nothin’ …”
[usually they start edging away when you get that wild look]
“… back in ’09…”
[they are consulting their cell phones and iExcuse generators]
“… uphill, both ways…”
[you are left alone now, in blissful silence. Code away.]
I have too many important things to type with these fingers before I retire than to waste time on another hash table. Unless it’s a really, really good one. Or I’m bored.