Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 the future is now !

As a kid I remember clearly browsing some sort of Disney encyclopedia I had (didn't really have the proper, expensive one) and seeing all those cars and cities of the future.
I've always been so passionate about the future.. to me it's so important that it makes me hate history, fantasy, RPG.. and all the crap that is either past or a fictional past. Fack the past !! ...OK, respect the past, but don't linger on it.

The future, as usual, has turned out to be close to what I imagined and yet so different. No flying cars, no thinking machines.. yes a lot of robots, but remote controlled and with large feet to stay up (..which I consider to be a joke).
No superfast air travel and no teleportation.. but digital communication is so pervasive.. long are gone the times where I'd call up to some buddy's home to connect my modem with his modem running a BBS or even just a Comm program 8)
Encyclopedia is now not only affordable, but it's as common as water (of course for those of us that have water !)

My somewhat underlying dream to work as a programmer and to live in a futuristic city is achieved.. and I get a kick out of everyday life in Tokyo.. maybe because I can compare that to the dark ages of living in Rome.
Sure, it's not all black or white.. but a city of the past such as Rome, gives me no excitement. I miss my Italian friends, but one has to live on, and friends of my age are busy with work and family anyway.

Being a programmer 20-30 years ago was a cool thing to say. Nowadays it seems that everyone is a programmer, or a geek, hacker, a coder you name it... but it's very much a PHP world: a lot of those "geeks" in reality are very skilled at using script languages.
Sure, PHP is so much more effective than 'C' or assembly to get complex tasks done quickly.. but let's not forget those of us that still work with computer architectures in mind, resource allocation, etc.
I still want to say that I'm a programmer, but without sounding like another HTML-generation programmer 8)

Before computers, my general passion was for science. I'd see those giant robots in Japanese anime, and wish to be the robot's pilot.. but the science (fiction) behind it was more interesting (BTW, it seems that some people really followed on that WTF ?! 8)

As a kid I was also very attracted to physics, but it was somewhat less accessible and less rewaring than computers.
When I was 11, I first saw WarGames, then the Commodore VIC-20 came out the same year for Christmas, and it was all downhill (uphill ?) from there. Nobody seemed to know anything about computers.. especially in Italy because of the language and geographic barriers.

As computers came, school looked even worse.. because it was always so rigid, stale. Most of the stuff in school was uninteresting, and yet one was supposed to put good enough effort in every field. But I hate history, literature or geography, why do I need to learn ?! I'll sit in a lecture, but don't expect me to take a test about it.

Regardless of the ups and downs, everything is great because every day I have something to look forward to.. an internal drive, a passion, be that for computer graphics or what else. A mechanism that I can put in motion to keep me busy and happy, knowing that I can learn something new and exciting and be paid for it 8)

I wish more people will be able to ban the word "bored" from their vocabulary this year.. it's the ugliest word, and there is no excuse to use it in this day of age.

Well..... that's 2010 for you.


  1. uummm, in the world of married people, home owners and safe family drivers etc... there is even a more vague definition of what a programmer is.

    My wife often gets asked about what I do, by people she comes into contact with in the course of daily life.

    And when she says that I am a programmer she often gets a reply. 'Oh yeah my husband works with computers too'. However this 'works with computers' is a very wide definition... For example the last person who 'worked with computers' turned out to be some travel agent for Hotwire. The 'works with computers' part there was referring to knowing how to use windows and some custom made travel reservation software... eehhhh

  2. Ouchh !!
    Maybe next time your wife should specify that you are on the bleeding edge and pushing the envelope of "working with computers" ;)

    Software Engineer probably sounds more to the point. Programmer is really too much of a common word.. even some "professionals" out there will promptly make a distinction between the engineers, the analysts and the programmers.. which of course it's horseshit in the world of real programmers.. but if we had to define our work, we'd probably be safer saying sw engineer anyway.

  3. Just 'Engineer' might be good enough.

    I think if you work for some well known company then its easier to say 'Engineer at Sony'.

    People will just accept that without really trying to understand your exact function, which they can not do anyway and move on to the next question.

    Or if you work for some small unknown company maybe you can say 'Engineer at a company that makes computer games'.

    Key is to use simple language!!!

  4. "Just Engineer" 8)

    But engineer sounds more like physical stuff.. may end up having to fix some leaking kitchen sink instead of installing an anti-virus 8P


  5. I definitely given up with the question 'how to introduce my job with 2 words'. even if they correctly understand your kind of job, a really few people effectively thinks about you and your job for more than 2 secs. if your job is really hot, they can think about it for 10 secs at their best. so why bother?

    you know Davide how is difficult to keep our heads up when we say we are developers down here in Italy. to write code is a sort of limbo to the high mountains of the sw analysis and the unreachable business processes analysis. even if opening visual studio is getting harder and harder for me, I always define myself as a sw architect and proudly say I love to write (buggy) code. but it's not definitely a good approach for a brilliant career here.

    hoooooowever, I was 12 when I decided for a Vic20 instead of a couple of nintendo game&watch. I still love to think about such decision and my father saying "I won't buy you any game, you'll have to construct what you want". perhaps he didn't know what he was saying but it was one of the biggest thing I ever heard. and I'm still here trying to build something... :)

    but even if there are tons of scripting people nowadays, I think today is better than yesterday, much better. spaghetti-coders can build up a site if they want, but you strong developers can really make something special, and let the world know about it.

  6. I'm glad that my 1st computer was a VIC-20 and that I never really had a C64.. because C64 was too much of a gaming machine.. too tempting !

    Though one has to say that there is some deeper predisposition. My father is also very much a creative/scientific type (without the academic background) and that was going to inspire me no matter what computer I would have gotten (I think !).

    About nowadays.. yeah, there are a lot more exciting opportunities. But also a lot more temptations.
    The only thing that came with computers was a programming language.. and now you get everything BUT the programming language: mine sweeper, solitaire, Office, you name it 8)

    It's easy enough to get some programming environment, but there is a lot of confusion out there.
    Think about teaching programming to a person.. what do you suggest ? Python ? Java/Processing ? Perl ? Visual Basic ?
    ..a lot of choice and none of them is really that simple. Also, drawing a simple line on screen is a complete chore (except for Processing)... that should be the simplest thing.. something that gives instant satisfaction !

    About scripting languages.. frankly they are crap. What is it with not having to declare variables ? And worse yet, variables can automatically become of any type !!
    Globals, locals.. it's no man land with the scripts. the long run, that becomes very evil, because there is no rigor, too much room for error.
    You want a variable ? You tell me and yourself what type it is !!

    If a compiler doesn't force certain rules, then the user will eventually go nuts.
    At least that's what I think 8)