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Turn off the damn PC, John!

Posted on 2005/11/17 06:13:48 (November 2005).

[Tuesday 15th November]
I had an incredibly frustrating day in the office where it genuinely felt like every piece of software I was working with was conspiring against me to make my life as irritating as possible. I literally couldn't get anything to work at all. I think I probably lost my temper a bit towards the end of the day, which can't have been very nice for my poor colleagues. Everyone else I work with always seems so unphased by all these difficulties (or they just don't have them in the first place), which only goes to make me more frustrated and annoyed. Is it just me that is incapable of working with this setup?

I left the office feeling utterly deshevelled, and began to wonder if maybe I was over the hill. Perhaps at 28 I am already washed up, no longer able to cut it in the fierce world of software engineering. A short while after getting back to my room it occurred to me what I really needed was a complete break from the computer - I have got into the habit of spending all day at work on the PC, and then wiling away my evenings with my laptop too (the TV here really isn't worth watching).

So I turned off my PC, and instead picked up the Complete Sherlock Holmes which I have been gradually working my way through over the last couple of months. In an instant I was transported back to an era where there was no software, no computers, not even electricity to speak of. I spent several hours with my nose buried in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's literary wonderland, and was able to escape completely from the drudgery of IT. I finished off The Sign of Four and also read Silver Blaze - I hadn't realised there were in fact two of Holmes' stories set on Dartmoor.

Just before I went to sleep I did turn on my PC again, just for a minute or two. I had a compelling urge to run up StuffTV - I wanted to see the mosaic feature in action (which isn't yet released, and may never be). I felt a huge sense of inward satisfaction as the warm glow of my LCD screen projected that awkward, clunky user interface out into my dimly lit hotel room. The product I now work on at my new company does fundamentally the same thing as StuffTV - it lets you watch telly. As is the way of "proper" software though, it requires about a hundred times the amount of source code, a hundred times the amount of binaries, and a hundred times the amount of developers (none of these are exagerations!). Having spent the day tearing my hair out just trying to get the "proper" software built and installed, it was somehow gratifying to come back and look at my humble offering. Sure, when you compare StuffTV to the "real" software, then the user interface sucks, and there a plenty of rough edges... but it fundamentally works, it is neat, small, easy to modify and I wrote it all by myself.

I guess I basically needed to remind myself that I really could still write software.

Comment 1

You could prove it even further writing Photostudio for LINUX!!!

And by the way jusr remeber the amount of people that us Photostudio, they are all guys capable of using "complex" softwares, or even make their own, but still they use yours! That must mean something for God' sake!

Posted by Lox at 2005/11/17 08:32:02.

Comment 2

Face it Lox, Photo Studio for Linux is never, ever, ever going to happen. Unless someone pays me (about 50 grand) to do it.

Posted by John at 2005/11/17 16:27:40.

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