TITLE: Recent Articles of Interest AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: August 04, 2004 12:35 PM DESC: ----- BODY: I'm busy today working on conference chair duties, but I wanted to share a couple of ideas I ran across while reading yesterday: Laziness, Agility, and the Web Ben Hyde points to this story of the web at work.
In December of 2002, I uploaded a screen-captured table .... I couldn't be bothered to convert it into HTML. Eighteen months on, Adrian Furby did just that. This shows there's some "can I have some more"'s law of the lazyweb or something, and that you should optimise for laziness and early public whining instead of planning ahead.
I've experienced this on a local scale, with my students. Often, when I post something to a course web page that leaves a natural blank to be filled, a student will do the job -- especially if it allows them to show that they know something about a programming language or a tool. There is something agile in this "Can I Have Some More?"'s Law. Instead of waiting to post an idea until it is 100% ready, get something useful out for people to see. The community can often provide useful feedback that improves the idea, and some may even benefit from your incomplete idea now. One nice thing about the blog culture is that it lowers the barrier to sharing incomplete ideas and getting feedback from a wider set of readers. Tool-Making and Progress This article provides a nice reminder of how human progress depends on the creation of better tools. That should make computer scientists both feel good about our place in the world and remember the responsibility we bear. We are first and foremost tool builders, and the rest of the world depends on what we do to do what they do better. We also build tools for ourselves. One of the things that has always attracted me to certain software communities -- Lisp, Smalltalk, OOP, agile software -- is the liveliness with which they write and share programs to improve the lives of the people in them. This is true of many other software communities, too. Ruby and Perl come to mind. Perhaps this desire to build better tools for ourselves is one of the hallmarks of software people? -----