The Path

I’m having a lot of trouble getting back into programming – there’s too much that bugs me about it. The duplicated compiler flags, the esoteric build configs, the unending design complexity that breaks all the rules and requires absolute perfection to feel happy about.Granted, I’ve always had exceedingly high standards, but why is it so hard to find the simplest joy in writing code any more?

I can’t even sit at the computer for more than an hour without feeling lethargic and anxious. How will I ever work with computers again?

The only thing that sounds attractive at this point is sitting down with a plain text editor that includes the most basic editing functions, and write algorithms that include no less than 2 levels of functional displacement. Either I’m an extreme perfectionist, or finding the correct flow puts the level of productivity too low for reasonable work.
I remember the metric, like “programmers should only write 10 lines of code a day,” or something silly like that. I loved whizzing through the keyboard like oil on water, as a constant flow of ideas from my mind to the machine. My fingers were faster than my brain, which felt really good.
What does this mean? Am I moving away from code and into English or something else? Am I an artist living a scientists life? I feel like this path will lead me to a higher level of skill, but am I the only one?
By |2009-08-29T06:58:00+00:00August 29th, 2009|Uncategorized|2 Comments


  1. Paddy3118 August 29, 2009 at 10:22 am - Reply

    You might try playing with some corner of a language that you don’t usually – say, Unicode, or whatever. Set yourself a small task where the goal is to learn (and not necessarily to end up completing the task)!

    Then again; a programming holiday could be good too.

  2. carmen September 11, 2009 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    whats this sitting down business? sometimes i write a quick function when someone i was talking to is on the phone, on a thinkpad perched on a shelf

    also have you tried something besides C++ and Python? both drove me crazy pretty fast. OCaml has some DSP stuff. and Haskell has a lot of interesting compositional tools in the nascent stages (see Yaxu)

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