Archive for December, 2002

Cruft Crisis

Monday, December 2nd, 2002

When you spot a class interface that is no longer used by any client, but that nobody dare delete, that’s cruft. It is also the word “seperate,” added to a spellchecker’s private dictionary in a moment of careless haste, and now waiting for a suitably important document.


Monday, December 2nd, 2002

All programmers are optimists. Perhaps this modern sorcery especially attracts those who believe in happy endings and fairy god-mothers. Perhaps the hundreds of nitty frustrations drive away all but those who habitually focus on the end goal. Perhaps it is merely that computers are young, programmers are younger, and the young are always optimists. But however the selection process works, the result is indisputable: “This time it will surely run,” or “I just found the last bug.”

– Frederick P. Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month

Choosing a Subject and Theme

Sunday, December 1st, 2002

Whenever you have a problem, whether you are writing an article or building a doghouse, do not look inside for the solution. Do not ask: “How do I do it? Why don’t I know it?” Look outside and ask: “What is the nature of the thing I want to do?”

What is the nature of an article? First observe that you cannot do everything at once. Whatever you are writing – a theoretical work on a revolutionary idea or a small piece about a narrow concrete – you cannot say everything you know about the subject. You must accept this premise fully, so that it becomes part of your subconscious and operates automatically. You can do this by asking yourself whether you always knew everything you know today. Obviously you did not. Knowledge is acquired in steps.

– Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction