Strongly Emergent

What comes from combining humans, computers, and narrative

The Past Is a Foreign Country

Communicating with your past self can be a little alarming. In the process of converting this blog to OctoPress (because PHP is a fractal of bad design and WordPress has its own problems on top of being a huge PHP legacy system), I learned not only that Liquid Exception: Unknown tag 'endif' in page is Liquid’s way of saying “you forgot to start that if-block, girl”, I learned that my past self had very different priorities.

Not that this is news: as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at forgiving my past self for her fuckups. It’s still hard to forgive her eating habits, but bodies are complicated. I was surprised, though, to learn that she was conflicted about whether to be a developer or a sysadmin. Seriously? It’s not a binary: pretty much the whole subfield of devops is people who’re making interesting choices about “what if I pick things from both skillsets?” While I now think of myself as an engineer in general, not a sysadin or a developer, I am very happy that I am picking up bits and pieces of CS theory and that I can still read Apache config files, whip up basic Perl one-liners, and be on speaking terms with vim.

I admire the dedicated systems team at my work, but their job is not the job I want to do. I want to build things. That’s gotten more and more important to me over time — the thrill of green-field development, of Something from Nothing, is one I want, over and over. Lucky me: I am getting better and better at producing that experience for myself and making useful things along the way.