Monday, June 16, 2008

Women are better

.. or not?

It is apparently one of these days today. Two remarkable male - female controversies in the IT arena pop up. Totally unrelated.

First: Molly

Molly Holzschlag reports about an event that is to be held at Hooter's. A "Geek Meet". Clearly the organizers only expect men to attend. The women that will be around are only there to be gazed and looked at.

Seems a bit retarded to set up such a meeting there. Especially when someone comments that the food isn't particularly good.

Second: WSJ

And from the opposite corner on comes the Wall Street Journal with an article citing Emma McGrattan, the senior vice-president of engineering for computer-database company Ingres–and one of Silicon Valley’s highest-ranking female programmers. She states that men and women write code differently.

Sounds fair enough: we are different after all in many respects so why not in the area of writing code.

Wall Street Journal
Men Write Code from Mars, Women Write More Helpful Code from Venus

But ...

Women write more helpful code

Women, supposedly write more helpful code. Code that's clarified by many lines of comment showing someone who has to work with code later a road map of the principles behind the code. Men like to keep it cryptic to show off how good they are.

Emma McGrattan
Women are more touchy-feely and considerate of those who will use the code later. Men, on the other hand, have no such pretenses. Often, they try to show how clever they are by writing very cryptic code

Well, having worked on code from others I have learned that putting in comment is very helpful for the next developer. I have taughht myself to insert comments whenever the code becomes a bit fuzzy. And sometimes I put my thoughts, my design into comments first.

Intialize this, loop through all items, return result
things like that.

I have not much experience with female developers (there aren't that many around) and the one I have worked with was pretty solid. I do agree on that point. But to state that in general men try to write a scryptic as possible where women write touchy-feely code ... It's just a bit over the top.

The battle has just begun

What both these articles have in common is that there is still a lot of misunderstanding in battle of the sexes in teh IT arena. Some men hardly realizes that there are women in this line of field. Some women apparently need to make clear that they are oncemore the superior race, which is a pretty strange thing to claim when you are battling for emancipation.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Work & hobbies

.. and what to do with them?

A lot of people do jobs they absolutely not like to do. There's also a lot of people who really like what they do. And the majority, I guess, somewhere in between.

So, it's safe to say that most people at work would rather be doing something else. Most of these people have interesting hobbies. Hobbies, you might not expect. Bus drivers who sing in an opera choir. Brick layers who help out at a local institute for blind people. Or who are collecting stamps. Or gardening. Or being a football coach.

Gardener GardeningImage via Wikipedia
Turning your hobby into your work

Wouldn't these people be absolutely delighted when they could make their hobby their work? Earn a living singing opera, helping the blind, designing gardens and being a coach and beating Italy 3-0. That's seems great.

Maybe everybody has a dream somewhere deep inside where they do only that one thing they would really love to do. No more dull work, just the thing you love.

Wouldn't that be just great?

How about apple pie every day?
Apple pie with lattice upper crustImage via Wikipedia

How about apple pie every single meal?

That will probably be too much after only a couple of days. It means there's only singing opera or gardening and nothing else. You will have a great job, but you also have lost the hobby. And with the cherry on the cake. The cherry that you used to save for the last bite. Because you so enjoyed it.

How about that? Hmm, better not jump into turning your hobby into your work.

And the other way around?

I have also seen people submerging themselves in their work. Working many, many hours every day. Being so devoted that thrive on their work. Finding their satisfaction in working, working, working. They have turned their job into something very much like a hobby.

To me a disturbing thought. These people forget their family and fiends and also forget colleagues with families and friends. These people have gone too far the other way.

So, where's the Holy Grale?

I don't know if there is a Holy Grale, but there must be balance between work and play. Have something special on the menu as a dessert and something else to feed the stumach. That way you can leave the restaurant a happy man.

And return time and time again.

My adcice: stay hungry!

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