In my other life I write computer code. Currently that part of my life is on a hiatus or a sabbatical. My enjoyment of coding is something people puzzle over, but it really isn’t that hard to figure out.
When you learn to write code, you see examples and then you implement them. The wonderful thing about code is that if you already have a computer, you have most of what you need to execute the code. In contrast if you have a recipe, knitting pattern, or guitar tab, you have to go out and get food or yarn or instruments or special tools. If you don’t have the proper implements, sometimes there are shortcuts, like using chopsticks for knitting needles or wash tub bass instruments. The result of such substitutions usually turn off the beginner, which is why the Girl Scouts aren’t cranking out scarves with embedded slivers of chop stick or playing in jug bands.
I’ve been programming in the same languages for years, making some forays into Perl and Python. Unfortunately, the live operating system to run most of my code just started to support C++ in the mid-oughts. I found most of the bugs in their Java implementation right before we stopped using it.
During the last portion of my employment and since, I’ve been able to read and play around with Ruby on Rails, agile development, a little Merb, brushing up on my Java, as well as work with other databases. I don’t talk about it here much because this is a craft/lifestyle blog.
If you would have told me I would be doing any sort of development during my unemployment, I would not have believed you. I like my computers, but fearing burnout suspected my independent development would be kept at arm’s length.
It has kept coming back though. I’d see a website, a business practice, a job requirement, and just go noodle around with it for a while.
This brings me back to how I got into computers in the first place. In 1990 or so, I was given a modem and a computer to stay involved in science. A few years later the group moved us to a Unix-based system, and I met Mike Eckhoff, and my programming instruction began. He fired off commands at me, and soon enough, I was making spy dogs in text-based virtual reality chat rooms. A few years later, I had the first internet prom date search.
In looking for a job this time, I would really like to find something fun and something people I knew would use. Unfortunately, we’re living in a recession with a full clampdown on credit. I’m hoping this opens up some corporate cultures to more telecommuting, but until then, I guess I’ll just be noodling around with some more code while trying out a new soup recipe.