Sunday, February 04, 2007

Programmers Hate to Code?

Well, I missed the Superbowl again. But I baked chicken and made mashed potatoes for the first time, so that came out well. And my cold has been getting better. So anyway, since software engineer is poised to be one of the top 50 occupations for the next decade, I figure it's as good as any topic to start off my weekend edition with. When you think "programmer" you pretty much immediately think "computer programmer", and associate it with nerds along with code. I imagine that non-techies are scared of code and figure that we have our jobs (er, I will soon) because our passion is to code. What's funny is that it's generally not true though. Most programmers I know, myself included, don't actually like to code. I know, shocking, huh? And if you're a programmer shaking your head, then just think about it. What really gets us up in the morning is the task of solving problems. I think the jobs we see as dead end jobs (ala Office Space) become such when the challenge goes away and we're stuck dealing with bureaucracy. Meanwhile, places like Google are perceived as Heaven on Earth because engineers are free to do what they do best: find problems and procure an optimal solution. Even though it's a complete pain to read others' code, frameworks like [Ruby on] Rails receive geek praise for the libraries they can reuse. Why? Because who wants to rewrite code when you can modify old code (in corroboration with new code) to solve new problems? When you think about it, every popular startup came out of someone's desire to solve a problem, not someone's desire to write thousands of lines of code. On top of that, we'd rather poke ourselves in the eye than read a programming text because it's so dull. It all makes sense when you think about it, just put it all together.

I'm going to keep with the format from the end of last week, I think it'll help reduce the time I spend per post. By now, we're all pretty familiar with Google's Docs and Spreadsheets thing, but one blogger snooped around and managed to find some code pointing to something called "Presently", which would convert documents to slides. Not sure how similar in functionality it would be to PowerPoint, but this particular blog is usually fairly reliable. That is, I don't think he faked it; I think this is the real thing, but I guess it's still in alpha. Maybe another Google product would divert attention away from media giant Viacom demanding that YouTube remove over 100,000 clips featuring copyrighted content. Good luck with that one, Google!

It looks like Apple recently filed a patent that would theoretically allow iPhone users to download content from the iTunes Music Store from the device itself. This is something that critics have clamored for since the product was announced without this feature, but remains to be seen is whether they'll include this in the June release of the device (unlikely) or if this is just a big tease and it'll never happen (even more unlikely). I'm sure it'll come eventually, and I'm sure they thought about it before people starting whining.

I know this is probably a biased source, but reports are starting to come of Vista being a memory hog. Hopefully, I'll have more evenhanded comparisons to offer you soon enough, but it sounds like it's much harsher on memory on XP. I'm almost positive that it uses more memory if you have more RAM though (i.e., it's not an absolute amount). This is the same way that Firefox works as well (another memory-sucking application).

Here's a one-liner: if you don't want to download GIMP or Paint .NET but need to edit personal photos then here's a good roundup of some of the more popular sites. I personally just stick to Paint .NET.

I'm not going to waste much time on the box office report since obviously, most people didn't waste time at the box office! The Messengers took top honors with under $15 million with a sad showing from critics, though still better reviews than the second or third movies, Because I Said So and Epic Movie. I'm still very happy that Pan's Labyrinth is at #8 (it may hit $25 million domestically yet, which is more than its budget).

Click to enlarge

I'm much more excited about the trailer for a movie called Across the Universe. It's a musical love story set in the 1960s (think Vietnam War) featuring many Beatles tunes (most of which probably used as they were intended). I'm really excited about this movie, which is strange because I usually don't care for musicals. There's also a trailer online for the Sundance hit The Signal, which looks interesting in a very haunting way. I still don't know what it's really about (probably a good thing until it comes out).

One of the very few Superbowl commercials I caught was a spot for the upcoming Disney Film, Meet the Robinsons. I had no idea that it was a futuristic type of movie when I first heard about it, but not like I knew much to begin with. It looks like it could be a fun movie (I loved the dinosaur bit).

Now to leave you with some superhero news. Latino Review is pretty good at picking up rumors that end up being true, and they now have word that Aaron Eckhart (of Thank You for Smoking fame) is in the lead for the role of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. It even sounds more plausible than the past rumors because Christopher Nolan is going to want a lesser known actor for this part almost certainly. David Goyer is no longer part of The Flash project as the WB shot down his script. He claims it was a story much like Batman Begins, but I would credit Nolan with that script more than Goyer, so I guess we'll never know how good it really was.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Plaster :: Booze

  2. Cabbage :: Lettuce

  3. Jazz :: Band

  4. Darts :: Billiards

  5. Poke :: mon

  6. Bribe :: Money

  7. Whale :: Free Willy

  8. Receipt :: Credit Card

  9. Answer :: Question

  10. Dentist :: Office

1 comment:

Seth said...

i saw the Meet the Robinsons spot too and started looking for info -- finding your blog in the process. Nice post!

anyway, just wanted to chime in about the futuristic comment. It looks like a pretty awesome version of the jetsons. not even a huge animation person, but this looks pretty badass nonetheless!