Looking for Smart People

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Joel on Software : One Thread

Although I have not seen calls for an introductory message, here is one anyway. My name is Eric Pepke, and I am old enough not only to have seen Apollo 11 land via television but to remember the emotions we felt when it did. I spent 13 years as a research scientist at the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute, during which time I did a lot of cutting-, bleeding-, and slightly-scabbed-edge computer science and never heard the acronym "IT" once. When SCRI was self-destructing, I retrained to be a teacher of English as a foreign language. When shortly thereafter (admit you saw this coming) my wife left for someone who made more money, I decided I wanted a lot of money, too. I discovered that a lot of this could be had by doing something called IT, which I found out was a lot like what I had been doing, only better paid and was much easier. After about nine months of looking for work in the conventional way, I approached a consulting firm and experienced a meteoric rise, in at least a fiduciary sense.

I was attracted to Joel's pages by a reference in a Tech Republic discussion. I was especially struck by the comment about people who write LISP compilers for fun in assembly language over a weekend for the Palm, because I've done that. OK, not on the Palm. I started to, but I thought it would be more fun to write a way that Palm shared libraries could act as plug-ins for a Hypertalk language and carry around their own syntax extensions. But everything else, three times, one time in cassette assembler. It's like meditation.

Mostly, however, I felt nostalgia for the fact that it had been more than two years since I have been able to admit it in public without fear of contemptuous brickbats. My name is Eric, and I'm a geek. (ducks) You see, one aspect of the culture shock for which I was totally unprepared was the culture of computer dumbth amongst many people who call themselves IT professionals. I am not speaking of a lack of intelligence, which is in no way dishonorable, but to an active, deliberate antipathy toward thought. I expect this on prime-time television, but I had not previously expected it from people who work on computers. I know there are villagers with torches ready to burn down the scientist's castle, but to paraphrase Walt Kelley, I have met the enemy, and he is us. It bugs the dickens out of me.

I have come here looking for a place where I don't have to ask Igor to check the bolt so often. It seems promising so far. Joel's religious beliefs about user interfaces are similar enough that I feel comfortable. (Although I do maintain the heretical notion that the low quality of interfaces are not due to incompetent design but rather due to market pressures caused by very old and deep cultural fears and primate dominance behavior, this depresses me, and I try not to think about it.) I've skimmed the discussions, and it looks like a good bunch of folks.

-- Anonymous, August 30, 2001


am not certain there is much discussion here; you might want to check out sites like kuro5hin.org, and see if that's to your liking. Of course, if I'm being rude right now, I hope Joel feels free to delete this post. ;I

-- Anonymous, September 05, 2001

Thank you!

-- Anonymous, September 05, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ