Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why I hate computers.

Green Tractor asks:

"How did it happen that computers never really caught on with you? You certainly were exposed to them earlier than most of your peers. I sure hope it wasn't your experience with NULL pointers in pascal. I guess I always expected that there would be at least one computer nerd among you three."

Again, my dad has other insight here. I can't even explain properly here what I did to my father's computer when I was in high school. I was in an AP Computers class, and if I may date myself, we were programming in Pascal. To those who are also not computer geeks, Pascal = dinosaur era programming. I think it went something like this:

"Let's see if my program works this time!"

"Um, Dad? Could you come here a second? The computer just belched and smoke started coming out of the hard drive. Is that bad?"

There was muttering and mumbling from my father, I think something about how he was hoping that my career as a computer geek would someday pay for his old folks home and then some swearing, but mostly a lot of "you need to go tell your mother this is why I save all the floppy disks for recreating the computer as we knew it before you ran your program. And all the books too, while you're at it."

Short answer: I am not a linear thinker.

I can create and think and dream up problems and their solutions but then can't follow through with the daily monotony of actually seeing the problems through to their solutions. If it weren't for my husband, there would likely be days that the children were sent to school without their shoes on.

For example. The children were sick. I researched and shopped for the vitamins and other things that they would need to actually get out of the house and stop going to the doctor every week. I purchased said vitamins. I gave them to them for a week and counted it as a success. We would still probably have those original vitamins were it not for my husband following through and actually giving the children their vitamins every day.

I can't do a job that would require me to have a predetermined set of tasks to complete each day. And for computer programming, that would require using quotation marks and brackets in the proper place at the proper time. I seem to recall some shouting at the computer when I was trying to make it do what I wanted, "BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANTED IT TO DO!!" And my dad would patiently tell me that computers always do exactly what you tell it to do. But the machine I work on would be required to do what I intended for it to do, not just what I told it to do. Because that's just frustrating.

My dad has a habit of answering the question that we ask, but not the question that he is completely aware that we are asking him. "Dad, what's up?" Yes, my father will answer "Satellites" or "the ceiling". I think it's because my father is part computer. Or just trying to get us to think like programmers. Whatever it is, it certainly incited lots of eyeball rolling from teenaged daughters.

Which, if I really think about it, this really just proves that I would make a great manager of programmers. I can think up the problems, then think up the solution, then tell someone else to do all the minutiae. And then tell them they did it wrong and to do it all over. And then go look for new programmers after all those ones quit because I'm so aggravating.

I certainly wish that computer thing would have caught on with me. I wish I could program these stupid things. I have all kinds of dreams for great websites. And what they'd look like. Just not the skills.


Green Tractor said...

Programming is a logic puzzle. It is a pure contest of skill. There are no biases or prejudices involved. Computers are not intimidated by yelling and don't react to ego or "status". Just skill. The computer is patient, dependable and always available for the challenge. Over the years the pay has been good and it is a safe job (well, except for my loss of hearing from the "noisy rooms").

Your computer crashes were caused by referencing unitialized pointers to structures. Think of this as the location of a file cabinet. You were putting things into the folders and drawers in the file cabinet without telling the computer where to put the file cabinet. Since you didn't tell the computer where to put things, it chose a location by itself and it did not choose wisely. You wrote into an important part of the system and that confused everything.

ca sister said...

Maybe we were just looking at it wrong. Computers seemed stubborn, inflexible, and unsympathetic to me. You make them sound so... simple.

And, I'm amazed that you, green tractor, remember the details of fiveberries's computer crash. You must a really good memory card!!

#2 said...

I think that something that devastating to your computer - well, you just remember things like that. And, I did it twice. In a row.

And yeah, green tractor, you make computers sound so lovely. Sarge says you even sound passionate about them.

I think that it just sounds a lot like you that you are describing when you describe computers. And I mean that as a compliment.