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This is Rediculous
I want an umpa lumpa. I want an umpa lumpa NOW daddy!
by Rick Kitts
May 30, 2004
Summary
Nothing quite like instant gratification I suppose. Of course you get what you pay for.

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I read a lot of SciFi. Actually I read pretty much only SciFi and books that I hope might teach me how to build better systems. Anyway, I read this story once. In it kids would be educated at home by computers and, at some point, they would take a test. The outcome of this test told the kid what they were best suited for. And, in the story, this test was infallible. If the test said you would be best as a garbage man, you would not only be a great garbage man, you would enjoy being a great garbage man.

So in the story there are two boys, friends, and they wish and hope and pray that the test tells them they will be widget fixers (I forget what the widget was). These, of course, were the coolest widgets in the world so working on them is seriously attractive to these guys. They do everything they can to influence the test, reading up on the subject, and various ridiculous things kids do to control something they can't control. Like hanging by your arms so you become taller.

The day of the test arrives and, no surprise, one kid gets what he wanted (widget fixer) and the other one doesn't. In fact the one that doesn't discovers the test says he's really no suited for anything at all. Suffice to say that the first kid, the widget fixer, goes on to be a great widget fixer after having a 10 minute or so bout with RNA shots or something. Until the next model comes along and he discovers he's not changed. Turns out the kid who wasn't suited for anything invented the new and better model.


I'm waiting for some moderately long running tests to complete and I'm surfing, as you do, and I come across this piece of brilliance. Wonderful. If something can't be made to deliver satisfaction in 10 minutes it's pointless. Your software better appeal to the point-and-click set or it won't be adopted and, from the tone I gather doesn't deserve to be either.

Someone, in comments, mentions that the simple things should be simple and the hard things possible. If you've ever actually built something designed to stay up for much more than a week, to do so without a cadre of admins, something that knows enough to know that the world changes and can somewhat adapt, then guess what? That's hard. And Jini makes it possible. But this isn't really about Jini, it's about something much larger. This entry opened my eyes to the apparent fact that there are technology consumers at many levels. Those who require satisfaction in the requisite 10 minutes will, perhaps, end up building yet another RSS feed reader or something equally well defined. It'll probably be nice and have some slightly cool feature that seems useful at the moment. But the 10 minute crowd (hmm, the MTV crowd?) won't be inventing anything new. None of this group will invent a Java, or substantially do much of anything to change the technology landscape. And I suppose that's fine. As that guy in Caddy Shack said, "How about a Fresca?". No, that's not it. Ah, "The world needs ditch diggers too"

I hope the world is not overly influenced by the 10 minute crowd. I hope that having a blog is not all that's needed to be taken seriously. I hope I can recognize these sorts before they start making far reaching design decisions in systems I work on.

10 minutes. Brilliant.

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About the Blogger

Rick Kitts has been making a living writing software for a little while. He's started a company or two, worked at bigger companies, but mostly at startups. Constantly on the look out for things to help him build better systems he's a bit of a tool and process slut, though he can't bring himself to try C# or get serious about UML. Go figure. He's convinced being invited to have a weblog on Artima is the result of some glitch in the matrix. He's keeping quiet about it though.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2004 Rick Kitts. All rights reserved.

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