On the wall above my desk, is a large cork-board. One half of this currently has on it a random jumble of bits of paper including my lecture timetable, a map of the university, the passcode for my wireless internet, and a picture of Prince William on a motorbike cut out of the Metro. The other side is my Quote Wall, a veritable library of amusing, interesting, or thought-provoking sentences I’ve heard members of the human race come out with.
Most are by people I know, although there is one by Gordon Brown (“I take full responsibility for what has happened, which is why the person responsible went immediately”). This week, the Quote Wall received a new addition.
It was my first lab for Principals of Computer Graphics, and I wasn’t making such a hash of it as I originally suspected I would. I’d even got as far as offering assistance to other people. Well, “assistance” here meaning telling them what the lecturer told me, which was that the whole thing would only work if you pressed “Clean” first. Which was when someone came out with the line:
“Oh, it’s VOODOO. My favourite type of programming.”
I know the feeling. Logical thought dictates that all problems in life (or ones that don’t involve other people at least) can be solved most effectively by sitting down, maybe with a sheet of blank paper, and calmly thinking it through.
Logical thought has obviously not tried programming. I swear on my uncle’s grave, I have had bugs that went away when I recited the Lord’s Prayer, and race-conditions that only reared their ugly head when the forth strike of midnight had passed. Then again, on that second occasion I had been gently sipping whiskey-and-ginger since eight (I’m convinced it helps me program), so my concentration might not have been at its best.
Never-the-less, I feel it’s an irrefutable fact that, whilst most programming concerns WILL lie down after the “think it through” method, for others you simply have to crack out the candles and the black cockerel.
My Rotating Ellipse test app will currently only rotate if I ask it nicely before pressing compile (and then it does a quarter-turn before deciding that life really isn’t worth living after all). I hope to have it fully obedient by Monday, but first I might have to buy more whiskey.