Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Quote of the &*#!@ Day

Warning! The following blog article contains coarse language intended for adult audiences. Reader discretion is advised.

Actually I'm just joking. There is coarse language in this one, but I think swearing is actually quite funny. Honestly, if you were ever to hear me swear you'd think it was so ridiculous sounding that you'd just laugh at me.

I am a computer programmer. I find it fun, but sometimes it gets to me. Programmers have to break down a process into it's tiniest bits of logic, and then use specialized computer 'code' to tell the computer to carry out those very same logical steps. These days the development environments are very good at letting you know when there was a typo in your code, but almost no good at all at letting you know when you've made a mistake in your logic.
Sometimes finding those logic errors can be very tedious work and other times it is downright, pull-your-hair-out frustrating.

Today Shaun said something that for me captures the true experience of computer programming at it's worst. It is a bit harshly worded, but it is very similar to thoughts that go through my head at times. I think most programmers out there will recognize his frustration just as I did and laugh along with me.

Last night there was an automatic update done for our software. There was a problem though that caused an unexpected result for many of the clients that ran the update. Today we received call after call after call, and I spent all morning on the phone. I used my time restoring computers to the pre-updated state, while Shaun looked in his code to find the problem. A while later he said "I found the problem."
"What was it?" I said.

Shaun's answer both shocked me and made me laugh. Just like a true programmer who just realized a simple mistake had big consequences he said, "I had a fucking 'true' instead of a goddamn motherfucking cock-sucking son of a bitch 'false'!"

I believe that swearing goes hand-in-hand with programming, and if Shaun's ability to swear means anything, I think it means he's a hell of a good programmer.

P.S. This is post 197!


Gwen said...


Jason said...

This reminds me of a programmer in the sixties who wrote a small little routine into a very sophisticated accounting package. Back then, many commands to operate a mainframe computer were given by typing in the commands on a console typewriter. Often it was frustrating to see the computer start rewinding and unloading tapes instead of loading them and proceeding if you made a typo, for example. The little routine merely searched for commands that had choice four letter words and responded by typing out "SAME TO YOU, JACK! :)