Monday 2020-06-22
90 percent of everything is crap.
-- Sturgeon's Law

Sturgeon coined this back in the early or mid-1950s, and according to Wikipedia has its roots in Kipling's Four-fifths of everybody's work must be bad. If we take these statements at face value, i.e. 50 percent reduction over 60 years, our world is going to shit at an rate of -1.1486 percent per year.1 And that in this year of 2020 the global crap-o-meter now stands at 95%.

This craptacularity is even worse for people who specialize across disciplines, i.e. everyone trying to avoid situations where a bot could replace them. With just two areas of interest, what are the odds that the top 5% of tools in either field work well togther unless the two fields are huge enough that their intersection represents a worthwhile market? And if your work involves three areas or more?

How does everyone cope?

Let's take the world of text editors as an exploratory example. Editors fall into one of three camps:

  1. Hackable
    vim / emacs / acme, where people bolt on whatever they need in order to make it work.
  2. Composable
    sed/ed, vis -- editors that can be used in a pipeline.
  3. Bad
    Ignores the problem, is overly specialized (dead in ten years), and everything else.

The thing about Hackable and Composable is that you end up in maintenance hell.2 You hack and compose whatnot and then stuff the resultant mess into a git repo for further fixing -- and that git repo will never ever die.

While I love git for having drastically changed the world for the better, its infectious dev-bit3 toggling just means that I too have 95 percent crap.

cd ~/pkg
git ls | wc -l

git ls | head

1) What's the annual rate of decline when something loses 50% over 60 years?
bc -l
scale = 6
e( l(0.5) / 60 ) * 100 - 100

2) How much of my life have I spent yak-shaving?

3) The `dev-bit' is the binary toggle in your head that when activated, marks something as being under development and to be improved.