And started thinking…
Why did I write the last entry today? I’ve had it in my stack of ‘blog this’ emails that I send to myself for ages. I wrote about it on Joel last week. I didn’t feel the need to blog it then. So why today? Hmm, I guess people might say I’m a self analysing type, I wonder if that’s bad… ;)
Truth of the matter is that today I’ve been working on something that I initially found dull. Around 5 months ago I started talking to a company that wanted me to quote for an integration job. They’d downloaded some code from CodeProject, used it as the basis of a very important thing they were building and then discovered that they had some issues with it. They asked the author to help but, for one reason or another he didn’t supply adequate help. So they decided to look for something that they could use to replace what they were using without disturbing the rest of their code.
I have some stuff on CodeProject that was similar to the stuff they’d originally decided to go with. They contacted me to see if I could make my stuff compatible with the stuff they’d chosen so that they didn’t need to change anything yet could use my stuff rather than the other guy’s stuff. They’d tested my stuff with the tests that broke the other stuff and, well, my stuff just worked.
So I suggested that I quote for replacing the stuff they were using with my stuff and they said “no, no, we don’t want you to do that. We want you to quote for making your stuff compatible with his stuff.”
Time passed, I looked, I quoted, I did a little coding (hmm, another trend).
They’re a big company. The guy I was dealing with was way down the food chain. It took a while for the company brain to realise that there was a quote sitting there waiting for a purchase order. Now, months later we have a go and I went back to my initial investigations today and started work.
This morning I found the work boring. I’d guessed right and solved the big problems during my initial analysis. But I’d done that in Machete Mode because I was just trying to get a feel for the difficulty so that I could quote. So today was just a case of building a road along a trail that I’d already blazed some months earlier. First thing this morning, given that I had more interesting things to think of, it seemed like I was the dull clerk in the dull office on dull street in dullsville.
Stabilising, testing and refactoring the roughly hewn trail into production quality code. ZZZzzz… I wanna play with Bluetooth and there’s nobody here to stop me…
It’s warm in London today. I’d turned my office air con off because I was sitting here in shorts and the company polo shirt and the air con was too cold for me… By 3 I was hot, bothered, tired and in need of coffee (we ran out yesterday and nobody was around to shop…). So I did the slacking thing. I walked and posted a letter and bought coffee and bin bags and a paper and made coffee and generally allowed myself to avoid the issue for an hour or so.
Got back to the code face about 5 and, oh, it’s 8, I should eat… Anyway, we’re well on the way to having tarmac down on that trail that I hacked through the jungle and what’s more I enjoyed doing it.
I suddenly realised that here I was working in my ideal working environment on code that I want to be working on being paid money by a company that downloaded some code for free from the web and decided that it didn’t work for them. They downloaded some more code and then decided that they’d pay me to make it easy for them to use my code rather than the code that didn’t work. And I was grouchy?