Why do I bother writing this blog anyway? I mean who even reads it?

As Clifford Stoll says in his very clever TED talk:

“The first time you do something, it’s science.

The second time, it’s engineering.

The third time, it’s just being a technician.

I’m a scientist.

Once I do something, I want to do something else.”

As I’m not an academic, I’m not a “scientist” per se, but I do share his desire to constantly do new things – let me explain:

Not long ago, I was talking to someone and they mentioned they read my blog. Suddenly I was really nervous and wasn’t sure why, and it made me re-evaluate why I write this here.

As it turns out, I hate repeating myself – repeating stories, repeating thoughts, repeating anecdotes. No matter how exciting it was the first time, by the second or third time it’s lost it’s sheen to me and I’d prefer to do or talk about something different. Obviously though, I do some pretty exciting stuff, go to some unusual places, occasionally think up something vaguely interesting but if I simply told people about it, I’d get bored almost straight away.

And that’s why the blog’s here. If I write things down almost straight away, or somehow put them up as a permanent record, then I can repeat them to people, as if they were fresh in my mind, without having to actually go over it again.

So I shouldn’t be nervous you’re reading my blog – it’s not like there’s anything self-incriminating here (except this I guess), and by reading this blog post, I now never have to explain to you why I get bored of repeating things out loud! :)

Thanks for reading! :P

Hackers and Repetition

Sometimes reddit throws up some fantastic stuff about life and work.

Repetitive tasks
Repetitive tasks

This graph really highlights what’s frequently referred to as the first hacker virtue “Laziness”. Instead of being content to do a task manually, they want to sit around and do less of that, thus the second hacker virtue “Impatience” comes in to play. The hacker gets impatient with the repetitiveness of the task and thus automates it – a time vs tasks trade off. They should recieve less “tasks” in the long term but there is an upfront cost in terms of time and effort.

Of course, this is a big simplification, and I feel like I’m botching an explanation – you can read more about all that here.

Anyway, go away and automate something. If that’s not in your capabilities, consider learning.