2006-10-03 23:20 in /politics/US
Okay, you anti-Bush protesters. Yeah, you there holding up signs in front of a theater that shows primarily liberal propoganda films, in the middle of one of the most liberal neighborhoods of one of the most liberal cities in the US. Who, exactly, are you trying to influence? Seriously, step back for a moment and ask yourself why you have chosen this place for your protest, and whether you really care more about change or about impressing your peer group.
2006-10-03 23:19 in /tech
Paul Graham writes today that writing is harder than programming, saying:
With hacking, you never have to worry how something is going to come out. Software doesn’t “come out.” If there’s something you don’t like, you change it. So programming has the same relaxing quality as building stuff out of Lego. You know you’re going to win in the end.
I wonder how many programmers agree with this. Mostly, this makes me feel like Paul Graham must be a much better hacker than me. (Which is probably true.) It also makes me feel like he probably does most of his programming in a very different environment than I do. (And, we note, he did decide not to work in this particular environment any more.)
I do find this statement that follows particularly interesting:
Whereas writing is like painting. You don't have the same total control over the medium.
I would say that almost all of the times I have been most scared of failure as a programmer have been closely related to not having control over “the medium”, as it were. Sometimes I do, at a certain theoretical level, have control over the medium; but even if the operating system, compiler, interpreter, or standard library is open source, the costs of fixing a problem is almost always prohibitively high. At other times, there’s a limitation or bug in a closed source product, or in a piece of hardware, and then there’s really no hope.
I’m actually curious why Paul Graham doesn’t recognize that this lack of control does surface in programming too.