Saturday, December 07, 2013

Is he serious? He can't be serious...

By that benchmark, here are a couple other things that are easier than writing code: Manhattan Project. Apollo Program.

Top. Men.
.

58 comments:

OldAFSarge said...

Coding is easy. Thinking is hard.

Jess said...

I think the comment summarizes the basic problem with this administration and sycophants. They've talked about how wonderful their world will be to the point they actually believe things are better by doing nothing, except praising each other, and throwing money away.

Dumbasses

libertyman said...

Once again the skilled trades are unappreciated and taken for granted.



Tam said...

libertyman,

My reply on Twitter was "That explains why every 11th grade D&D nerd has a Nimitz-class in their back yard." :D

Anonymous said...

Welding is easy, but consider that those one hundred carriers each needed thousands of tons of steel plates that had to be mined as raw ore, smelted, rolled at the mill, transported to the shipyards, and cut and bent to fit before the welding could start. Each carrier also required one or more multi-ton engines, and miles upon miles of electrical wiring. It also required a small fleet of high performance aircraft, trained men to fly them and high explosive ordinance to arm them.

By comparison to write code you need a computer and a supply of electrons.

Al_in_Ottawa

Scott J said...

"Coding is easy. Thinking is hard"

A-freaking men. I've been a code slinger since 1996 and have seen far too much of the former and not enough of the latter in all the years that have followed.

Scott J said...

And teaching myself to weld is on my to do list.

Someone even gave me a little 110v stick box about 8 years ago. I've just never set aside any time to learn

rremington said...

The actual welding is relatively easy. It's a skilled trade. All the engineering for those carriers was done with pencils, paper and slide rules. We don't have anywhere near the raw brainpower now that those guys had.

og said...

Scaling. You can have thousands of welders working on a carrier at once. Thousands of coders writing the same code at once is the very essence of nightmares.

global village idiot said...

I observe that one of the benefits of organized faiths is that people end up looking goofy as hell when they dress up politics in the trappings of religious zealotry.

Talking about the Former Junior Senator from Illinois wit the same language and in the same tones as the bald, robed Yankee in the airport talks about Krishna only makes you look goofier than the bald Yankee.

gvi

RevolverRob said...

I can write code and weld and neither one of those is really that difficult to learn to do. What is difficult is translating the ability to do those things into something reasonable, usable, and functioning.

That is something the Obama Administration has demonstrated it cannot do time and time again. I'm unsurprised really, if you look at the generation of children being raised these kids couldn't translate knowledge into application if there was an app for that.

-Rob

Anonymous said...

Code is easy, software is hard.

There's also a really far cry from the sort of coding involved in the static (or mostly static) webpage every 11th grade D&D nerd has and the business (il)logic and such required of and eligibility and enrollment system. It's sure not High Computer Science, but it's not HTML for dummies, either.

But, coding qua cutting code is probably a skilled trade no more difficult than welding, and possibly much easier (I don't know from welding). Most anybody should be able to code to a spec, if the spec exists and is decent (but such a big if that is!).

(Lest I be misinterpreted: even in the private sector, this sort of thing tends to be a gorram clusterfuck. I don't know why .gov thought they were going sprinkle magic fairy dust on it and make all the problems involved in designing and implementing a large system with ambiguous and arbitrary requirements implemented across multiple remote teams just go away.)

Tam said...

I swear to fuck that my Indian name is "Tells Jokes To Aspies".

Tam said...

"Um, that wasn't actually a road the chicken crossed, it was a turnpike. And a male of G. g. domesticus is properly termed a 'rooster'."

Robin said...

Tam, I love your Indian name.

og said...

You do seem to keep doing it and expecting a different outcome.

Farm.Dad said...

Your holding the joke wrong ... Just sayin

atlharp said...

Bad coding is easy...that much is obvious.

Steve Skubinna said...

Bet you five bucks Code Boy can't weld.

The Jack said...

I like trains.

The Jack said...

The subtext is delicious too. "We tried really *hard* and our intentions are *good*!"

Of course FDR and his cronies weren't out there on the drydock with goggles anymore than Obama and his cronies were on their Amigas up to the gills on Mountain Dew.

No, what both groups were actually doing was "managing". Funnily enough the thing .gov is supposedly The Best(TM) at.

Old NFO said...

ROTF... You just continue to set em off don't ya Tam... :-)

Kristophr said...

Why did libertarian chicken cross the road?

None of your fucking business. Am I free to go now?

McFly said...

Uh, technically, not everybody at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum is diagnosable with Asperger's actual Syndrome, so you should really be named "Tells jokes to people who are on the autism spectrum". That would be funnier, because it would be more precise, and I hate it when people ruin jokes by getting the details wrong. That happens in the Star Wars expanded universe sometimes, as I'm sure you've noticed too.

Richard Blaine said...

Way back in the dark ages (yeah I'm that old) a well respected Computer Scientist (who's name I can't remember) said.

If architects built buildings the way programers write programs, the first wood pecker that came along would destroy civilization.

I always liked that quite despite it's flaws (It would have been more accurate to use Design rather than Build)

Designing software (just assume we're talking about good software here - yeah I know, you've never actually seen any so it's hard to tell what I'm talking about) is hard work, it requires a lot of thinking about what can go wrong, and how people will use it in ways it was never designed to be used.

Coding it is I think quite a bit like welding - if you know your tools and techniques, you can do the job, it may not be pretty, and it may eventually break, but you can get something mostly useable. If you are experienced and 'expert' with your tools and techniques - it will be done much faster, and will be prettier and will hold up much better - but if the design sucked - The end result will still suck.

Borepatch said...

At least someone thought about security before the carriers were built, unlike the web site.

Oh, right - "writing code is hard". I'd mock the man, but he and his sort give me and my sort a nice living.

Borepatch said...

Having thought for a minute or two longer, I think that Mr. Mosgaller's comment can be rewritten as "Sure, FDR organized the country to fight a two-ocean war against two different races of self-described supermen at enormous cost of blood and treasure. He never had to figure out HTML."

I mean, it's all so obvious. Damn, I wish we had had the likes of Mosgaller back in the '40s. Might have saved some of the boys at Bastogne.

Drang said...

Welding is easy. Getting Aspies to laugh at a joke...

Drang said...

(Make that "Recognize that you TOLD a joke...")

Ritchie said...

:Libertyman, how is your Kipling? "The Sons of Martha".

There is a matter of degree here. Having done a little of both, I testify that there is welding, then there is certified grade welding, overhead. There is code, then there is Code.
Or as I sometimes say, "I wrote a program once, it's not that hard."

libertyman said...

Ritchie, many thanks for the Kipling reference!

jed said...

With scattered downtime here and there, I worked in the IT industry from 1982 to 2001. During one of those downtime periods, I worked for a plumber. One of his favorite aphorisms was, "The less you know about something, the easier it is."

The technical aspects of plumbing are easier than writing good code. But it's also easier to sit on your butt in a heated office than it is to crawl under an old house in Nederland in January to re-route the pipes for a remodel.

Unknown said...

McFly kills me.

Scott said...

McFly is either black-body dense or weapons-grade sarcastic. Either way, he kills me.

Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

back at the dawn of Microprocessors and Personal Computers, I wrote a text editing program with error routines and everything... I was extremely impressed with myself as it took 4 months of 7pm to 3am coding sessions (I worked and Schooled during the day). When I introduced my .9 version of my fantabulous and Fabtastic text editor to my friends, Lotus 123 was Introduced to the world, Thus ended my foray into software creation. BTW I know how to weld good too, and still do, 40 years later.
Rich in NC

Angus McThag said...

A place I worked once...

When we were between jobs, the welders were paid to look busy sweeping the shop or something.

The coders were laid off.

Posit which was considered more valuable from that, regardless of how "easy" the job is.

Bruce H. said...

>> ... a well respected Computer Scientist ...

I would have guessed Fred Brooks or Edsger Dijkstra, but wikiquote says Gerald Weinberg.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Programming

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who has coded inside of large, multi-million LOC software systems and who welds (stick, gas and TIG), yes, welding is easier than writing code.

Here's why:

Welding is something you can test to see whether you have done it correctly. There are X-ray and ultrasonic testing setups, as well as destructive testing (sectioning the weld and physical inspection) that can tell you, with certainty, that you have completed a weld correctly. Metallurgy is a pretty well established science and engineering pursuit, and if you lay down the correct rod on a certain type of metal, with a possible pre/post-heat protocol, you're going to get pretty predictable results.

Coding is exactly the opposite. There are no boundaries. The complexity is unbounded, except by self-discipline to say "We're not going to go there... today."

Your programs are built on infrastructures that are often unknown, unproven and riddled with errors themselves. I've written code where we tore our hair out for months, trying to figure out "Why are we seeing these errors that we cannot replicate?" Turns out that there was an undisclosed bug in the chipset. It took working with a digital o-scope and timing tracing to prove to the manufacture that a) there was a bug, and b) we knew about it, which c) required the services of a lawyer to get the chip manufacture to confess that they did know about it and they covered it up.

If I wanted an easy job, given my abilities to do either? Yea, I'm taking the Lincoln Pipeliner and 7018 rod over Emacs and gcc, every time. When I get done with a weld, I know it is done, it is done correctly and I can go onto the next thing I have to do, untroubled by my prior welds. I will never get a call in the middle of the night, with someone on the other end of the phone saying "Help! We've discovered a problem with your welds! You need to reach through the phone and discover what is wrong and fix it, ASAP!"


The Freeholder said...

Calling BS. I can do both. Welding is way harder, at least for me.

Tam said...

...and yet software gets written all the time, while a nation launching even a single aircraft carrier these days is big news. ;)

Scott J said...

"and yet software gets written all the time"

Continuing the theme that likely set off your Aspie rant....
If carriers were turned out at the same rate as software then the coastlines would have to extend out for miles due to being littered with failures.

Anonymous said...

If you're having trouble welding, then you simply need more practice. Or you might need better vision accessories. My welding improved dramatically with the addition of a cheater inside my hood. Get an insta-dark hood, get good gloves. Oh, and for those of you welding with some piece-of-crap buzzbox? Get a better power source.

Once you know how to weld, and I mean really know how to hold the stick, how the arc sounds when you're welding - it is pretty straightforward stuff. If you go into oil and gas country, you will meet guys who can weld pipeline welds (every one of which will be inspected by X-rays) without even looking through their hood most of the time. I've met pipeline guys who can flip up their hood, carry on a conversation with you while they're laying down a cap pass with 7018 or HIPPI rod. They get to the end of the rod, they flip down their hood, finish the stick, load a new stick, strike off, and they'll flip up their hood to continue the conversation as tho nothing happened. They've been welding for so long that they're welding by "feel" and "sound." They know when something weld wrong more by sound than sight.

The reason why so many coders think that coding is easy is that a) they haven't really worked inside really large, complicated systems, and b) they don't understand that welding is a physical skill. It's like throwing a baseball, or shooting trap: Once you "get it," you then just get better at it, the more you do it. Unless you're a complete spaz, you can be taught to weld passably well for small projects. What isn't easy is doing it 10 hours a day, day in, day out, making umpteen hundred certified and inspected welds per month.

People here at Tam's don't seem to realize what the success rate is in industry for large s/w systems: Once you get over about, oh, a couple MLOC, the rate of success of a system (ie, delivered on-time, on-budget, and works per spec) is down under 10% - more like about 6 or 7%, actually.

If I get a bunch of certified welders together and the structural engineering of whatever you want to build is done correctly, iron is getting put up, and it will happen on a pretty predictable schedule. Welders know, with pretty high certainty, how much bead they can lay down per hour, and they can make that happen, day in, day out, week after week.

Coders, however, are notorious for blowing through one schedule after another...

Anonymous said...

41 comments and not a single reference to an Ark, Covenant, or otherwise.

:-)

BSR

McFly said...

@Scott,

That'd be door #2, thanks :)

Robin said...

Big software projects are difficult. But there was nothing about this software project that leading edge at all. This project did not fail because of the scale or immensity of the coding challenges.

It failed because of political incompetence, interference with schedules for political purposes (delaying regulation writing until after 2012 election as an example), interference with basic integration tasks by political managers and brazen lying.

And it failed because a politically connected incompetent outfit was hired.

Jim said...

It would seem that the problem with the ACA, is that 0zero hired uncertified welders to zip it together, and didn't hire any NDT inspectors to stress-test it, at all.



Jim
Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with the ACA software is that the project was used to reward political insiders and racial cohorts rather than hiring competent people.


The second biggest problem with the ACA s/w is that they put the project management into the hands of people with zero large system experience.

The third problem is that they delayed the finalization and promulgation of regulations that affect the specifications until after the 2012 elections for purely political purposes.


There was never any doubt in my mind that the Healthcare.gov website would crash and burn. As a big-system s/w engineer, retired a bit over 10 years now, watching this wreck in slow-motion has been about like watching someone give a 10-year-old a set of wrenches and a lawnmower that is in perfect operating order... and reading the reactions of liberals express surprise is about as humorous as watching the reaction of the 10-year-old's parents when they realize that Junior isn't a mechanical prodigy, hasn't changed his ways since he dismembered his little sister's dolls, and has scattered the insides of the Briggs & Stratton all over the garage without any hopes of putting it back together.

What did they expect and why? They expected a functional software result when they've employed inexperienced people (or, more cynically, a company with a long track record of expensive, large s/w system failure in Canada and the US), managed by complete rubes, using regulations that are ever-changing due to political whims. This puts American liberals into the class of the truly naive.

Next thing they'll be telling us is that the Easter Bunny does exist, that he isn't an invention of the Hare Club for Men, and that Santa Claus doesn't keep a naughty/nice list, because that would be "judgmental."

global village idiot said...

If that were the problem with Comrade Napoleon's Windmill, it'd be fixed by now.

The problem is that it's poorly thought-out, unpopular, as un-constitutional as you can get while still being allowed to run, and fraudulently presented to a public conditioned to "truth in advertising."

Put this obscenity completely in the lap of the private sector and it'd make Bernie Madoff look like a jaywalker.

gvi

Brad K. said...

@ Anon 3:39

"When I get done with a weld, I know it is done, it is done correctly and I can go onto the next thing I have to do"

See, here is the thing. When you finish the weld, a welding supervisor checks the work -- but, essentially, you know when you finish the pass.

With coding, either you are writing something for yourself, and you decide when function meets goals and move on -- or you have a supervisor. And a manager that decides to keep working, running down tests to check on functions, or knocking down reported bugs. And that is the point that coding differs from welding.

I welded up my chicken house about the time of 9/11 (I listened to the radio reports while working). The building still stands. And my welding only meets arts-and-craft and farmer standards (i.e., it doesn't, beyond few broken welds over the years). Most of my welding was for my neighbor, and did *not* include much new material. Give me a few joints of rusted pipe, though. .

Back when I got my computer sci degree, I recall the observation that on the average assignment, the longest code solution was often five times longer than the shortest, in amount of code that solved the problem. And that the slowest (correct) solution was often five times longer than the shortest.

On a commercial project, the welders have well-defined processes to follow -- which rod, what material, how many passes, what inspections and sign-offs. Engineering the project and fitting the material in preparation for the welder, now, that probably compares closely to the programmer.

@ Tam,

About the Indian name -- what people found that name illuminated your soul?


Anonymous said...

There is a point there, of sorts, though I'm not sure I would judge the quality of a government by the grand scale of its public works projects.

I'd have to go back through the Declaration of Independence to be sure, but I don't think that the Founders pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor and fought a war for the privilege of launching their own, grandiose public works initiatives. -- Lyle

Goober said...

To weld is easy. To weld well takes a lot of practice.

Goober said...

Heh...

Anonymous said...

Re: "Aspies" not getting the joke

I should like to cite Poe's Law in my defense. I work with enough people who don't seem to see a difference between HTML and black magic that the distinction between static HTML and a web application seemed worth pointing out. The condescending, pedantic tone was more a side-effect of my being a condescending, pedantic jerk than anything intentional.

Windy Wilson said...

All this blather about how hard is writing a number in a box vs welding! Welding is easy, writing numbers in boxes is easy. Had that been the end of it, we would have not had dozens of aircraft carriers and battleships and destroyers and what not, we would have had a piece of modern art for the town center of every burg in America. It's knowing Where and How to weld that was the key. It is in the engineering where the Website is lacking, and even comparing it to how long it took for Amazon to get up and running, the Affordable Care Act website still gets the green participation ribbon.

Ed said...

My mother was a welder in a shipyard that produced Destroyer Escorts and LSTs during an extended summer vacation Spring - Fall 1943 as a sixteen year old high school student. She specialized in reworking the mistakes of other welders. The yard received a Navy 'E' for excellence while she worked there.

http://www.hinghamshipyardmarinas.com/history-page.html

http://wikimapia.org/1193339/Former-Site-of-Hingham-Shipyard

http://www.snopes.com/language/phrases/kilroy.asp

Writing computer code is easy. The computer does exactly what the coded instructions tells it to do. Writing good, defect-free, large size, complex, real-time computer code that does exactly what you want it to do can be difficult. It only looks easy when somebody else is doing it, updating the metaphor of monkeys on typewriters producing great works of literature:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem

Matthew said...

Let us never forget all those coders who stayed on board the ACA website debugging and patching even as it sailed toward Midway for its second date with history...

Mizubob said...

Top.Men.
Now that's some funny right there!

Windy Wilson said...

Anonymous 11:14, "The third problem is that they delayed the finalization and promulgation of regulations that affect the specifications until after the 2012 elections for purely political purposes."

Yep, and you can bet that if it had come online before the election it would have been "Read my lips, if you like your insurance policy you can keep it" all over again.