Monday, July 12, 2010



Not really childhood, more like scenes from when I was 30. And certainly not by Schumann. But the similarities are perceptible.

There I sat, in a house much like this one... the same age, the same hardwood floors, eventually the same harpsichord in the living room. In my hand was K&R... Kernighan and Richie's The C Programming Language... a standard reference (as it still is today) on the subject mentioned in the title. The book is tiny, because the language is tiny, and much of its power is externalized into libraries. The book, not even close to a half-inch thick, is not a summary; it's the whole damned language, all of it. In those days, a person who commanded the content of that book was a powerful person indeed, for many, perhaps even most, of the software written then was written in C. I absorbed those contents, and sought and obtained many a job writing software and applications in C. Ah, those were the days.

Today, the jobs are not to be had. Read fallenmonk's post; the work is really impossible to find, especially for older technical professionals. And here I am, in this nearly identical house, reading an introduction to Python, the programming language, usually associated with Linux but available on most platforms these days. The document is small because the language is itself fairly compact... and powerful. Now if only I can accomplish the same result of earning a livelihood by writing it... nah. That's unlikely. I've read that Silicon Valley employers don't want any programmers over 35, and that they aren't even shy about saying so, even though age discrimination is against the law. Still, it's a nice fantasy, being back in childhood with my child's occupation and my child's income...

While I was writing this, we had a power glitch. The power, and a sort of net connection, came back within two minutes... but as has happened before, domain name service is now excruciatingly slow; e.g., it takes about two minutes for it to look up . So until that is somehow resolved, I probably won't do much more online this evening. Yes, I've cycled the power, etc. etc. Last time this happened, I got my service back sometime in the small hours of the morning. I'm paying too much for "fast" service to put up with this!

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