About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Sometimes, writing code means you've failed. So much of what we do already exists, and in more mature, complete form. The real challenge in modern programming isn't sitting down and writing a ton of code; it's figuring out what existing code or frameworks you should be hooking together.

Jeff Atwood



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 6/22/2018

Totals
Posts - 2503
Comments - 2574
Hits - 2,057,457

Averages
Entries/day - 0.46
Comments/entry - 1.03
Hits/day - 376

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 4:37 PM Pacific


  10:03 AM

Raymond Chen, who is a geek's geek, recently got Windows Home Server so he could back up his machine(s). In the course of recounting his experience, he said this:
Of course, the first thing you do with a new gadget is tinker with it, and I installed Whiist and created a photo album. It was so easy to do, I feel like I'm losing my geek cred. I mean, this sort of thing is supposed to involve hours of staring at the screen, scouring the Internet for information, and groveling through hundreds of settings trying to get things working. If anybody can get a home server up and running with automatic nightly backups and an online photo album by just clicking on some fluffy GUI buttons, then what will I have to feel superior about?
This struck a chord with me. While I have never had near the geek cred of a guy like Raymond, I have certainly had the general guy thing of "I bet I could do this." Create a slide-show application? I bet I could do that. Replace an alternator? I bet I could do that. Install a water heater? I bet I could do that.

And yes, I could do that, and I did. The results were definitely not better than if a pro had done it. Cheaper in money, if not time. (The slideshow, of course, was markedly inferior to what a pro might do).

But as I am coming to realize, my days of having to do everything as a project might be drawing to a close. As I might have mentioned, I recently got a motorcycle. It's old (1980s), and it suffers the ailments of its age. Only after some initial probing into minor repairs, tho, did I come to the realization that I actually am not that keen on having a project bike. Once upon a long time ago, I tore down and rebuilt the engine in my VW bug. It was an excellent experience (drawn-out, of course), but not one I really want to repeat. I built a shed this summer from scratch, but I did flirt briefly with the idea of a kit. Not this time, but maybe next time.

The do-it-yourself instinct runs deep, and it's still my primary reaction when faced with an interesting situation. And I will still try my inexpert hand at many things. I'll still change the oil in my car. I'll still (or so I keep telling myself) write my own blog software. I'll undoubtedly get myself into home-improvement messes many more times to come. But I think I've had enough experience in many areas to convince myself that I've already established by geek cred with them. And then I'l be able to let someone else do the job better.

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