Author Archives: edw519

Betty Weissman (1930 – 2011)


When others said, “You can’t”, she said, “You can.”

When others said, “You can,” she said, “You better.”

When others said, “You won’t,” she said, “You will. And I’ll help you.”

When others said, “You may be able to,” she said, “You have to.”

When others pushed you down, she picked you up. When others hurt you, she put on the band-aid, and unwrapped the Klondike.

When others said, “We don’t have room on our team for you,” she said, “That’s all right honey. We’ll make our own team.”

The first time one of us said, “Ma! He’s looking at me,” she said, “Don’t look at him.” The next time one of us said, “Ma! He’s looking at me,” she said, “Go wash the dishes. He won’t look so much.”

When you played a song on the piano and she recognized it, she said, “Beautiful!” When you played a song on the piano and she didn’t recognize it, she said, “For this we need lessons? Go practice some more!”

When others said, “Eat the salad; you’ll feel better,” she said, “Screw the salad; eat the corned beef.”

When others said, “Given the choice, go have fun,” she said, “Given the choice, go to work. We’ll have fun together later. You’re buying.”

Whenever you went somewhere, others asked, “How was it?” She asked, “So nu? What’d they serve?”

When others said, “I’ll be ready in a minute,” she said, “Let’s go.” When others said, “Let’s pray,” she said, “Let’s eat.”

When others put on a schmutie to go to Giant Eagle, she put on her best outfit to go to the mailbox.

When others did things halfway, she did them all the way, and made us do them that way too.

When asked, “What should you do with a problem child?” others said, “You fix them.” She said, “You love them.”

When others said, “We need a time-out,” or “This is a teaching moment,” she just looked at you in such a way that you knew that there would never be a worse feeling than disappointing her.

When others picked up the phone and heard your voice, they said, “Hello.” When she picked up the phone and heard your voice, she just laughed, as if to say, “No better thing could have just happened.”

When others finished a phone call, they said, “Bye.” When she finished a phone call, she said, “I love you. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

When others did something, it was “to impress the boys” or “to get the girl” or “to earn some money” or “to win the game”. When we did something, it was to make her smile. Until she smiled, everything was a work in progress. After she smiled, nothing else mattered.

When it came her time to say goodbye, she did it just like she did everything else: for her children. She did it slowly, taking years. She may have made it harder for herself, but she made it easier for us, so that we could get used to the idea of her being gone. It sorta worked, but not really.

I will never be able to say goodbye. The only thing I’ll ever be able to say is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to say, “Hey Ma, look at me! I love you. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

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Who is a Good Programmer?

A smart accountant once told me that the answer to “How much money did you make?” is always, “Who wants to know?” If it’s an investor, the answer is “A lot.” If it’s a customer, the answer is “A little.” If it’s the IRS, the answer is “None.”

Same thing here. The answer to “Who is a good programmer?” is always, “Who wants to know?”

To a project manager, the programmer who hits every deadline (regardless of quality) is a good programmer.

To a customer, the programmer who solves their problem quickest is a good programmer.

To a business owner, the programmer who makes them the most money is a good programmer.

To a PHB, the programmer who makes them look the best is a good programmer.

To a journalist, the programmer who tells the best stories is a good programmer.

To a junior programmer, the best mentor is the good programmer.

To another programmer, the programmer they are most likely to want to go into battle with is a good programmer.

To a blogger, the programmer who best fits the profile of the point he is trying to make is a good programmer.

Follow me:!/edw519

How do I achieve laser focus and concentration?

The single most important thing I do to “achieve laser focus and concentration” is to work in such a way that I don’t need “laser focus and concentration” to get my work done.

This has to be done the night before.

I always quit all online work at least 2 hours before bedtime and print whatever I’m working on.

Then I go into any other room with program listings, blank paper, and pens (especially red!) and plan out all of tomorrow’s work.

All analysis, design, and refactoring must be done at this time. I do not allow myself to sleep until the next day’s work is laid out. I also do not allow myself to get back onto the computer. The idea is to have a clear “vision” of what I am going to accomplish the next day. The clearer the better.

This does 2 things. First, I think about it all night (maybe even dream about it). Second, I can’t wait to get started the next day.

I always wake up and start programming immediately. Once I get going, it’s easy to keep going. Any difficulties are probably because I didn’t plan well enough the night before.

Follow me:!/edw519