Stupid Human Programming
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Thought of Twitter for Eclipse, Too Late, Drats!

A few years ago I had the idea of a Twitter like add-in for Eclipse. Too late now I guess. He who codes first wins! The idea was pretty simple. Eclipse would broadcast out to all team members every major action that was completed in Eclipse. So when you created a new class, a new method, etc everyone on your team would know. Likewise, if you were starting something new or wanted everyone to know how close you were to done you could just broadcast it to everyone else's Eclipse instance. And if you had a question you could just blast it out.

The idea was to reduce the cycle of feedback to almost nothing. Information flow dominates development time and the more you can reduce blocking on a project the faster you'll move.

How it would work, for example, is if I read that you created a SerialLine class and I knew of one already, I could tell you immediately that one already existed in package XYX and you could reuse it. Or if I was interested in knowing how we handle regular expressions in a project I could just type the question in. This kind of informal communication is less scary to team members. Many people are very concerned about their image so they won't ask a question on an email list. They are afraid of looking dumb or weak. The quality of communication is inversely proportional to the risk of ego destruction. Programming is more macho than football in many ways. So quick, short bursts in Eclipse would make communication flow more freely. The result should be pretty fast convergence on solutions because of the tight team work involved. Developing becomes more of a team sport than isolated outposts throwing Morse code at each other.

IM has filled this role to a large extent so I stopped pursuing the idea. But I still think the integration with Eclipse would be powerful. It would help everyone on a project build a mental model of the software as it was being constructed.

comment[] 3:48:20 PM       digg   reddit

You Can't Twitter at Relativistic Speeds

Twitter is entraining the technorati on an unbreakable hedonic treadmill. The treadmill gorges itself on an infinite supply info mediated dopamine hits. Addiction, divorce, 12 steps, and the grief cycle are sure to follow . But what really should concern twitterites is their global stream-o-conscious will shatter once we travel in space at near light speed.

Let's say you're accelerating towards Vulcan in your new Mercedes X Series Space Coup and you type in your latest bon thought: I really need to upgrade my materializer. The pate was runny. Your thoughts will stream out at a constant speed of 186,000 miles an hour and nobody will hear you! And you will not hear them! You will ache. It will 1 millisecond without a info mediated dopamine hit. Then another. And then another. Until you go entire days without sharing the barely conscious thoughts of the twitter-sphere. Then you are in hair pulling, drano drinking withdrawl. Oh what a glorious future it will be!

I do see a market in relativistic hermitages however. In time no place on earth with be safe from ads or phones or other information radiators. The only safe place to hide will be in a space capsule near the speed of light. Only then will you be alone with the strange sensation of your own thoughts.

comment[] 12:45:47 PM       digg   reddit

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