Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Developers Versus Programmers

I think a lot of people in CS are guilty of interchanging the terms "software developer" and "computer programmer" when describing what they're interested in what they want to do or what their position is, but this editorial brings up the great point that the two terms aren't actually equivalent. I warn you that the article is too caustic about straight up programmers, but if you put aside the negative connotations you do have some well-drawn distinctions. It's reasonable to say that a programmer is what is more colloquially referred to as a "code monkey" and is not what your typical CS major is interested in doing because that's bound to get repetitive and tiresome over time. Software development is much more interesting because you look at big pictures and solve problems on all scales rather than just code-level. This shouldn't suggest that just strictly programming is unskilled labor or that it's particularly easy, but rather that those who prefer to just code are usually people who could care less about things like long term viability or simplicity or how the users will react to something. They typically just follow the specs given to them, typically by developers if not project managers. Obviously I'd consider myself a developer, but people are really needed for both positions just like we need doctors as well as janitors. Someone's gotta do the dirty work, and a lot of these people tend to enjoy it. I don't think it's that big of a deal to make this distinction between developer and programmer since it's not like we have an accepted textbook definition of either, but all computer scientists learned the hard way how important semantics are, which is why people like me talk about junk like this.

Following up on yesterday's news of Google purchasing YouTube, we now have a better reason for the purchase: sheer hit statistics. This disparity between Google Video and YouTube is pretty extreme, and I can't imagine that Google didn't notice. Meanwhile, iTunes will have two more studios on board right after the holidays, though we don't know who quite yet. I definitely think that putting movies and tv shows online is a big part of counteracting piracy by offering a reasonable, legal solution, and ABC totally gets that. They're actually extending their free online television viewing service after seeing huge success, and they're already on iTunes of course. I just can't help but praise companies who just get it like ABC is right at this moment. Speaking of iTunes, Apple actually bought out the only English radio station in Bombay (no, it's not Mumbai, screw that stupid name change) and made it Hindi-only in a supposedly surreptitious attempt to boost iPod sales with a fresh ad campaign. They definitely saw a boost in sales, and I'd say it's a fairly valid assumption to say that they meant for this to happen, though it's almost as evil as it is smart. Still, I don't think people in Bombay care as much about English songs on the radio since I'd imagine that it's pretty badly managed. Lastly, a new type of television has been unveiled called Laser TV that supposedly takes advantage of much more of the colors that the eye can perceive than today's high definition televisions display. It sounds good and well, but I need to see some demonstrations to be convinced.

It looks like yesterday's Pan's Labyrinth trailer was a tease and we now have a full-length one to rock our socks off. I'm finally really interested in this movie now, especially given the great reviews so far. All that's left today are posters. We have some alright ones for Ghost Rider, though I like the older ones better. The sadistic minds behind Saw III used the actual blood of the actor who plays Jigsaw in the original version of this new poster for the movie, though the prints themselves are not bloody. You can bid on the original if you're a vampire or just really weird though. Lastly, I leave you with this trippy new poster for The Prestige.

Click to enlarge

I'm gonna finish up this post quickly and do the Tuesday Twosome:

1. Shower or Bath
Shower, because a bath doesn't actually make you clean! What's the appeal of lying in your own filth?

2. Comedy or Drama
Comedy, because I need the humor to keep me going here.

3. Coffee or Tea
Tea, because I think that caffeine fix is way bad for you. Plus, tea just tastes so much better in general and is more fun to drink.

4. Fiction or non-fiction
Fiction, because I'm tired of non-fiction!

5. Television or Movies
Television, because Hollywood is pumping out a lot of crap right now whereas so many new shows in the past couple of years have been slam dunks (though not necessarily in ratings, I'm afraid).

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