January 29th, 2003


Public popularity

Frequently on the crack bored someone starts a thread like name three people you want to get to know better or name 5 people you find sexy.

Invariably people's feelings get hurt because they aren't named. And some people refuse to play the game.</p>

I will contribute to the lists when I am interested in the underlying topic. Here's why. I used to be shy & awkward. I still feel shy & awkward most of the time. I am not outgoing. And I don't have a particularly distinctive look (no blue dreads here) so I don't stick in people's minds all that much. I dread not getting noticed at all. Here's the thing though, frequently I don't get noticed. So one of my fears is likely to be triggered.

I can get pissed at the people who make such lists for not being inclusive, but what good does that do? Does it really help my self esteem to be included because someone feels obligated and so they go down the list of everyone? Nope, not at all. I know I was included because someone felt like they had to. That's the folly of a lot of self-esteem improvement schemes in education.

I can get pissed at the people for making the lists in the first place. If everyone can't be noticed, perhaps we should just not recognize anyone. Starting such lists just engenders bad feelings. I say B.S. to that notion as well. Don't bring us all down to the lowest common denominator. Yeah, it means a lot more for a person to tell me personally they think I'm smart ort sexy. However, it's also nice to be publicly recognized. I want to be publicly recognized sometimes. A fair number of the people who didn't want the most recent list thread were hurt when people who did contribute didn't include them. They didn't want the list because they didn't want to be omitted. Dropping the list completely would deprive others of their public recognition, just because some can't handle the lack of it.

Plus, the lists are going to happen no matter what.

So, should I just not participate then, in protest and because I don't want people to be left out? I say no. I participate for two reasons. One, I want people to be publicly recognized. I even make an effort to include people who aren't normally mentioned. But I can't remember everyone. I can't be responsible for improving their self-esteem. Because ultimately, I can't improve their self-esteem anyway. It's really an inside job. Sure, things people on the outside do can help or hurt. But in the end, a person has to esteem themselves and that is not always connected to how other people esteem them. Burgundy insisted that I was missing something for including her. I'm pretty sure that sexy people still feel sexy even though I don't think they are all that sexy. It's tied much more to their own view of themselves.

Second, and more important reason why I participate. In order for me get people to recognize me publicly, I have to be willing to do the same. I will not get recognized and popular by being a wallflower. (If I prefer to be a wallflower and not particularly popular, that's another story.) I do not think I would be mentioned at all if I didn't occasionally add my own thoughts to such threads. Being in the thread makes it more okay for people to include me. It let's people know I think it's cool to be named a cool person. People aren't going to go out of their way to get to know me. I need to go out of my way to put myself out there.


Massive files

Sometimes I am appalled by the lack of skill that is widespread among software developers. I take pride in my work. Immense pride. I hate hate hate hate doing a half-assed job. So it just galls me to see the nightmare of a code base that I have to work with. We are supposed to have talented developers here, and yet I find our code base to be poorly managed and structured.

My new project is to extend a tool for use my the cruise group. Originally the tool was supposed to be used by multiple teams. But the hotels team wrote it, so it was written to be very specificly useful to the hotels team. Except now I need a version of it for cruise. Except everything in the tool uses hotel specific structures.

But that's not my rant even. I knew I was going to have to work around that.

My rant is that I opened up the project for this tool. It's really a collection of 30 or so tools. But there are only two header files for the entiure project. The main header file is 2500 lines of code. Header files should not be 75K. Header files should not be 323K. I need only part of it for cruise. But I have to include the whole fricking thing. And of course I will have to merge every single night in my daily build because the hotels team will be editing that file as well. I so want to take the damn thing and split it apart into more managable and logical pieces, but I don't have time in the schedule to fix their structural problems. And that is going to make my project take longer than it should. Much longer.