This article by Jon Evans is a good read but I think it neglects two fundamental things. Thing One is the reason why outsourcing will never replace American programmers. Thing Two is that Programmers are still massively underpaid, even with base salaries of ~$125k. Putting aside Dr. Seuss for a moment, I’m talking about Productivity and Communication.
Productivity first. If Spacely Sprockets hires a programmer who can make their inventory system more efficient, the effect is immediate. Profits go up and/or the price of Sprockets goes down. Either way, Coswell’s Cogs is in trouble. Not only do (good) programmers save money in perpetuity by automating tasks, they also provide a competitive advantage that other companies MUST keep up with. This will keep salaries going up.
Communication as it relates to outsourcing is more than just speaking the same language. The most important part of programming is understanding the problem you are trying to solve. Yes, you can give a programmer a strict list of required features and specs, but I have a hard time thinking of a single project where I didn’t realize something while coding (or preparing to code) that had been overlooked. Efficient, maintainable code is required, but so is seeing the big picture of how what you are building is supposed to work and work with the business. That is very hard to outsource.
MacGuyver is amazing. He can take a ball of string, some paperclips, and a piece of chewing gum and build a functional airplane. But the point that is often lost is that he’d much rather build an airplane out of airplane parts. Continue reading
Munin is a wonderful tool that creates easy-to-read graphs of (just about) everything you need to know to keep your servers humming along. Setup is very simple, but it isn’t something I do often enough to remember all the steps off the top of my head. Although there are plenty of great tutorials out there, none of them QUITE fit my setup perfectly. so… Continue reading
Like many people of my age group I have a child who is old enough to watch Star Wars. On my daughter’s third birthday, after much deliberation, we showed her “A New Hope” for the first time. She loved it (duh) and in the past six months she has watched it a few times a week (or possibly more, if you won’t accuse us of being bad parents). Continue reading
Historic: adjective. A word so overused in 2008 that it lost all meaning.
It has taken me quite some time to come to grips with what Barack Obama’s election victory means in the perspective of my own personal history. Though it is a story long in coming, it is one worth sharing.
Barack and I, if I may be so familiar, share a similar background. No, I didn’t attend Columbia or Harvard. But like our 44th president, I was also born in the USA, the child of a white, American woman and a black, African man. My father was from Senegal, not Kenya, but most Americans can’t find either on a map, so we’ll call it even. The parallels don’t end there. We both had absentee fathers who died early and strong mothers who battled cancer. I’m relieved to say that my mother is doing well all these years later but the President’s story certainly resonates with me. Continue reading
One of my favorite things about the speed with which web technologies move is looking back over the learning process. I came across a page on stackoverflow.com today where someone was asking about the differences between WordPress, Drupal, and using a PHP Framework. Continue reading
People who know me would naturally assume that I am what the technology industry refers to as an Early Adopter. I love gadgets, I consider myself a futurist, I’ve read sci-fi my entire life, and I’m generally a big nerd. But those people would be underestimating how conservative I am. When I’m ready to change, I go for it full speed ahead. But I’m a big fan of not fixing what isn’t broken. Continue reading
I feel very lucky to have grown up when I did. I was 10 years old in 1982, which was the year I got an Atari 800. It was a beautiful machine with a whopping 8k of RAM. I have a vague memory of buying extra ram for it that came in blocks the size of VHS tapes and upping the RAM to 48k, but I don’t really remember. Continue reading
By the end of 2006 my band, Good Clean Fun, had been touring for 8 years and had played thousands of concerts. We’d performed in 37 countries on 4 continents and a few islands. I had a pretty large collection of fliers, photos, posters, and even a few tour schedules, but nothing that even approached being a comprehensive list of where we had played, when, and with what other bands. Continue reading
Do you remember the last thing that changed your life? A moment, not too different from all the others, that just sticks in your mind and makes you see everything in a new light? What triggered it? Was it something that someone said to you? Was it something you saw or read somewhere? Did you pass this new way of seeing the world on to anyone else? To your family and friends or maybe to total strangers? Continue reading