Things that go bump in the nightPosted: August 29, 2012
Oh my goodness, has it really been a month since my last post?
How did I spend my month? Well, it’s summer you see and it was warm out side, and the motorcycle was calling, and… I wish! No, instead I’ve been code wrangling for the last month, largely dealing with issues associated with some ancient code that very few really deeply understand. It’s like spelunking sometimes. Going down into a deep dark cave. It’s a thrill (so I’ve heard). Never know if something in the darkness will devour you, but at the same time, the thrill of conquering the deep, unexplored.
When I was a wee little lad, I got a Commodore PET from my uncle. Nope, not a kind of dog, but a kind of computer. It was new to me, unknown, unfathomable. I dove in, head first. I learned BASIC, had a cassette tape ‘drive’, etc. Then I dove into 6502 assembly. Again, unknown, unknowable. I was 14, and nothing was unlearnable. Eventually I went off to college, and new unknown dark arts emerged. The toggle switches on a PDP-10, punch cards, line printers, Soroc IQ 120 terminals, UNIX, Pascal (what’s the difference between a function and a procedure…), and eventually C, not to mention tons of chemistry, physics, electronic circuits, and ultimately yoga class.
One recurring theme throughout my life has been to embrace the great unknowns. I once had a dream where I flew off a cliff in a car, and rather than panic as it plummeted down to a sure death, I grabbed the back of the seat, and stared at the uprushing ground and simply thought, “I wonder what comes next…” that about sums up my approach to life and the various unknowns, both programming and otherwise.
What’s the future of programming going to bring? I don’t know. But, I’m sure it will involve really simple programming models, which gain complexity through combination, not through single instance complexity. There will be new languages, new algorithms, new challenges. Programs will be thrown together in a matter of minutes, not hours, nor weeks, or months. They will just as easily be discarded, replaced by the new needs of the moment. Data will be program will be data. The only thing for sure, is that there will always be new darkness to explore, and new adventurers to shed light in that darkness.