Monthly Archives: December 2006

No Rockets during the Holidays

It seems that a lot of people take Christmas very, very serious. Look, even the Armadillo Aerospace server went down for celebration:

Warning: Can’t connect to MySQL server on ‘armadillo’ (10061)
in c:\web\k2\system\ext\phplib\php\db_mysql.inc on line 77
Fatal error: Call to a member function on a non-object
in c:\web\k2\system\lib\common.inc on line 2328

Or maybe it’s just the new peaceful Windows feature “no rockets during the holidays”? I’m not a real fan of Christmas, but hey, it’s nice to have a few days off to relax and reorder your thoughts.

It’s also the time when new resolutions are fizzling through your brain like New Year’s Eve rockets. Although there is no logical difference between the last day of this year and the first day of the next, on an emotional basis there is. It’s like you get another long period of time, another opportunity to reboot your brain before starting over with fresh energy. Another full year where you can prove yourself, implement features, find out they’re bugs and fix them, but also launch new projects and, what is more important, finish and relase stuff that is still in development (yes, there is some real background here).

Is it a coincidence that during the holidays I get a lot more spam mails than usual? Especially these blog spam bots are very, very busy at the moment – I got about a few hundred spam comments for this blog every day in the last week. I’m curious how many spam mails I’ll get for this entry here – maybe a spam bomb drops in and (because I always want to put things straight) I have to change the title of this entry ;)

Stereotypes / Social Life

Note: This entry is very personal. You have been warned.

Sometimes I really see the difference between certain stereotypes of people. To be honest, from my standpoint, there are only 10 types of people. Those who are like me, you could say “geeks” and those who are not like me, let’s call them “people that I can never really understand”. Well, ok, let’s take a shorter name for easier reference, so what about naming them just “people”.

For me, as I’m generally into computers and as I enjoy their fields of appliance, the whole geek culture is something I take for granted. For people from other subcultures, digital life isn’t something they can identify themselves with. Let’s be a bit more precise. Especially programmers have a certain point of view, a way of life and an approach to everything that people don’t have. The reason for that is probably the nature of programming itself. Programming isn’t just writing some code that solves ridiculous problems – it’s an art form. It depends on analyzing a problem and solving it, of course, but the way how something is done, that is art. It is a very special form of art, as its beauty is never directly visible for its end users. As the creator, however, you manifest yourself and your mind in every single line of code. It is you who can’t stop thinking about optimizing some methods or replacing a piece of code with a smarter one.

An interface through which these two stereotypes can communicate is a thing not easily found. Maybe I’m not much of a social genius guy, but being interested in completely different areas in life and having completely different points of view as well as priorities logically results in some weird ways to exchange information that is then not properly understood. You see? ;)

So I was asking myself if it was a certain kind of motivation that keeps a geek going – a motivation that is different from the motivation of people? Maybe, but maybe not even a bit. However, personally, I think if there is this kind of special geek motivation, that is the only source of energy left that keeps me going if my “retarded social life” just sucks. And I can think of some moments where it really, really sucks. Maybe I’m pushing too hard, but as I see it, being a geek saved my life once, and hopefully will now do it again.

Talking about the factors of my motivation, I have to admit that, in such a situation, distracting myself from social kind of problems is a very strong one. If you’re willing to draw a conclusion out of this statement, you’ll definitely recognize the nature of a vicious circle here. By distracting yourself and not paying attention to social life, you will be able to forget or push away some sad things from your mind, but you will fail even worse.

By showing yourself the dedication to a project or program or just a little piece of code, you step away from the real world into a self-built virtual one. By making others aware of this dedication, you make them believe that you are just busy getting something done that is important for you and that is also some kind of a higher goal. In fact, this dedication is not 100% real – instead, for yourself, in the first place it is to protect yourself from questions that you do not want to hear, neither from yourself nor from others.

So what is the right thing to do in this situation? I guess there is none. You can’t do something that seems to be right. You have to let the right thing happen to you instead. Now this is another aspect of the aforementioned vicious circle. By locking yourself out of real life, you’re blocking this possibility. The harder you push, the more you block.

I do not believe that people are bad, I never did. It’s just not easy to be open for some kind of questions or discussion, because you feel too vulnerable.

Being in deep provincial backwater results in another lack of social possibilities. On the one side, it is definitely good for your work, because you can really concentrate on the code world, on the other side, from a social standpoint, it is the worst thing I can think of. So life gets seriously unbalanced, a fact that I always refused to admit. It is important to know the influence on your efficiency, another thing I refused to admit. If there is the right balance between social and code life, your mind comes up with fresh ideas a lot quicker. If there is no balance, you seem to work harder, which means doing long hours, but less efficient.

So the overall conclusion is, in my opinion, that it is worth to repair a damaged social life, however I still have to think of the tools that are necessary.