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January 30, 2009 6:47 AM   Subscribe

What real-life bad habits has programming given you? "This has actually really happened to me. I was trying to hang a glass picture frame on the wall and accidentally dropped it. And in the shock of the moment, I loudly yelled 'Control Z!' Then the glass hit the floor and smashed."
posted by grumblebee (170 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's how programming has affected me.
posted by grumblebee at 6:48 AM on January 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not actually programming, but I was playing a lot of Doom in university. I lived in a five-room residence apartment with a kitchenette, and was boiling some water for pasta while running back to unpause and shoot stuff. It occurred to me at one point that I had left the pasta untended for a while, and I began to worry that it might burn, at which point I shrugged and told myself I could just reload from a point before the water boiled.

That was when I stopped playing a lot of Doom in university.
posted by Shepherd at 6:52 AM on January 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


ykybhtl
posted by b1tr0t at 6:52 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


'Control Z!' is not actually programming either.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:53 AM on January 30, 2009


'Control Z!' is not actually programming either.

*smash*
Restore from backup!
posted by Spatch at 6:55 AM on January 30, 2009


Shepherd, I remember years ago, after a multi-hour Tetris session, seeing everything as Tetris tiles: I'd walk down the street thinking, I could fit that car next to that tree if I rotated it 90 degrees.
posted by grumblebee at 6:55 AM on January 30, 2009 [23 favorites]


The one about punctuation and bracketing is familiar to me. I insist on keeping punctuation outside brackets (yes, all the time). I don't care if it's considered wrong. It's still right.
posted by edd at 6:56 AM on January 30, 2009 [14 favorites]


I once said "LOL" rather than actually laughing.

And them my wife slapped me hard across the face.

There is no emoticon for the shame I felt.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:56 AM on January 30, 2009 [81 favorites]


Instead of taking an hour to do a simple but boring and repetitive task I'll spend three days figuring out a way to make it more interesting.
posted by vbfg at 6:56 AM on January 30, 2009 [22 favorites]


I used to try to hit undo in real life back around 2000. I don't know why one would yell control z aloud though.
posted by cashman at 6:57 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


grumblebee: What real-life bad habits has programming given you?

My tendency to slip into Newspeak is doubleplusungood.
posted by not_on_display at 6:59 AM on January 30, 2009


When I was deep in the middle of playing Deus Ex, I'd be walking through a friend's house and think, "I should look in that side table, I bet there's a lock pick in there..."
posted by chowflap at 6:59 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not a programmer, but obviously I spend a lot of time on the internet. I also recently took a part-time job at Target. They use a lot of acronyms, and are constantly calling for one team member or another on the walkies everyone carries around. "LOD, please." "GSTL, please come to TSC." More than once I have been tempted to push the button on my walkie and reply "WTF, BBQ."
posted by yhbc at 7:00 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


This isn't a programming habit, but more of a computer/internet habit. Whenever I can't find something in my apartment, I swear my first instinct is to google it.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:01 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shepherd, I remember years ago, after a multi-hour Tetris session, seeing everything as Tetris tiles: I'd walk down the street thinking, I could fit that car next to that tree if I rotated it 90 degrees.

Sweet, if we're talking games, I can totally relate. After a marathon session of GTA: San Andreas, I spent about a week or so thinking game-based thoughts while in traffic. Thoughts like, "Hey, an ambulance. I still haven't done the ambulance missions now's a good time." Or picking up a cop car to go vigilante. Not to mention the incredible temptation to just ram someone on the highway.
posted by graventy at 7:05 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I'm bored I'll surf my favorite sites in my head and imagine what might be there.
posted by mecran01 at 7:06 AM on January 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


World of Goo has completely changed the way I look at the gumball machines at mall kiosks.
posted by xbonesgt at 7:08 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, I often find myself wishing that books had a 'search' functionality, especially when reading really long books with lots of secondary characters. However, I have enough affection for real dead-tree books that I'll never buy a kindle or anything like that.

Another thing - I've wished that real life conversations had a save buffer, so that I could look back on them later. Probably better that they don't, now that I think about it.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:08 AM on January 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


When doing Real Life crafts or projects, I often OFTEN wish that I had savepoints. I just now realized that that must mean the old saying about "there's never time to do it right but always time to do it twice" must apply especially to programmers. There's no real incentive to think it through first.
posted by DU at 7:09 AM on January 30, 2009


I've been writing software going on seven years and never really seen it spill over into my real life with the exception of coming up with some solid methods in my dreams once or twice, solid enough to remember them and apply them the next day. I thought of putting something like /* This came to me in a dream */ but didn't want the attention.
posted by furtive at 7:09 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


2b || !2b....

That = theQuestion.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:10 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


chowflap, as funny as that is, it's even less programming-related than the "Control-Z" thing.

It reminds me of my big complaint about anti-video-game crusaders, though... they never seem to have any actual experience with the kinds of behaviors that video games can encourage. Grand Theft Auto never made me want to pick up a hooker, never made me want to kill anyone, never made me want to join a gang or the mafia... but what about ignoring stoplights? Taking "shortcuts" as you drive? You can't finish a marathon of one of those games and go out on the road afterward without the back of your mind still thinking, "I could get there faster if I cut across this sidewalk, then drove on the other side of the road to get past that traffic..."

All programming has done to me is ruin me for non-vi-based-editors.
posted by roystgnr at 7:11 AM on January 30, 2009


I have a lot of coding dreams. I don't know why, but the worst were when I was using Lisp. I had horrible dreams that involved endless parenthesis inside parenthesis inside parenthesis...
posted by grumblebee at 7:12 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, like some weird parody of a war veteran, I occasionally have flashbacks to Diablo II's Bloody Foothills whenever I hear a song I had in my playlist at the time.
posted by graventy at 7:14 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sometimes in the morning I forget to increment my counter and drink thousands of glasses of orange juice before someone comes along and stops me.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:15 AM on January 30, 2009 [25 favorites]


I have the urge to CTRL+Z all the time.
posted by autodidact at 7:15 AM on January 30, 2009


I always add spaces after opening and before closing parenthesis and brackets these days. I've also caught myself ending sentences with semicolons instead of periods. I also try to auto-complete everything I type by either tabbing or hitting Ctrl + Space. Great in IDEs and terminal windows, not so awesome in any other environment.

Outside of typing habits, though, not so much.
posted by Fezboy! at 7:16 AM on January 30, 2009


I've had some disagreements with my wife over statements I've made that were intended to communicate logically precise ideas (say, complex statements in forms like: "in the case of X, we should do A, B or C, but in the case of Y we should do D, E and F"), but which she took in a looser sense or just lost patience with me for spelling out so explicitly. For me, it's generally that programming seems to make me tend to qualify my statements more, making explicit arguments where in the past I might have left them implicit--but on the other hand, I sometimes get lazy and rely too heavily on referring to previous conversational topics in shorthand (sort of the conversational equivalent of calling a procedure or instantiating an object--except I'm the only one who knows the handle I'm using to call the procedure). None of this has really improved my ability to communicate with non-programmer peers. But luckily the effects tend to where off when I haven't been heads-down on some big coding task for a while.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:16 AM on January 30, 2009


With computers understanding the system and usually having a quick reposne to your actions is standard - either fromo the CLI or a goole search, we usually want and get instant results.

Standing in an elevator now is enraging because it takes forever especially when I'm in a hurry. Or automated phone menus when calling the bank or something is especially blood boiling.
posted by plexi at 7:20 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I could always tell when my old boss Rico was annoyed with me because he'd make stabbing motions towards me with his mouse - he never realised until I pointed it out to him.

Again not a programming thing, but after playing The Sims for days on end I genuinely began to feel that every action I made was influencing the colour of a big green gem floating above my head.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:23 AM on January 30, 2009


I have to enter a bunch of passwords to access various systems at work. When I get home from an especially long day, I feel my fingers start to type out a password in the air just as I arrive at my front door. Then I remember that this one uses a key.
posted by orme at 7:26 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


All programming has done to me is ruin me for non-vi-based-editors.

I totally sympathize with that. When using BBEdit I find myself wishing it had vi emulation mode.
posted by needled at 7:31 AM on January 30, 2009


I once said "LOL" rather than actually laughing.

I've done this a couple of times. I call it LOLing out loud.
posted by grouse at 7:31 AM on January 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


Not really a habit, nor programming-given, but still bad:

Thailand halts Grand Theft Auto sales after murder
posted by Kiwi at 7:33 AM on January 30, 2009


I've wished that real life conversations had a save buffer, so that I could look back on them later.

You mean you've wished that you were cripplingly neurotic, like me?
posted by autodidact at 7:35 AM on January 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Jesus you people are fucked up.
posted by mazola at 7:36 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, like some weird parody of a war veteran, I occasionally have flashbacks to Diablo II's Bloody Foothills whenever I hear a song I had in my playlist at the time.

I often have Turner Classic Movies or another movie channel on when I'm playing stuff like World of Warcraft. Consequently, Andy Hardy, Topper, and the Guns of Navaronne will be inexplicably linked to the Alterac Valley battlefield in my mind.

(The Bridge on the River Kwai? That's Tempest Keep right there.)
posted by Spatch at 7:36 AM on January 30, 2009


CONTROL+Z! CONTROL+Z!
posted by mazola at 7:37 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter posts, like life, cannot be undone.

Alas.
posted by mazola at 7:38 AM on January 30, 2009


Yeah if we're including games, then the biggest encroachment for me was back in the QuakeII days. I played so much multiplayer at university that I would get the urge to run out of the room whenever a green light flashed at a bar or club (which is more often than you'd think when you're not paying attention to it.) That's the only way to survive the BFG!

A couple years later when I was playing Tribes 2 as practically a full time job, any time I was walking I would get the urge to "ski", forgetting that I didn't have a jet pack on.
posted by autodidact at 7:38 AM on January 30, 2009


Not exactly due to programming per say, but there was a moment I remember from the first months of living on my own: I had never used the washing machine on my own, but mom had given me a general run-through. So I chucked in a big load of clothing, closed the hatch and had to figure out what buttons to press. I had just spent several hours in front of the computer, and I guess my brain was still in that mode, so I held my index finger up to a button and waited for a tooltip to appear. Took me a few seconds to snap out of it.

Then there's the classic CTRL+Z instinct that kicks in now and then after dropping things, drawing a line wrong, etc etc. But I doubt I'll ever forget that tooltip moment.
posted by pyrex at 7:42 AM on January 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


After a marathon session of GTA: San Andreas, I spent about a week or so thinking game-based thoughts while in traffic.

Whenever I see an unattended motorcycle, my initial internal reaction is something similar to finding a twenty on the ground. As in, "sweet! A motorcycle! Mine now! And I don't even have to chase down, knock off, or shoot anyone to get it." Then I quickly realize I'm not in San Andreas and I don't even know how to ride a motorcycle.
posted by lampoil at 7:42 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have enough issues with these sorts of things, but have to say I'm possibly even more a language geek than I am a computer geek nowadays, so punctuation doesn't prove a problem for me.

As for games, I remember playing Quake so much back in the day that while walking round town, when I heard a dog bark I realised I was suddenly trying to spin and raise a shotgun at it... Fortunately hasn't happened so much since, even after nights full of Left 4 Dead and such.
posted by opsin at 7:47 AM on January 30, 2009


Oh, I did suffer from seeing bikes while playing GTA4 and wanting to make off with them. Strangely my brother only had that when passing a garbage truck!
posted by opsin at 7:49 AM on January 30, 2009


I remember reading somewhere about the Army's simulated training environments, and how they would not permit soldiers to drive real vehicles for a few hours after the training sessions, because they were getting into accidents.
posted by orme at 7:49 AM on January 30, 2009


Filesharing has ruined me. When I get hungry, I will type "sandwich" into Limewire before remembering that that won't work.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:50 AM on January 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


For me, it's generally that programming seems to make me tend to qualify my statements more, making explicit arguments where in the past I might have left them implicit...

I've totally noticed this too, although I'm not sure the causality arrow is in the right direction.

In any case, I have NOT noticed this in convo with my wife who, though non-technical, is logico-mathematical. I've noticed it in convo with others, though, even other programmers. I'll often use a linguistic marker indicating that I do not personally know something to be true (e.g. "I have heard it claimed that..." or "Someone once told me that...."). The listener takes this as a belief on my part that I have explicit evidence that the claim is false when it's really just that I don't like to believe things without confirmation. (Not necessarily personal, but at least from multiple or authoritative sources.)
posted by DU at 7:50 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


The most real-life-intrusive game I ever played was Curses. That infected my dreams all the time.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:51 AM on January 30, 2009


I avoid these problems by never leaving the Internet.
posted by adipocere at 7:52 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


My story is more a product of too many logic courses. Anyways, when my mother-in-law, who has new-agey type proclivities, remarked that Muir woods looked like it was filled with fairies I was able to reply that no place on earth had more fairies. I think that what my statement lacked in clarity it more than made up for in diplomatic technical accuracy.
posted by vorpal bunny at 7:53 AM on January 30, 2009 [21 favorites]


I stare at a computer screen, literally, from 7AM to when i go to bed at midnight, with a break for commuting and lunch (dinner is on my desk in front of the computer).
posted by Mach5 at 7:54 AM on January 30, 2009


Watching sports games with a DVR has screwed up my expectations at live sporting events. When there's a close play at the plate, my first instinct is to rewind and watch it frame by frame to see what the call should have been.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:54 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


When Everquest came out I played hours and days and weeks of it. At dinner one night instead of saying "Pass the salt", what I said was "You say "Pass the Salt"". Ugh
posted by GilloD at 7:54 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


My girlfriend relates that one time she was swimming a set number of laps in a pool and thought: "I should parallelize this, it would get done a lot faster."

When I ran into an old work colleague last year, I couldn't place her although she repeating her name at me endlessly. This was because she has the same name as my aunt, resulting in what I later described as a hash table collision ...

A friend who used to be a clinical psychologist described his patients to me: "There was really no way to cure or to fix these people. Mostly they needed to abandon the game and go back to a saved position."
posted by outlier at 7:54 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


*I notice that when I am explaining something to someone, I
*try to explain using alot
*of "if's", "then's", "and's", "or's" and so on. Not that it is not *normal to use these words;
*however, it sounds like an old Cobol program.
*For example, my kid might ask me if I can drive him to a friend's house, and I deliberately
*respond something like this:
*
IF you want to go to John's house
AND you want to go now
THEN you must do so-and-so
OR you can't go.
*
*I don't usually talk this way, but it's my way of making sure I've *covered everything, and
*there are no loose ends.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 7:56 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Believing that being right is enough.

Believing that people will listen to reason.


Well you certainly don't have to be a programmer to have that feeling.
posted by fungible at 7:57 AM on January 30, 2009


After doing a lot of HTML, I've caught myself inserting tags for various things (font changes, paragraph breaks, etc.) into my personal emails.

Also, it's not coding, but I've double-clicked elevator buttons and on a few occasions have actually said "LOL", "double-u, tee, eff" and "teh noms" in casual conversation, to my embarrassment.

A long time ago, while working long hours with DeluxePAINT a lot at work, I was in the pool at home one evening, looking at the sunset. I told my friend, also a co-worker, "Beautiful gradient." Without skipping a beat, he responded "Yeah, but it's about to revert." We looked at each other, deadpan for a second, and then laughed.

I totally dig the Tetris comment above, too. After weeks of playing that game, it was impossible not to see everything in the real world as a geometric shape waiting to be fit into or along side of other things around me.
posted by darkstar at 8:00 AM on January 30, 2009


Bad habits from programming? I don't know about programming specifically (though that's what I do for a living) but the computer in general yes....

Not wanting to talk to people or make new friends. An underlying drive to find a girl but no real ambition to accomplish the task. Overweight (though my Wii Fit showed up last night so we'll see if I can lose weight that way, or at least get my ass out from behind the monitor). Awkward socially.

You get the point.
posted by SirOmega at 8:04 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's intentional, but I do very often yell "Undo, undo, undo!!!!" when I or someone I am with messes something up.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:05 AM on January 30, 2009


Slight derail: this quote from Kiwi's link really disturbs me.

This time-bomb has already exploded and the situation could get worse," Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the ministry's Cultural Surveillance Centre, told Reuters. "Today it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner.

Gasp....a SHOP OWNER? What the hell, Ladda Thangsupachai???
posted by nosila at 8:06 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


roystgnr: "All programming has done to me is ruin me for non-vi-based-editors."

There's a plugin for Firefox that lets you use your editor of choice to edit text boxes, and you can easily set it up to use vi.
posted by octothorpe at 8:07 AM on January 30, 2009


When you look at the sky and think "Hmm, nice clouds. Wonder if they are using some kind of genetic algorithm?"
posted by fallingbadgers at 8:08 AM on January 30, 2009


How programming has affected me is it has like all kinds of fucked up my right hand keyboard position. But I can type brackets like a motherfucker, [which has its uses].
posted by cortex at 8:09 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone ever try to "favorite" someone in real life? Did it result in injury?
posted by orme at 8:09 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


When I build things (like, in the real world) I have a strong tendency to work out a precise and time/effort optimized system for whatever particular thing I have to do. And then I always get very frustrated that I have to physically do that process over and over. It's not so much a habit as a nagging sense that once I've worked out the best way to do something, I shouldn't have to actually do it ever again. I should just be able to call that method until the stack is empty.
posted by rusty at 8:10 AM on January 30, 2009 [13 favorites]


I sometimes walk around singing,"One little, two little, three little endians."
posted by ryoshu at 8:11 AM on January 30, 2009


Lots of these are just General Nerd Fault issues, rather than being specifically computer-related. I frequently call completely unrelated things "orthogonal." Physicists and algebrists get this, and my wife gets it, but most people don't. I hate when people don't realize they know how to estimate. "I don't have any idea what that will cost." "Is it closer to ten dollars, a hundred dollars, or a thousand dollars?" "Oh, two or three hundred." The problem is that developing a precise way of dealing with things is a skill that takes a long effort to hone, and practicing in unusual contexts becomes a habit.

This goes the other way, too: people who do research for a living frequently specialize in things they are bad at. My wife made this observation while getting a degree in a psychology department. Her graduate committee included I mentioned this to a colleague who made a career studying mirror symmetry in physics, and he told me he couldn't tell his left from his right until he was a teenager.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:11 AM on January 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


If I ever start a band, I'm naming it Control Z. I've been saying this for years, but I don't seem to be getting any closer to starting a band.

Doh, I just googled and found a band on MySpace called Control_Z. Oh well, another dream lost.
posted by diogenes at 8:14 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been playing a lot of Fallout 3 lately. A few weeks ago, I went to a furniture store and sitting on a coffee table was a shiny, light blue book. My gut reaction was, "I should pick that up, I can sell it to the Brotherhood later." Then I realized I was looking for furniture.

I've also been doing a lot of air travel lately, and it amazes me every time how much the ground looks like Sim City.

The Pavlovian response shows up a lot, though. If my glasses aren't on my face, I'll still slide my finger up my cheek if I need to rub my eye. My car is a stick shift, so when I drive an automatic I smash my left foot onto the floor mat all the time - I've even shifted out of drive without thinking before.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:15 AM on January 30, 2009


I was once a young man on hard drugs and I was downtown. It was dark and there were blinking lights, and I was rummaging around. I found a lady, took her home and slept with her. It was Championship mode.

In the early morning, knocked out and screwed up, I half wake and go for a drink of water. As I bend my tense body towards the stream, I get a superimposed hallucination that I am [q]uaffing from the sink. There was a strange foreboding.

Anyone else play Nethack?
posted by krilli at 8:15 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Filesharing has ruined me. When I get hungry, I will type "sandwich" into Limewire before remembering that that won't work.

It probably does work, you just won't get the sandwiches - or indeed the meats - you were really expecting.
posted by stelas at 8:16 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


I try to explain using alot of "if's", "then's". . .

I occasionally find myself in the position of editing things written by programmers. I find that they always -- ALWAYS -- follow any /if/ clause with a /then/ clause, regardless of context.

I imagine them at home saying things like:

"Honey:
if you are going to the kitchen
then bring me a Mountain Dew.
Otherwise
I'll get it myself."

I haven't seen any intrusive use of /XOR/, but it wouldn't surprise me, IFF it occurred in text written by programmers.

Tangentially, another writing virus I've seen is that any list of features or options must have the prelude, "including, but not limited to. . . ".
posted by Herodios at 8:18 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


A true programmer would immediately go out, buy a new picture frame, and drop it again to see whether the issue is a design flaw or merely a transient problem.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:19 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Nice find, octothorpe.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:21 AM on January 30, 2009


I went from computer science to law. Now I work on big, complex legal documents with a team, and I'd kill for a nice CVS repository.
posted by naju at 8:22 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Tony Hawk. When I was playing that a lot, I'd walk around figuring out the best rail slides and how to best combo the city.
posted by inigo2 at 8:23 AM on January 30, 2009


"Honey:
if you are going to the kitchen
then bring me a Mountain Dew.
Otherwise
I'll get it myself."


At least they aren't Perl programmers, where the general idiom is something like:

"Bring me a Mountain Dew or die."
posted by grouse at 8:30 AM on January 30, 2009 [26 favorites]


I find myself getting much more irritated by repetitive physical tasks than I used to before I learned to code. Why can't I just write a loop and be done with it?

Mechanical work has also been ruined for me. The stupid stuff that never happens to software, like stuck screws or loose wires or things you can't reach because they're too high or too deep inside.
posted by ook at 8:31 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Again not a programming thing, but after playing The Sims for days on end I genuinely began to feel that every action I made was influencing the colour of a big green gem floating above my head.

Sometimes when I am planning my evening, I do it in Sim form - imagine a menu over my head with all the options in bubbles leading outward.

Mostly I pick "Watch TV" or "nap".
posted by Lucinda at 8:37 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suppose this is just another version of CTRL-Z, but I like the retro flavor. When I was 11 or 12 and playing the old Sierra adventure games -- which were rather unforgiving of exploratory try-anything gameplay -- F5 (Save) and F7 (Restore) became second nature. I opened the fridge one night, missed the gallon of milk and exploded it on the floor. I couldn't believe I forgot to hit F5 first. You always do that before you try something risky.
posted by BoatMeme at 8:37 AM on January 30, 2009


Also, I am a programmer and while I haven't had a lot of these mentioned cross over into real life, I do find myself speaking in OO terms about real world concepts. "___ is an instance of class ____, implementing _____ interface"

I've sometimes been known to randomly call out design patterns when recognized in the wild. Strategy pattern! Singleton! Proxy pattern! Facade! It's a bit like Harlan Pepper naming nuts in Best in Show.
posted by BoatMeme at 8:45 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm a teacher, but I did some programming in high school and college. Early on, I was watching someone who was a much better teacher than I in her class. One of my notes said something along the lines of "push-pop questions in a stack" meaning to treat multiple questions as a stack and use a first in, last out answering order. Trying to explain this to a fellow teacher a year later took me half an hour and two pages of paper. Mostly because I felt the need to explain DFA's to get to PDA's, as that was the context I thought of stacks in. (I was a math major, I find coding boring, but the theoretical side of computer science is something I found really interesting.)
posted by Hactar at 8:47 AM on January 30, 2009


It's not such a bad habit, but I started learning Python a couple months ago, and after intense sessions I will see everything as an optimization problem, e.g. things like figuring out what order to wash dishes in to maximize sink space the fastest.
posted by wastelands at 8:47 AM on January 30, 2009


In my later high school years I used to listen to video game soundtrack CDs while driving around town, and one afternoon while zipping down an empty back road to the Rainbow Road tune from Mario Kart 64 I was lost in my own little driving world and very nearly missed stopping for a red light at an uncharacteristically busy intersection. Long story short; I slammed on the brakes, nobody was hurt, nothing was damaged, and the game soundtracks have stayed at home ever since.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:48 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


...one afternoon while zipping down an empty back road to the Rainbow Road tune from Mario Kart 64...

That is perhaps one of the single nerdiest sentence fragments I've ever read. I like it. I do!
posted by BoatMeme at 8:51 AM on January 30, 2009


If I ever start a band, I'm naming it Control Z.

I used to play with "Call Club".
posted by Herodios at 8:53 AM on January 30, 2009


I occasionally wish for a search function when reading a book, expecially a multi-hundred page book when I want to re-read a section...

However the only computer things that I do in real life is finding myself trying to manually unwind a conversation stack when chatting when I wonder 'how the hell did we get to talk about this'...

This most often happens with conversations with my father who can fly off on a tangent many times a second during a conversation until my brain explodes with a stack overflow and I no longer know why we are discussing a particular topic, nor what the hell I meant to say originally!

I actually managed to explain the concept of a call stack and a stack overflow to my parents

Oh, and like BozoBurgerBonanza, attempting to use clear boolean logic expressions when negociating with my 3- and 6-year old children...
posted by nielm at 8:56 AM on January 30, 2009


Back when Starcraft first came out, I obsessed over it for a few weeks. I stopped cold when I started to see troop movements whenever I closed my eyes.

grumblebee, Perry Bible Fellowship knows that feeling. So does Mega64. Oh, and there's that Japanese gameshow, and the Fox TV version. But if you're into fantastic video presentations, see The Original Human TETRIS Performance (who also made a Space Invaders tribute, too).

If you're a fanboy (or fangirl), you can build your own tetris-shape sheves. And if you were lucky, you could have found some lost tetris pieces, lodged somewhere in Australia.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 AM on January 30, 2009


I knew I was playing too much Civ 4 when, while watching The World At War, all I could think about was how to adapt the Allies North Africa plan to defeat the Mongols who kept stealing my cities.


Also, if I play too many Maxis games my dreams take on a 3rd person isometric view.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I sit in a chair all day long without any kind of physical activity.
I've deferred or given up my dreams just for a decent salary.
I allow myself to be bossed and bullied by people who are clearly less intelligent and competent than me.
I've been herded like cattle into a room with five other people and had my personal privacy and dignity to be sacrificed to a moronic trend called "agile programming."




Oh wait.
Were these supposed to be funny?
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:59 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


And I had a professor write LOL as part of his comments on my paper once. It was weird. He wasn't that much older than most of the students in the class, but I still cringed. Hand-written texting and IMing abbreviations always make me worried about cultural simplification.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:01 AM on January 30, 2009


It works in other fields too. I am forever annoying people around me by unconsciously blurting the the names of fonts on posters and advertisements. I don't even realize I'm doing it until it's pointed out. Naming nuts indeed.
posted by The Whelk at 9:04 AM on January 30, 2009


ook: you could have saved yourself some time by just referencing rusty's comment.
posted by yhbc at 9:05 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have to enter a bunch of passwords to access various systems at work. When I get home from an especially long day, I feel my fingers start to type out a password in the air just as I arrive at my front door. Then I remember that this one uses a key.

To be fair, the password systems at work probably use a key as well, albeit a different kind.

(do bad computer puns count as a habit?)
posted by Afroblanco at 9:05 AM on January 30, 2009


Watching sports games with a DVR has screwed up my expectations at live sporting events. When there's a close play at the plate, my first instinct is to rewind and watch it frame by frame to see what the call should have been.


I try to do this with my car radio all the time. What were they saying on NPR right as that semi drove by? *poke poke* DAMMIT!
posted by spinturtle at 9:08 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


In the math offices building where I used to work, there was a main office on the 2nd floor, an exit on the 1st floor, and a testing center in the basement. When I'd get in the elevator going down from a high floor, I would often ask my fellow elevatormates "going all the way down?" If they weren't mathematicians, they would say "yes". If they were, they would say "well, not the basement."
posted by ErWenn at 9:10 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


During the summer I lost to Katamari Damacy, I would look up at the Hollywood sign to see what it said that day. Everything was measured in terms of "Can I roll it up yet?" And to this day, I still hear the 'you have 30 seconds left' siren when I'm running late.

I love this thread.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:11 AM on January 30, 2009


When the first generation Lego Mindstorms came out, a friend and I bought sets and sat in the office at 9pm on a friday night rushing through the tutorials to get to (what we thought would be) the juicy stuff.

The first project was to assemble a basic chassis with four wheels, and download a programme to turn on the wheels. Failing to take my head out of a week of solid mod_perl, writing software which would ultimately commune with the outside world through a web browser, I finished the physical side of the project, beamed the software over, and pressed the 'start button'. As the model flew off the edge of the desk, smashed to pieces, and disappeared under decades old desks, heating systems and unipipes, I realised my error and that physical and software runtime environments were very different things; that embedded software had to detect and handle crashes in ways that purely electronic software could not.

The software was fine; the hardware had been proven; but my choice of runtime environment was insecure.
posted by davemee at 9:18 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Whenever I'm writing a paper (or really anything that puts text on screen) I save compulsively. Depending on how much I care about a document, I might save after every paragraph, every sentence, even every few words; that ctrl-S, left-hand pinky-index gesture (then back to the home row) has become a hugely ingrained part of my typing. The problem is, I find myself trying to do the same thing during in-class exams, written out by hand in blue books. I'll write a few sentences, then try to save, then realize that whatever I've written is stored pretty permanently in ink on paper. At the same time, tapping out that gesture, even on a desk, is oddly comforting.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:20 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I went from computer science to law. Now I work on big, complex legal documents with a team, and I'd kill for a nice CVS repository.

I am currently programming a big complex piece of software for managing legal documents;

Ok, so I don't really see the syntax of the raw code bleed into my real life, but I think software engineering practices in general totally do. I see domain models all the time, and can differentiate between an operation that belongs in-model as opposed to as a service. System layers and integration points and interfaces are all good examples of how I determine if something I talk about is sufficiently described. I will often shift gears and mix metaphors when talking to people the same way a design doc may have multiple views of UML.

And don't get me started on project planning... I can pretty accurately estimate the cost of every project my wife sees on HGTV in terms of raw materials as well as hours of labor, which I admit comes in handy in crushing her dreams.
posted by butterstick at 9:28 AM on January 30, 2009


I sometimes play a lot of Go online and then have little Go hallucinations when I'm talking to people later. Disconcerting.

I always add spaces after opening and before closing parenthesis and brackets these days.

I used to write code that way but now we have syntax colouring I think it impedes readability by bulking the code up (Guido agrees with me).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:30 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I break complex tasks into subroutines. If I have to move a bunch of stuff from the kitchen to the living room, then up the stairs, then down the hall and into the bedroom, I can't deal with doing all that item by item. Instead, I'll "run" a moveItemFromKitchenToLivingRoom routine over and over on each item, until they are all in the living room. Then I'll run moveItemUpstairs on each item, until they are all at the top of the stairs, and so on.

When I have to do something like this with other people, I always get irritated, because, inevitably, each person wants to pick up one item and move it all the way from the living room to the bedroom. Whereas I think Bob should just move items from the kitchen to the living room, Alice should just carry items upstairs, I should just move items from the top of the stairs and down the hall, and Joe should stack items in the bedroom.
posted by grumblebee at 9:34 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I walk down the street wondering exactly what type of flocking algorithms affect human behaviour. I view cities from airplanes and think of isometric strategy games.
posted by jkaczor at 9:35 AM on January 30, 2009


I dunno if this is a 'bad' habit, but I play out possible real world scenarios (political or otherwise) in infinite or recursive loops, realizing class instances and structs of many things and being sure to recognize templates. In that I find inheritance hierarchies and formulate better opinions, acting accordingly.

All this I try, throw, and catch, over and over again.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:40 AM on January 30, 2009


Writing software trains your brain to look for logical flaws all the time, and eventually you get to the point where things that don't make sense jump out at you right away.
This crosses over into real life: for example, when NPR puts on Senate debates, I have to change the channel, because all the bad logic drives me crazy.
posted by w0mbat at 9:40 AM on January 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


I spent a lot of time writing raw HTML, CSS and related interpreted languages during my formative years. Now when working on anything, after making a large change I instinctively try to fire up or refresh another window to see the change take effect.

As a result of doing pixel by pixel editing in Paint (no money for expensive graphics software for screenshot editing) I find myself zooming as far out as possible to see the "whole thing" in other documents. Like, say, MeFi on my iPhone or a 180-page systems manual.
posted by subbes at 9:44 AM on January 30, 2009


Bad habits:

I constantly notice how real-world organizations/objects resemble data structures.

When I'm reading a book and I forget who a character is I try to CTRL + F the character name, and then feel absolutely lost when I realize that the book is a linked list of words that will require a manual O(n) search to find the name's guaranteed first occurrence.

EVERYTHING can (and should) be Googled frequently and at the exact moment a question occurs to you. "Etymology of Windex", "History of drink coasters", "free porn", etc.

Good habits:

Snopes
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 9:46 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, also. I had a friend who was reading a book at his desk and when he was done with a page, he reached over, grasped his mouse, and rolled the scroll wheel down to turn the page.

Priceless.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 9:49 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


A million times the control-z.

I constantly do things like add too much salt to the soup or leave the cupcakes in the oven too long or buy a red couch because in my head, I think, "Oh, I can just apple z it if I don't like it." I sometimes don't grasp the idea that things you do in life are relatively permanent.
posted by kerning at 9:52 AM on January 30, 2009


It took me way too long to realize that ^Z was a reference to windows/mac(?) undo, and not suspend, which seemed like a long way to go for a pun about hanging a picture.

And that means that my intuition about these things is probably not good, but, that said, I'm still going to call bullshit on the shouted keyboard shortcuts. During a relatively civilized vi vs. emacs discussion recently, I couldn't remember whether 'P'/'p' pasted before/after or vice versa, even though my fingers knew perfectly well, so I watched myself do it. Speaking and typing are just totally different activities.

Which is to say that I've always assumed that things like "actually really ... yelled 'control-Z'" were just the whats-the-deal-with-airline-food level nerd-wannabe equivalent of "it was literally raining cats and dogs."

Which clearly illustrate a few of the ways that hacking has damaged me :)
posted by MadDog Bob at 9:52 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Back when I was a CAD draftsman, I remember getting really frustrated when there were no "snap" or "array" functions when I was setting the family table for a holiday meal.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:05 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I do a lot of the things on the linked page, and I don't program. Maybe I should start?
posted by Eideteker at 10:10 AM on January 30, 2009


I've been trying to learn jQuery as of late, so I occasionally start an email or document with
   $(document).ready(function() {
by accident.
posted by aheckler at 10:18 AM on January 30, 2009


I once said "LOL" rather than actually laughing.

And them my wife slapped me hard across the face.

Used to be speaking the word or letters "LOL" IRL deserved such treatment, but a couple months back I was talking with someone about something online and I realized in that context I had to say "LOL" because it no longer means "laughed out loud."

I once heard someone say "LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL" IRL and that still does deserve some shame.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:19 AM on January 30, 2009


After a late night coding session in college I went to bed to catch a few hours of sleep before my early morning class. When the alarm clock went off three hours later, I laid half-awake in bed for a moment with the buzzer ringing in my ears and thought to myself, "I should comment out that alarm clock".
posted by groar at 10:34 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bad game habits don't count. Pretenders.

My bad programming habits:

1) putting semicolons at the end of every line of python code
2) the stupid :wq that ends up at the end of all my docs in MS Word
3) leaving typos in emails prefixed by "dw"
4) using "==" as an english word
5) trying to use "more" in windows or dos
5b) and then trying "cat" when that fails
posted by GuyZero at 10:34 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


EVERYTHING can (and should) be Googled frequently and at the exact moment a question occurs to you. "Etymology of Windex", "History of drink coasters", "free porn", etc.

Don't buy a G1 or an iPhone. I do the same thing but it's not nearly as safe while driving versus being at your desk.
posted by GuyZero at 10:36 AM on January 30, 2009


MadDog Bob, I had the same thought. I wonder whether you can learn something about the order in which someone picked up a set of skills by which ones they overlap? I can imagine a hunt-and-peck typist muttering "oops, control-Z" at a keyboard, and that habit transferring to non-keyboarding activities. But the thought of reaching for an imaginary computer keyboard to do something like unlock a door doesn't sit so well with me.

Could also be a preferred environment difference (or perhaps a "cultural" difference). So many commands in Unix tools are easier done than described, especially the shortcuts in emacs and vi. Would a flummoxed emacs user say, "see ex see you"?

I see the same thing when I learn a piece of music on an instrument. Initially I have to pay a lot of attention to the way the notes are arranged on the page, which ones are sharped or flatted or accidentals. There's an intermediate period where I can play pretty fluidly and I also know the names of the notes. If I know something well enough to play without music, though, I forget what I'm playing. I remember how to play it, but to remember what makes a particular sound I have to play up to it and stop and look at my hands.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:41 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


In keeping with the "not actually about coding" thread drift:

The last place I lived, our stove had one of those multi-function programmable ovens. On the keypad was a button that allowed you to reverse one step if you hit the wrong button programming bake time or temperature or whatever. This button was labeled "undo." It took me five seconds after seeing it before I realized the button's functionality was probably significantly more limited than I was imagining.

I painted the exterior of that house, and after an afternoon of work was mildly surprised at how long the task was taking, until I realized my estimation had included the semiconscious assumption that I'd be painting a swatch of wall, copying the swatch, selecting the entire wall and pasting the color into the selection.
posted by Coyote Crossing at 10:42 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Once while pair programming, sitting on a chair with rollers, a coworker asked me to "scroll over" so he could type at my desk. That became an office favorite pretty quick.
posted by funkiwan at 10:44 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


robocop is bleeding - I've taken to saying "burb" to my wife (and only my wife), as the phonetic form of BRB. Because she makes up words, I figure I'm safe from reprimands.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nethack can confer fear of certain letters.

Wait until you've been startled by a capital L.

(Especially the magenta L's...)
posted by weston at 10:55 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mine falls into the same category as the previously mentioned repetitive physical tasks: I don't allocate enough time for the actual task (because that routine only has to be written once). Gotta cut out 50 keyholes in those boards? I'll be done in a few minutes. (On preview, I see that Coyote Crossing and I should never build anything together.)

As for games, Carmaggedon was my weak point. I was not a danger to real-life pedestrians, but there was always the urge to rear-end slow moving cars to gain points.
posted by joaquim at 11:00 AM on January 30, 2009


The one about punctuation and bracketing is familiar to me. I insist on keeping punctuation outside brackets (yes, all the time). I don't care if it's considered wrong. It's still right.

I can't stress this enough. The idea that punctuation for a clause inside a sentence should appear after the sentence terminating punctuation is an abomination.
posted by weston at 11:04 AM on January 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


I've attempted to mouse off the left edge of my screen so that I could read the paper next to it several times.
posted by callmejay at 11:13 AM on January 30, 2009


One time I got stuck in the shower because my shampoo bottle said "Lather. Rinse. Repeat."
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 11:16 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


My reading style has suffered badly. I've increased the speed at which I read tremendously, and as a result, I find that I don't read critically enough on first glance; I force myself to read documents twice and thrice. My reading speed hasn't changed much in scripts other than the Roman script, though, which is rather frustrating; while one lobe is still reading the text, the other lobe tries to hurry it up.
posted by the cydonian at 11:27 AM on January 30, 2009


And oh: I dream in SQL these days. Does that count?
posted by the cydonian at 11:29 AM on January 30, 2009


Many of the women (mostly ages mid 20's thru mid 40's) at my company have started saying (out loud) the letters "O-M-G" when shocked or surprised by something. Most of them were introduced to text messaging by their children. It has spread like wildfire. I heard one lady say it, then 3 weeks later it was common vernacular.

It's very odd.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:29 AM on January 30, 2009


IANAP, so here are some general internet addicty anecdotes:

My boyfriend and I, chronic nerds, living in the same dorm, have developed a few new acronyms that are essential to chatters together IRL.
BRT: be right there
BTS: be there soon

and so on.

I've had dreams where instead of interacting with normal people, I interacted with people who had an MSN message box by their heads. Luckily, I was 13, and haven't had any more of them since.
posted by rubah at 11:32 AM on January 30, 2009


Game version response to this post: there is a bobby pin near the card scanner at the entrance to work. I have resisted picking it up for 10 days (Fallout 3).

Programming version response to this post: a lasting database principle is 'never delete a record - just inactivate it'. I think this had led to an insane desire to keep every digital thing I have - photos, mp3, email... which is part of my pain about cloud computing
posted by mouthnoize at 11:37 AM on January 30, 2009


I sometimes play a lot of Go online and then have little Go hallucinations when I'm talking to people later. Disconcerting.

My god, I've done that, too. I'll start having thoughts like, "I'm hungry, I should totally surround that sandwich." Or even worse, I'll start applying it to social situations. Like, I'll get cornered at a party and think, "Man, Bob and Steve totally have me blocked off. Do I have any liberties here?"
posted by Afroblanco at 11:42 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


5) trying to use "more" in windows or dos

I constantly do that with ls.
posted by ryoshu at 11:55 AM on January 30, 2009


I can't stress this enough. The idea that punctuation for a clause inside a sentence should appear after the sentence terminating punctuation is an abomination.

Having grown up as a fairly accomplished speller and grammar guru (though I've mellowed out considerably since then) this is nevertheless one rule I flout with unrepentant abandon. You're absolutely right; it is an abomination to signify the termination of a sentence and THEN signify the termination of a clause that rests within the sentence that has already been terminated.

It makes no sense to me, whatsoever, and I won't be a party to that nonsense.
posted by darkstar at 12:17 PM on January 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm not a programmer, but I find myself continuously trying to visually grep books, magazines or other physical documents for a given word, and getting amazingly furious when it doesn't actually work.

Two weeks ago, I found myself groping for the keystrokes /f while reading a particularly obfuscatory design document. When I realized what I'd been doing, I stopped reading and started drinking.
posted by scrump at 12:28 PM on January 30, 2009


Also, I sort the dishes before I wash them, and then put them in the dish rack in a manner so as to maximize total dish density and stack integrity without compromising drying speed.

I never really considered it before, but it seems obvious now that this comes from my programmer side.
posted by rusty at 12:36 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


The idea that punctuation for a clause inside a sentence should appear after the sentence terminating punctuation is an abomination.

The two most-followed American English stylebooks agree with you. From the Chicago Manual of Style:
6.14 Location of period. When an entire independent sentence is enclosed in parentheses or square brackets, the period belongs inside the closing parenthesis or bracket. When matter in parentheses or brackets, even a grammatically complete sentence, is included within another sentence, the period belongs outside.
From the AP Stylebook:
• If the material is inside a sentence, place the period outside the parentheses.
• If the parenthetical statement is a complete independent sentence, place the period inside the parentheses.
posted by Coyote Crossing at 1:06 PM on January 30, 2009


More about computers in general: My mouse got a bit wonky and the cursor would jump somewhere, and I'd have to then find it. One day just as the cursor disappeared, a bird flew by outside my window, and for a moment I thought, "great, now the cursor's jumped outside."
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:12 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


At uni, a friend and I would play an online text-based MUD a lot. After an entire day of playing we were discussing some of the things that had happened, over pizza in the student bar. I suddenly realised we'd both prefixed our last few sentences with "say". I pointed this out to my friend, smiling. And then realised I'd just ended by saying "grin".

Then I realised the girl at the next table was looking at me over my friend's shoulder, and her expression could best be described as a mixture of confusion and horror.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:43 PM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I pre-optimise like a motherfucker. If I have to get up, shower, get a clean shirt from the laundry, iron it in the living room, and make a bowl of cereal, I'll lie in bed working out the best possible way to do this in the fewest possible operations. Said optimisation can take so long that I end up running very late.

I'll also find myself standing in the hallway, holding four different things simultaneously, completely tharn and trying to work out what door to take next. I especially hate retracing my steps

When I have to do something like this with other people, I always get irritated, because, inevitably, each person wants to pick up one item and move it all the way from the living room to the bedroom. Whereas I think Bob should just move items from the kitchen to the living room, Alice should just carry items upstairs, I should just move items from the top of the stairs and down the hall, and Joe should stack items in the bedroom.

This too. When I was moving house, I had all my friends arranged like that, and damn did it go fast.
posted by bonaldi at 1:43 PM on January 30, 2009


2) the stupid :wq that ends up at the end of all my docs in MS Word

Heh. I was just coming in to add exactly this. I can't do anything outside of vim anymore.
posted by lysistrata at 1:46 PM on January 30, 2009


Sudo make me a sandwich.
posted by yeti at 1:46 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm. At what point does this cross over into just being OCD?
posted by naju at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2009


I used to write code that way but now we have syntax colouring I think it impedes readability by bulking the code up (Guido agrees with me).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:30 AM on January 30 [+] [!]


I used to write code in that way but worked under a formatting zealot who made life so difficult that, seven years later, I don't think I could break the habit even if I tried. In fact, the shop I work in now is pretty much as zealous in the other direction. Say what you will about IDEs, but they're great for applying formatting rules so I can secretly appease the inner OCD while returning "proper" code to the repository.

Been thinking about this thread off and on today and have to admit that I, too, LOL out loud. Also count me in as one who identifies and vocalizes the design patterns I come across, much to the consternation of my Luddite decidedly non-programming lady. And TLAs. Life without TLAs is a life not worth living IMO.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:27 PM on January 30, 2009


Sweet, if we're talking games, I can totally relate. After a marathon session of GTA: San Andreas, I spent about a week or so thinking game-based thoughts while in traffic. Thoughts like, "Hey, an ambulance. I still haven't done the ambulance missions now's a good time." Or picking up a cop car to go vigilante. Not to mention the incredible temptation to just ram someone on the highway.

Vice City did a similar thing to me. I also used to freak out a little whenever I'd be driving around and hear one of the songs from the soundtrack on the radio. But the thing that really got me was that the guy who was the imaging voice for the "VROCK" in-game radio station used to do a lot of voice work for the real, actual radio station I used to work for. That's the one that caused me to doubt my own existence. I looked in the phone book to see if Baudrillard had any living relatives.

A true programmer would immediately go out, buy a new picture frame, and drop it again to see whether the issue is a design flaw or merely a transient problem.

A true programmer would call somebody else into the room to look at the picture frame, then spend an hour arguing that it's not really broken. [/cranky QA guy]
posted by MrBadExample at 2:27 PM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


The stupid stuff that never happens to software, like stuck screws or loose wires or things you can't reach because they're too high or too deep inside.

You obviously don't work with Active Directory. This week has almost been enough to make me swear off computers.
posted by niles at 2:44 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ok, this is a dream and not real life and it's not programming, but recently I had this really vivid and realistic dream that I was downloading a stack of lumber with bittorrent. There was this ghostly image of a pile of two by fours beside the computer desk, which gradually solidified as the download progressed. At least that was what it was supposed to be doing but I was getting really crappy download rates and it was going to take WEEKS. As I awoke, I mused that Bittorrent was better suited to digital items and it didn't work very well for physical objects.
posted by gamera at 2:45 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only way in which programming carries over is when I'm listening to, or reading a story with parts that I've heard before. I always want to refactor the parts I've heard before into their own function.
posted by fnerg at 3:03 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see some common threads here. The ones I share with others:

1. Pre-optimize everything.
2. Talk, write and expect to be addressed in a logical (Boolean mostly) way.
3. VIM typing habits.
4. Analyzing everything in terms of whatever I have been working lately (After designing an app: Classify everything, say thing like "Well, both dogs and whales are the same shit, they must implement some Mammal interface").
5. Using brackets and indentation to (try to) convey meaning in personal notes and email.
6. Underestimating the time required to perform repetitive physical tasks.
7. Getting really fucking annoyed with badly designed interfaces, badly implemented features or wasted resources (I've looked at the remote control for my cable box. It has a 6 pin programming header. It has a powerful enough microprocessor to enable it to customize keys. Why don't they let me customize it? I could add chords (there are more than 30 buttons there!), bookmarks, shortcuts).

These are just some of the things that programming has changed in me. They are only "bad" habits when dealing with mushy minded people, but they have saved me many minutes that I have used to think wonderful thoughts.

And the bandwidth when you are talking with other programmers! It takes me 5 minutes to pass back and forth ideas and concepts to another programmer that would take hours with a non-programmer.

And finally, the more I write code, the harder I find it to feel insulted. When you talk amongst coders, if you are right then you prove it, and if you can't prove it, then you are wrong, and if you are wrong, fix your own software, then you will be a better programmer. The more I wrote code, the easier I seem to make other people feel insulted :)
posted by dirty lies at 3:05 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ooh, I remembered the thing I did once that's even better than weird programming stuff.

My undergrad was pretty grueling sometimes. Students would bring couches and futons into the labs and lounges (they're available free on the streets of NYC) and work until they dropped, just sleep there if they were working late and had an early class, or just take a nap if they needed it. Crunch times, people would sleep under desks, on tables, on beds jury rigged from office and lounge chairs. This guy didn't even make it out of his chair. He didn't just doze off like that, he was out for a while. So one time I'm exhausted and go to pass out for 3 or 4 hours on the futon. I have to wake up at 10 or whatever. Now when I'm exhausted and wake up I'm sometimes ridiculously out of it. So I woke up and, not fully awake, look at the clock to see if I have to get up yet. Except in that state I somehow decided that the clock said something like (8 + j4) o' clock and I had to figure out if the absolute value of that was close to 10. I fell back to sleep while my fuzzy brain was having a real hard time doing squaring and roots.


As I awoke, I mused that Bittorrent was better suited to digital items and it didn't work very well for physical objects.


Just wait till desktop/home fabrication really takes off. Apple will be coming after you for pirating an Ipod.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:29 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


For a while I played Battlefield 2 a lot, and one day I was just driving wherever I was when a helicopter flew into view. I damn near swerved into some trees that were nearby to hide.

Also, occasionally I'll just be walking outside and for some reason I'll assume that a bird is a cursor. I don't know what that means.
posted by cmoj at 3:35 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


So do any of you have ever "code dreams"?

I get this sometimes when I've been working... I dream about debugging code, except I don't dream about "sitting in front of a computer debugging code" but just the debugging and analysis part of it. It's horrid - I can never make progress, everything's very slippery, it's wearing.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:13 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've worked with MySQL for far, far, far too long.

Everytime I ever write an email or a document, even if its handwritten, and I have to use the word 'mysql' erm, uhm, I mean 'mysql', no...I mean 'myself', I end up writing or typing 'mysql'. Usually, I've gotten as far as 'mysql -u root -p' before realizing my mistake.
posted by metaxa at 4:29 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Code dreams: After one of my first weeks of heavy daily coding in college, I woke up, knew I had to get out of bed, but still felt tired and wanted to pass myself as an argument to the couch.

The stupid stuff that never happens to software, like stuck screws or loose wires or things you can't reach because they're too high or too deep inside.

I love both writing code and working with physical machinery. There's a certain joy in "just get a bigger breaker bar" when something is stuck. I work for a very large 24/7 website, so problems in production related to my code are nearly always emergencies... at least when I've stripped another screw on my motorcycle I can go have a beer and chilll until I feel like dealing with it.

And I can't ever just drill out a bug that I can't figure out how to remove the right way.
posted by flaterik at 4:29 PM on January 30, 2009


I appropriated a spot on my elbow as my CTRL-Z button, and I've been pressing it over and over to try and undo a terrible relationship I was in, and it hasn't worked so far.
posted by aesacus at 4:31 PM on January 30, 2009


So do any of you have ever "code dreams"?

Yes, but strangely, I only seem to do it when I'm running a high fever.

Last time this happened, I dreamed that I found a way to put the world into XML and do XSL transfers on it.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:33 PM on January 30, 2009


I dreamed recently that I was an astronaut, but I couldn't go into space until I passed my code-complete milestone and passed all my unit tests.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:57 PM on January 30, 2009


Like others, I'm a pre-optimizer. In addition to optimizing the task of doing dishes, I do the same thing when I'm grocery shopping. I place items into the cart like a tetris game (boxy stuff here, cans over there, infill with small items). At the checkout, I place heavy, bulky items on the conveyor belt first so they are the first items to be loaded back into the cart, therefore not squishing my loaf of bread and bag of chips. Next go the lightweight boxes (ordered by size) then the cans. The lightweight, delicate stuff goes last so it ends up on top. The same process occurs when I'm out in the parking lot putting all of the items into the trunk of my car.

Oh, and volume controls on my TV or stereo can never, ever, be on an odd number. I always click up to the next even number, even if it's a little too loud.
posted by phrayzee at 7:26 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


And in the shock of the moment, I loudly yelled 'Control Z!' Then the glass hit the floor and smashed."

Bullshit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:19 PM on January 30, 2009


I sometimes wish I could add funny/interesting things I discover to delicious.com. Oh wait...
posted by iamkimiam at 11:44 PM on January 30, 2009


So do any of you have ever "code dreams"?

Yes, but strangely, I only seem to do it when I'm running a high fever.
Last time this happened, I dreamed that I found a way to put the world into XML and do XSL transfers on it.


I had a really bad fever one time, went to sleep, and then had one of the most vivid dreams I have ever had. I had to do come very complex math problems (and I am so not a math guy) and when I woke up I was completely better. I am convinced I "solved" my fever away.
posted by ShawnString at 3:57 AM on January 31, 2009


I may be the only LaTeX nerd here, but I've had to stop myself from writing
\documentclass{article}
\being{document}
at the beginning of my word processed documents, when I give in an use a word processor now and again. Or when I want a degree sign $^\circ$. It vexes me that I have to go dig up the characters and that I can't just type them out.
posted by Hactar at 8:46 AM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine and I were out and about, and we came across a 20 dollar bill. I play World of Warcraft, and the first thing I said was "Roll you for it". *face palms*
posted by bencongdon at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2009


CTRL Z in tee form
posted by badego at 1:00 PM on January 31, 2009


Walking around, talking or doing routine tasks and wishing Google were just there all the time.

Any dead tree reading prompts me to want a Ctrl + F function.

Years ago after playing Mario Brothers I wanted success noises to accompany tasks accomplished and expected the failure noises when there were oopses.
posted by nickyskye at 3:13 PM on January 31, 2009


TIVO has changed my life. Now, every time I'm watching the TV or listening to the radio, I expect to be able to pause or rewind or fast forward no matter where I am or what's going on.

My five year old son has taken it one step further.

When he plays with his friends and he needs to go to the bathroom, he yells "PAUSE" to his friends before running to the bathroom.

If his friends don't pause, he comes back and yells "REWIND, REWIND."

When I explained to him that we couldn't rewind life, he put me in charge of building a time machine. That is, right after I finish building him an invisible robot.
posted by cjets at 6:46 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have SO MANY bottlecaps. I'm RICH.
posted by The Monkey at 3:21 AM on February 2, 2009


CTRL Z in tee form
posted by badego
I saw this and thought, "tee doesn't have undo. Maybe she means shell job control?"
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 2:00 PM on February 2, 2009


fantabulous timewaster: "I saw this and thought, "tee doesn't have undo. Maybe she means shell job control?""

Wow. I've wanted something like tee practically forever…all this time it was right under my nose. Learn something new every day, I guess.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:57 PM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Computer, Control-Z!!
posted by not_on_display at 6:46 PM on February 4, 2009


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