[vcf-midatlantic] efficiency, put another way

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Wed Jun 8 12:42:10 EDT 2016

On 06/08/2016 08:30 AM, Systems Glitch via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
>> I assert that efficiency is inherently good, and laziness is 
>> inherently bad.  These assertions are, I firmly believe, beyond
>> question.
> You have to consider what's scarce though -- efficiency is good, but
> if you have a surplus of computing power and a lack of programmer
> time, it's probably better to be more efficient on your programmer
> time than on computing power. I don't see it a matter of laziness if
> being somewhat less efficient on computer resources allows you to get
> it done faster.

  The problem is that this line of thinking is a slippery slope.  If you
do it this time, because you "need" to, management will insist that you
to do it next time.  I hope you don't have to learn that the hard way,
like I did.

  But in general, yes, your point is well taken...there are different
kinds of efficiency.  But if you have a surplus of computing power and
are short of programmer time, that's a different problem.  Not that
"more programmers" means "more code" (it nearly never does, see _The
Mythical Man-Month_), but if there aren't enough hands to get the job
done, that doesn't mean "do it sloppy", it means staff the organization
properly before the job.  Anything less is poor management, plain and
simple...laziness comes into play there too, but there are usually more
nefarious causes, i.e. greed.

  The "just throw hardware at it, FOR NOW, and we'll fix it later"
mentality is a very slippery slope, as you'll find management will never
allow you to "fix it later".  Then it happens again, and again...then
you'll find an organization with one lazy but overworked programmer, far
more computer power than is reasonable for a given application, and a
VERY high power bill.

  Unfortunately, this has become the norm.  But it doesn't make it right.

  I predict that energy consumption will cause efficient programming to
become important to mainstream organizations again.  When that happens,
I will be available for tutoring services.  If that doesn't happen in my
lifetime, I'll still get twice as much work done with half the hardware
in the meantime.  And I'll sleep better at night knowing I've DONE IT
RIGHT, rather than wussing out and being lazy.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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