Dabblers and Blowhards

by brian d foy

Related link: http://www.idlewords.com/2005/04/dabblers_and_blowhards.htm

Maciej Ceglowski, a Perl programmer and painter, gives a counterpoint to Paul Graham's Hackers & Painters.

In short, he thinks the metaphor went to far and isolates a connection that isn't all that special. It could have been "Hackers & Pastry Chefs", for instance.

I like both essays, and I'm not picking sides.


2005-04-06 13:26:02
another question
I'd be more interested in the meta-question, "Why do software professionals feel frequently compelled to compare themselves to other professionals?"

I read of comparisons to architects, painters, poets, musicians... why not take pride in what we do, as is? And, better yet, a quiet pride.

2005-04-07 14:04:49
If I was a sculptor, but then again, no.
Maciej Ceglowski's "wine, hash, and hot chicks" aside, I'd settle for other professionals not snorting when I say I'm a software engineer...
2005-04-07 17:46:32
being an artist is painfull
I don't want to be an artist (starving in a garret, chopping off my ears, etc...). For every Satriani, Clapton, Reinhardt, etc there a million people who call themselves professional musicians but have to sell whitegoods, etc to feed themselves.
For every Jennifer Anniston, theres thousands of waiters / waitresses
For every good actor, there's thousands of starving waiters / waitresses

Any 'art' I produce is free to anyone; its proceless / valueless (in the Discworld sense). But I need to keep the wolf from the door, so for cash money , I administer / program / mollycoddle a bunch of systems (hware, sware, people).

Not too sure where this rant is going; Perhaps I'll ahve to settle for this;
There is Art and there is Work; both have an intrinsic value; Both can be enjoyable and interesting to make; The later can feed your family; the former can't.
While there are larger (and probably more significant) differences, thats the best I can do - furtehr thought is required...

2005-04-08 13:15:58
If I was a sculptor, but then again, no.
Software engineering is not complely alien to engineering, at all. We do have various ways to generate meaningful metrics about performance, MTBF, attack trees, etc - so it's hardly an art. And a complex problem in any field has more than 1 correct answer, so I'm not buying the "civil engineers need no creativity" argument either. So yeah, you're an engineer as much as the other fellow.

The article you link to has a bunch of other stupid statements (higher math not having much application in programming is my fave... can you say, graph theory and networking? ...or set theory and databases?).