[vcf-midatlantic] efficiency, put another way

Neil Cherry ncherry at linuxha.com
Wed Jun 8 08:34:48 EDT 2016

On 06/08/2016 01:44 AM, Dave McGuire via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
>   [sorry if you see this twice; I sent it to the "old" list in error]
>   To put the efficiency argument another way..
>   It seems we (the larger "we", societally) have called into question
> the basic value of efficiency.  Is efficiency inherently valuable?  I
> say it is.
>   Many people, however, say it isn't, or at least imply that it isn't,
> because they say things like "RAM is basically free, so it doesn't
> matter".  (Evan, I know you were speaking as devil's advocate there)
>   The problem is, these people are gratuitously and cavalierly stating
> that efficiency is no longer important in order to excuse themselves
> from having to know what they're doing, to absolve themselves of
> responsibility for creating crap results (crappy software, etc), or to
> give themselves an "out" by justifying their laziness.
>   I assert that efficiency is inherently good, and laziness is
> inherently bad.  These assertions are, I firmly believe, beyond question.

I view efficiency as:

Fast (amount of time to do), Good (quality, meets requirements), and Cheap
(overall cost). Pick any 2

As others have mentioned, I can write scripting language tools that I
can string together (under Unix with pipes) to create new tools. Efficient
cost and use of my time, highly flexible but okay quality (high cpu, RAM
and storage usage). Later I find that the amount of data I'm running through
those scripts is huge and suddenly that quality issue (mainly cpu and RAM)
begins to eat into my time, so I have to refactor for a new efficiency.

Back to the rule of thumb and laziness. A rule of thumb allows an engineer
to work quickly but when it becomes laziness (the engineer no longer thinks)
that's when it becomes dangerous. The storage is basically free is one of
the rules, as is that the internet is always there. Both hugely dangerous
assumptions (as I found out as I tried to run my search scripts in parallel
only to find the machine inaccessible until the processes were done, O(n^2)).

Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       ncherry at linuxha.com
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
Author of:    	Linux Smart Homes For Dummies

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