Freak Systems

Monthly Archive: July 2015

Computer Programming Languages Tomorrow

Computer Programming Languages Tomorrow

However, it is possible that in the near future, there will actually be a solution to this problem that actually involves software itself. One of the biggest innovations of our time was free blogging software online. The rise of the modern Internet coincided with the rise of free blogging software, which allowed people with very little coding experience to create blogs of their own. People will remember that back in the 1990s, only people with the right technical backgrounds could really have websites and blogs, and they were indeed the only people with websites and blogs.

The websites from that era appear to be laughably primitive by today’s standards, even though the people who created them probably know a whole lot more about programming than many bloggers today, for better or for worse. It’s possible that similar things are going to happen with today’s programming languages. As a programmer, I can already tell you that a lot of programming languages are hopelessly flawed, and it feels like half my job is just fixing them. Hopefully, there will come a point at which I won’t have to anymore.

Much like free blogging software, there could eventually be software that more or less ‘communicates’ with a computer for the end user, so they will only need to input simple commands in order to create the program that they want. This software will almost serve as a comparatively advanced interface. Programming languages are ultimately just a means by which we instruct a computer what to do, and this new future software may help us translate our commands much more efficiently and effectively.

Translation software in general is probably going to be a thing, which might make learning to speak foreign languages for oneself somewhat redundant. People will probably still do it as a hobby, and I could imagine that people would still learn programming languages as a hobby even during this future. However, the software engineering profession would change dramatically in a future like this.

Office Space and the Reality of Computer Programming

ComputerProgramming

One of the most famous movies about software engineers is Office Space. It may have bombed when it first came out, but it become the kind of cult hit that manages to last for decades. I think some of the Office Space workers may be among the most realistic software engineers that I’ve ever seen. A lot of times, when you see someone who knows a lot about computers in a Hollywood movie, they’re ace hackers who can do things that no real hacker could ever hope to accomplish in the amount of time that it takes to watch a movie.

The protagonist of Office Space says that in a given week, he probably only does fifteen minutes of actual work, and he seems to imply that he might be rounding up when he says that. I think half of the programmers that I’ve ever worked with would say that exact same thing if they were being honest, which they probably wouldn’t be in the interest of protecting their jobs and their credibility.

The protagonist of Office Space assures other characters onscreen and the audience that he isn’t lazy, and I believe him. What he’s going through is by no means a function of laziness. A lot of the work that software engineers and computer programmers do is just really boring. Work isn’t supposed to be fun, and almost everyone you meet will tell you that. However, it really doesn’t have to be as deadly dull as the kind of work that software engineers have to do on a daily basis.

The fact that the protagonist seems to have gotten away with such extreme procrastination for years also doesn’t surprise me in the least. Most likely, he was surrounded by a bunch of people doing the exact same thing at the same company.

This might be lost on some modern viewers, but I also loved the fact that the movie made the preparation for the 2000 switch seem completely mundane, which it was. There was a lot of paranoia about Y2K going on in 1999. To programmers, the 2000 switch was just another annoying set of tasks, although it was fun to think of ourselves as the people who were preventing the apocalypse. We knew we weren’t, but it helped keep us going.

One of the things that stands out to me about the culture of Initech in the first place is the obsession with documentation. We spend more time watching the bosses obsess about that than we do watching anyone do coding in Office Space. Indeed, older companies like Initech spend more time on documentation than almost anything else. It isn’t real work, but it feels like it, and that’s usually enough for everyone involved.

The protagonist plays Tetris at work at one point to signify just how much he has abandoned his duties at work. The thing is, I bet he was playing Tetris anyway at work, just like most of us. The temptation is too difficult to resist when you’re working on a computer all day long. Really, the only change was this time he was being completely honest about it.