How soon we forget

Yesterday I congratulated myself on my memory.

Actually, that was just a little piece to boost my own morale because this week I have discovered just how easy it is to forget things.

You see, I used to be a programmer.  I was a cracker at COBOL which must have been one of the worst languages ever written.  I then moved on to Interwebby shit like PHP and MySQL, which I used for years.  When they fucked me out offered me early retirement, I set up my own little business doing the same stuff – coding and databases.  Fuckit, but I used to churn out the code faster than an express train!  I even taught the subjects.  I gave up a few years ago simply because I preferred to do nothing than to pump out thousands of lines of shit for other people.

Last week I had an idea for a little programme.

It was a simple idea to shift some data around a database, to reformat it slightly and to remove duplicates.  I reckoned it would take a couple of hours.

It took me a week.

I had forgotten everything right down to the most basic level.  I browsed through some of my ancient coding which I found and it was a completely foreign language [though it worked perfectly].  I hardly understood a single thing I had written.

So I have spent the last week wearing out Google looking for hints and snippets, banging them onto the server and watching my little programme crash in flames.  I would fix one error and another one would pop up in its place.  It was a fucking nightmare, but I persisted.

It's working perfectly now.  I just hope it keeps working.

But then it occurred to me that the reason I remembered my complicated journey yesterday was possibly because I had been exercising the old Grey Matter so much?

Every cloud has a silver lining!

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Comments

How soon we forget — 17 Comments

    • Ah, the old ZX Spectrum 48K.  I taught myself to programme on that and that's how I got into programming!  Mind you, the company used a mainframe, not a Spectrum so there was a small learning curve

    • Oh that it were that simple!  Damned server had error reporting disabled so the teenchiest error just produced a blank screen.  It was a case of forensic examination and trial and error.

  1. I had one of those ZX jobbies. I never really got the hang of the programming stuff – perhaps because I wasn't really that interested. I also had a business which took up most of my waking hours, so I never had much time to pursue it.

    It's all Greek to me…

    No, hold on, make that Double-Dutch.

  2. I used to be a software tester. I had great respect for people who wrote code but by fuck did the advent of shite like Dreamweaver and other similar code generators kill the art and bugger up the testing.

    No wonder nothing works these days. It's all computer generated code. Bring back the human coder!!!

    • Dreamweaver was fine in theory but in practice it was a nightmare – tons of spurious code and bloated websites.  [I used to teach Dreamweaver too so I knew it well!].

      I have always used a very neat and quite simple tool for all my coding which I would recommend to everyone.  It's called a text editor.

  3. I wouldn't worry about not immediately getting back into coding and all that (COBOL? Really?). You know what they say; If you learn Hungarian and don't speak it everyday then you forget Hungarian.

    Okay, maybe they don't say that but the principle is sound enough.

    As for me I never got past writing batch files for my MS-DOS installations.

    • I do a little from time to time, but mainly on shell scripts these days.  This is the first time I have touched on PHP and MySQL in a while.  I couldn't believe how much I had forgotten and had to keep looking up syntax on the Web.  It's great mental exercise though.  A lot better than Sudoku!

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