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690Re: [hackers-il] The dream retinue for star programmers

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  • Nadav Har'El
    Dec 8, 2000
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      On Fri, Dec 08, 2000, Omer Zak wrote about "[hackers-il] The dream retinue for star programmers":
      > Here is a question to the real star programmers among us:

      There's a problem in answering your question... If I answer it, it would imply
      that I consider myself a "star programmer", and doing that is a faux-pas (ein
      hanachtom meid al isato, you know). So let's start off by saying that I'm
      answering as a "Nadav" that igored the first line of your posting :)

      > Partial list of suggestions:
      > 1. Software tester to test for you the brilliant code which you wrote.
      > 2. Technical writer to spare you from the pain of documenting your code
      > yourself.

      Personally, I would consider either of these a PITA (pain-in-the-a**), because
      it would mean that I have to explain everything I do to two people, and I
      would have to strongly rely on two other people (because botching up either
      the testing or the documentation would make users think that what I did sucks).

      Yes, I would like for my employer to limit the amount of red-tape (beaurocracy)
      I'm required to do, but not by having me explain to someone how he should do
      this red-tape for me.

      Of course, I'm talking about documentation and testing that occurs during
      devlopment. Final user-level documentation and QA can be done by special
      people, for all I care, if the people doing that are capable enough that they
      can do these things without me having to spend weeks with them explaining
      them what they should document or test.

      > 3. Big desk.
      > 4. Big, flat panel display (or, better, two displays).

      Yes, a comfortable desk (big enough and in the correct height), shelves,
      and stuff like that, are extremely important. And so is a big display (I
      have to admit that I am disappointed by the 17" display my current employer
      gave me - my previous employer gave me a 21" display).

      A flat-panel display isn't important, unless the desk is NOT big enough.

      Two displays is an utter waste, of money and of desk-space, and you shouldn't
      even consider it, not even if you're working on two different computers (e.g.,
      Windows and Unix) - you should use a display/keyboard/mouse switch or
      X-Windows or VNC or something, and manage with one display, one keyboard,
      and one mouse. I know what I'm talking about - at my previous employer, I
      had 6 computers (!) by my desk, but only one display :)

      I would also add a soundcard: it can cost as little as 66 shekels (that's
      the price of the one I got), and listening to music on the job can be a lot
      of fun :)

      > 5. Fast Internet connection.

      Of course, although probably everyone needs this nowadays, not only "star"

      > 6. Junior programmer who will perform the boring tasks which you specify.

      I can just see the job ad you post for these junior programmers: "come work
      for us, and you'll do all the boring task that our stuck-up snob
      star-programmers refuse to do" :)

      > 7. Information specialist, to search literature and the Internet for any
      > facts that the programmer needs.

      This is sometimes called a "librarian"... I don't think you really need one
      in your company, it's even better if you have access to some big library
      (e.g., the Technion's) where you can get books you need at a moment's notice.

      Of course, you should also order any book the programmer requests with no
      questions asked (and these books should belong to the programmer, not the
      company [1]).

      [1] My current employer, and my previous employer, are both stuck with the
      notion that books you order belong to your employer, and you need to return
      them if you quit. This makes certain sense, but it also generates many
      problems (do they really need that "TeXbook" I ordered when I was the only
      one who used TeX?), and after leaving my previous job book-less I decided
      that I cannot stand it any more, and I started buying all the books I want
      with my own money. This is costing me a lot of money, but I consider it
      worthwhile, and now I have my own copy of many of the books I consider
      "great". However, I still expect a more generous employer to buy those books
      for me, to use them to help him and what I do with them after I quit is my
      own business. Just like I don't return to him the knowledge I gather while
      working for him, I should be returning the books I've read.

      > Any other wild ideas?

      A laptop?
      A fast internet connection at home and/or a cellular Internet connection for
      the cellphone?
      A masseuse? :)

      Nadav Har'El | Friday, Dec 8 2000, 12 Kislev 5761
      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
      Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |If God is watching us, the least we can
      http://nadav.harel.org.il |do is be entertaining.
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