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Where's Your Coding Happy Place? 508

jammag writes "Cranking out code — your very best code — requires being in the optimal environment, muses developer Eric Spiegel. He explores the pitfalls and joys of the usual locales, cubicle, home, the beach. He claims he's done his best coding on an airplane. In the end, though, he suggests that the best environment is a matter of the environment inside yourself, your internal mood — and to hell with the cubicle or wherever. You have to be focused on quality, regardless of the idiot clients. It's all inside your mind. Where's your coding happy place?"
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Where's Your Coding Happy Place?

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  • by PipingSnail ( 1112161 ) on Monday April 20, 2009 @07:03PM (#27653895)

    That implies you must be using a laptop to write code.

    How can you produce your best code on laptop? Thats just incredible. Rubbish keyboard on all laptops and compromised mouse support.

    I've got an excellent laptop, a Dell M6300 and its not up to the job despite a good large keyboard and 1920x1200 screen. Don't even mention a Macbook with its horrible keyboard and even worse mouse/trackpad etc.

    You need a real machine, with good ergonomics etc. So basically that means separate screen (so you are not hunched over it), real keyboard that you situate a decent distance and height from the screen (unlike a laptop), same for mouse, multiple buttons on the mouse (Ouch, out goes the Apple). OS of your choice, Windows or Linux, doesn't matter.

    Airplane? You've got to be kidding. Thats about as useful an environment as sitting at a bus-stop or in a cafe. Plain useless. If I'm in a plane, I'm suffering all the other folks because I want to go to the destination. If I'm in a cafe its because I'm hungry and/or I have some interesting company to hang out with.

    The last thing I want is some inane conversation about football or a TV soap or some girl nattering about her boyfriend interfering with my software thought processes. Thats the unfortunate things about ears, unlike eyes you can't close them.

    Silence. It can be great. As I get older I find I prefer it more. But often I code to music (Zappa through folk, no rap, no hip hop, no drum and bass - what could be worse?). Melody is good (rhythm implied by melody), rhythm without melody (drum and bad, hip hop, rap all fit that) is bad.

    I often puncuate my software writing with playing musical instruments (border bagpipe and mandolin if you are interested). A good long walk often helps as well.

    And yes, I do get to do all these things. I work for myself these days, but previous employers often let me arrive late for work or leave in the middle of hte day for 3 hours to go horse riding. All about getting the right things. I may be gone for 3 hours but most times those days they got 10 hours out of me those days (yes 10 in the office) and highly productive too (Emacs on various Unix and VMS back then).

    Someone mentioned vi. For productivity? You are joking.

    In an ideal world, vi, its progeny and derivatives (including Emacs vi-mode), like smallpox before it, would be eradicated. And all software developers would be a lot more productive. Bill Joy has a hell of a lot to answer for inflicting that upon the software world.

  • Re:Oddly enough... (Score:4, Informative)

    by LaskoVortex ( 1153471 ) on Monday April 20, 2009 @08:05PM (#27654461)

    Depends on your jurisdiction, I'm guessing, but at least when I served they left me, another programmer, and a chemist on the jury.

    You got tapped because you don't know what you are doing. The trick is, when they get to you and ask you about your job and spouse and such, is to proclaim clearly and in your best and most assertive and confident Obama voice, that you are "able to be 100% impartial and will consider only the evidence presented" and, because of your training as a scientist/engineer, are "never swayed by emotional appeal". If you do this, you are the next juror excused no matter whose turn it is to excuse jurors. It works every time for me.

  • by CrazyTalk ( 662055 ) on Monday April 20, 2009 @10:06PM (#27655393)
    The best piece of code I ever wrote was on a cross country flight. It was an integral piece of the project I was working on, and in a span of about 2 hours I had greater productivity than in most of the rest of the year put together. Of course, that was a long time ago before coach seats got so small that sitting comfortably let alone working became out of the question.
  • by SBFCOblivion ( 1041418 ) on Monday April 20, 2009 @10:37PM (#27655599)

    If it's anything like the last place I worked there is a reason for it (although a bad one).

    My old department at my old job didn't like us listening to music because people from other departments would walk by and see us listening to music and then go complain to their managers. Why complain? Because their departments didn't allow people to listen to music for whatever reason. Why couldn't they listen to music if we could?

Disks travel in packs.