Sunday, July 23, 2006

Q: What happened when Bernie went to lunch?

A: He lost the business.

I’ll share something with you. I do my laundry in a Laundromat. The one bedroom apartment that I share with my wife is not big enough to allow us the necessary space to install a washer/dryer combo and our landlord is too cheap to fix the ones out back.

So just about every Saturday I drive over to my favorite Laundromat in Mar Vista and fill up two triple loaders—one for whites and one for colors.

Actually, I like the Laundromat. There are lots of kids running around, mostly in Spanish. I can go buy a frozen cocoanut bar and diet soda at the adjacent Mini-Mart when I need to change a twenty and, most importantly, doing the laundry in the Laundromat allows me the time out of my demanding work week to do my technical reading, which is really important considering I haven’t written any code in the last four months. (Whereas I used to get paid to code, now I get paid to “manage”. But this is another story for another time.)

So there I am in the Laundromat, spinning up a storm in the triple loaders and reading the latest article by Ted Pattison on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server2007 (MOSS) in this month’s MSDN. Turns out that MOSS, the next generation of SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (SPS 2003), is built on top of Window SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS 3.0) and ASP.NET 2.0. Also, it turns out that “MOSS 2007 is quite different from SPS under the hood. SPS builds its portal site infrastructure around the concepts of areas and listings…areas and listings have been eliminated in MOSS 2007…” (Italic are mine.)

Now, I’ll let you in on another secret. I never got the chance to code to the concept of areas and listings in SPS 3.0. In fact, I am embarrassed to say that I have yet to get the chance to code to WSS 3.0 or MOSS 2007. If the truth be known, the only acronym that is part of my life is ASP.NET 2.0 and I am having a bitch of a time keeping up with that. So there I am, sitting in the Laundromat, learning about a new technology that is enhancing/replacing an old technology that I never had the chance to learn to begin with! Yikes! Talk about Future Shock.

I’ve written more than once that the rate of change imposed on the average man or woman trying to make a buck from coding is more than one mind can handle or should handle. It’s getting harder and harder to keep up. In fact, if things keep going on the present path, just to make a decent living you’ll have to be reading about a new technology with the left eyeball while coding paying work with your right eyeball.

Obviously something has got to change.

I don’t think that the powers that be in the software industry are going to stop the technology churn to make it easier for the average coder to have a balanced life. I wish that they would, but they won’t. Technology churn is the way that software manufacturers bind our brain to their product. If you have to constantly keep relearning .NET and associated technologies, you are not going to have the time to learn J2EE and all the stuff that goes with the Java world.

So, if the industry is not going to change, we are going to have to change. Ray Kurzweil has some interesting takes in his books The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near about the laundry list (no pun intended) of changes that will be ours for the choosing. In the extreme scenario Kurzweil suggests that in the not too distant future we’ll simply take a pill containing nano/biotechnology that reconstructs our brain to have the information that we need. For example, “Want to learn how to work Windows Office SharePoint Server 2020? Here, take this pill.”

For me, I am just thinking about getting into another line of work that doesn’t require absorbing so much new knowledge so quickly. Maybe I’ll become a lawyer. (I’d say auto mechanic. But these guys are in the same boat as software developers.)

So what does this have to do with Bernie?

Bernie is a character from Doonesbury who started a software company and worked night and day to become rich, which he did. One day Bernie went to lunch and lost the business. While he was out for that hour all of the technology changed and he couldn’t catch up.

I wonder; how much money can a hair stylist make?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here I was almost thinking that 1. you weren't doing laundry any more or
2. You just didn't feel like speaking to me at the usual time.
You sound OK are you?
Deposit 84.00. And the book just keeps on giving.
I love you


7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

business is the salt of life ... ?
i'm a bit scared that when i read your articles i can always identify. what are we driving into?

hope you and nancy are very well.


12:26 AM  

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