Growing up playing organized (and often unorganized) basketball allowed me the chance to learn many lessons I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to. Looking back I see many similarities between playing basketball and writing code. This (hopefully recurring) series will attempt to tease out insights to be gained and applied to the professional world of software development.
One of the most lasting lessons that one of my coaches was fond to give us speeches about was along the lines of, “You may not be the most talented out there. You may not have the best jumpshots or be able to jump the highest. But you will be the most prepared and the most conditioned.”
I can’t attest to have learned this lesson immediately but it was reinforced time and again throughout high school and college. Not one time could I lay claim to being the smartest person in any of my classes but I always tried to work the hardest. Even now I’m far from being the most talented developer on our team but I try to remember these talks I had with my basketball coach. I’ve found working hard to be the only attribute in a person that even comes close to being an indicator of success.
Play good ball, write clean code, work hard at both.
Have we arrived yet? Has everything in the 21st century been worth it? We’re living in a society where anything one wants and desires is available in a matter of seconds through an app. While so much of it is valuable and is a natural progression of our technological progress, much of what we’ve accomplished and built feels like it’s disconnecting us with what it means to be human. This isn’t meant to be an exploration into what makes humans most human but rather wondering if we’ve lost contact with one of the things that makes us human.
For the sake of this discussion let’s say that what makes us the most human is our connectedness with other humans. It’s our ability to gain share and gain new experiences through others. Traditionally, this has happened through spoken and printed word. So many technologies today allow us to sidestep the need for physical communication and replace it with communication in the form of sculpted pixels.
While this certainly may seem a bit like a case of “biting the hand that feeds you” given my technology background, at some point I feel we all must wonder: are what we’re building and spending our time with every day only separating us further from ourselves? I don’t mean to say that technology can’t aid this task, rather that sometimes it creates barriers to us further realizing our true selves.
Today, the Boy Scouts of America (from which I’ve attained the rank of Eagle Scout) revealed a new merit badge on none other than robotics. This is very cool for so many reasons: what the Scouts truly need as of late is something fresh to appeal to a younger audience. I know I would have loved to get this badge when I was in the scouts.
(via Hot Hardware)
Having been chided for most of my life for having a poor memory, I’ve found it comforting recently to know that in some ways it can actually be beneficial. It’s been nice being able to forget some less than amazing memories while the more special ones stick around for a while. Previously I had only viewed my memory as a negative, a sieve that lets everything through, regardless of content. The more I’ve considered it, though, the more I recognize that it’s there and working, just that it only likes to keep certain memories near the top and more easily accessible.
And because of my computer background, it may help to explain my memory with a simple *pointers analogy. It’s as if my mind keeps an array of pointers to the actual memories. And it’s also as if this array has many of these pointers missing, leaving unrecoverable memory. However, unlike computer memory, usually with a simple reminder that pointer can be reestablished and the memory works as intended. So, while it’s not a complete memory it isn’t completely worthless either.