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117 posts
Code hacker/developer
Casey's Rants Raising Points - Specifically about force-fed tech
Edited by Todd on
This User (maybe a member here???) has sort of aggregated a lot of Casey's rants and I've watched most of them that I hadn't seen live on HH.

Another good watch is The Evils of Non-Native Programming on the Casey and Jeff Show.

Some people I've shown these to have gotten overly emotional about them but honestly, Casey has a lot of great points if you can avoid letting the emotions of "omg he just dissed my language that I code on every day" out of the way. A trend I see in tech in general that he really brought out is being force-fed stuff. In other words, Casey doesn't hate garbage collection, rather, he hates that it is not an option but it is forced upon us in languages like Java and C#. Another example is Apple. They are relatively well-known for just forcing people to conform to what their designers apparently perceive as what they should be conforming to. They just do things like suddenly remove the headphone jack from the phone, remove popular ports, and make other drastic design changes, almost to "make a statement" and guide the new generation of devices... In general, there seems to be a trend of "To be new and cool, it must do something different, even if that means forcing people to accept new features and/or removing features or even making the product worse." It happens in languages as well as hardware.

Another great point where he made me have an AHA moment is quality... It's so sparse now adays... The market seems to be entirely focused on quantity over quality. There's an episode where Casey basically says why can we run extremely demanding graphics processes on a computer way faster than many modern mail clients or even Visual Studio can load up? He opened my eyes... He's absolutely right. Email and text editing is a problem that's been solved for decades, yet these big companies are fooling a lot of people into thinking 1-2 seconds is "fast" for a text editor or email to load up.

Luckily, this community has been founded upon bringing quality back to software. Take a look at the Jeff and Casey show video and discuss.
28 posts
Casey's Rants Raising Points - Specifically about force-fed tech
Edited by lclhstr on
Hey Todd -

Sometimes, when I get stunned by tech decisions at my job (I work web-related), I watch vexe's video snips of Casey's rants just to cool off and remind myself why I'm (still) working as a programmer. The same is true for various episodes of the Jeff and Casey Show.

I think it's true that some (maybe most?!) of this "tech force-feeding" is happenning because of business-oriented decisions taken in big companies and academic environments sponsored by the previous-mentioned, by people who only try to increase bottom-lines and buying cycles, with less consideration for developers and users (in the long term).

I'm not sure if there is actually anything to be done to improve these situations, except perhaps continuing to talk about it and debate about good options.

There is however, sometimes, a strange reaction I'm facing when trying to talk to other programmers about this. They are already "educated" about "abstraction everywhere", "modern (C++ / replace with one's favourite programming language) practices", "hardware is no longer THE platform", "everything should be in the cloud", "microservices / micropackages", and various other opinions in the same lines about hardware.

And yes, you are right that these issues tend to get overly emotional and polarizing. That's the biggest difficulty I'm facing when trying to talk to other people about it.
117 posts
Code hacker/developer
Casey's Rants Raising Points - Specifically about force-fed tech
Edited by Todd on

Well feel free to always talk about it here or vent to me; it's welcome.

I agree with you on not being a ton to do other than to express ourselves... I mean, here are a couple of thoughts:

  1. Many self-help type of books and even psychologists suggest that the acknowledgement/realization of a problem is the first step towards solving it. At least we've acknowledged this problem.
  2. I feel there's merit to true belief in a cause. I.E. Casey has actually demonstrated how a lot of abstraction layers and extra bloat can and does damage performance. However, perhaps we could go a step further and think of ways that this damages the companies profits/costs them money. Because in the end, that's what it's about. I haven't done software forever, but I can tell you one common theme in all business has always been, if I want to get something done, convince the guys up top how it will either make or save them money.
  3. If the above options aren't feasible and it's truly a big deal to you, perhaps make it a long term goal to switch to an industry where performance is a top priority. I think that may be an underlying issue as well. Let's face it, performance in display web pages just isn't as big of a priority to most companies on the hardware level to the degree that other types of mission-critical or video game software can be. Don't take that as gospel of course, as many companies do care, but it still doesn't seem to be on par with video game development in that regard.
  4. Sometimes I do feel like people (being us or the companies) get too hung up on technologies in general, when in reality, often the idea and the general implementation of it is what matters the most. Most people would agree that pop music generally doesn't display the most technical proficiency.... But it's popular, right? Why? This raises a good point I think, and I don't think that this occurrence only applies to music.
  5. Another analogy may be fast cars... Everyone knows they are engineering marvels and we love to drive them on our time off, but you will never see the majority of drivers in them because life is not all about performance.

These are my best stabs at this. Nonetheless, I aim to work for an employer who at least appreciates quality. I may not be able to set or change their technologies, but if they don't even care for quality, then perhaps I'll stick to projects with my close friends and colleagues!