My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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This is the "I'm trying my hardest to be late to that meeting that spans lunch where they don't serve anything to tide you over" edition of Programming Quotables.

If you don't know - I don't like to have too many microposts on this blog (I'm on twitter for that), so save them up as I run across them, and every once in a while I'll post a few of them. The idea is to post quotes about programming that have one or more of the following attributes:
  1. I find funny
  2. I find asinine
  3. I find insightfully true
  4. And stand on their own, with little to no comment needed
It's up to you decide which category they fall in, if you care to. Anyway, here we go:

This is my Quality is Dead hypothesis: a pleasing level of quality for end users has become too hard to achieve while demand for it has simultaneously evaporated and penalties for not achieving it are weak. The entropy caused by mindboggling change and innovation in computing has reached a point where it is extremely expensive to use traditional development and testing methods to create reasonably good products and get a reasonable return on investment. Meanwhile, user expectations of quality have been beaten out of them. When I say quality is dead, I don't mean that it's dying, or that it's under threat. What I mean is that we have collectively- and rationally- ceased to expect that software normally works well, even under normal conditions. Furthermore, there is very little any one user can do about it.


I haven't figured out yet exactly how I'm going to use this, but it'll probably look like this: one new beat per day, one new track per weekend. One new app per month, one milestone on the app per week. The goal is not to establish a far-off goal and find a way to hit it, but to establish a series of tiny, immediate goals that keep you forever moving forward. Aristotle argued that virtue was mostly a matter of having good habits; Lao-Tzu tells us that the voyage of a million miles starts with a single step. So the key is to get moving and keep moving.


But in computer games, it's impossible to have an equal match. It's humans versus machines. One side has an advantage of being able to perform a billion calculations per second, and the other has the massively parallel human brain.

Any parity here is an illusion, and it's that illusion that we seek to improve and maintain via the introduction of intelligent mistakes and artificial stupidity.

The computer has to throw the game in order to make it fun. When you beat the computer, it's an illusion. The computer let you win. We just want it to let you win in a way that feels good.
Mick West, Intelligent Mistakes: How to Incorporate Stupidity Into Your AI Code

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