The Argument Settler
Posted by Charlie Recksieck
Sock, Shoe, Sock, Shoe vs. Sock, Sock, Shoe, Shoe
The Programmer Mentality
There are plenty of stereotypes about programmers and software developers. Most are outdated and/or baseless in the first place. Perhaps the geek stigma lessened with the rise of "nerd culture"; although kids: remember to do your homework because nerds only became cool these days because they did their homework which led to them making money!
As a longtime professional software developer, I do think we need to own up to a pretty fair label: We over-analyze every decision. Which makes us the perfect people to devote too much thought to silly questions.
More Of The Programmer Mentality
A good programmer doesn't make assumptions, asks great questions to gather requirements and tries to figure out the best way of doing things. A great programmer also knows when to stop hemming and hawing and get to work. I and my colleagues have frequently been guilty of weighing every little possibility.
My best friend in software and I met working for a small software company in San Diego years ago and our friend/colleague Karen stopped going to lunch with us because she could no longer deal with our 20-minute decision trees to select a restaurant before we could leave the office.
Another engineer I worked with came to a poker game of mine. After just about every hand, he would break down what happened, "At first I thought you might have had a pair of kings but then Tyler caught a king, which increased the chance that Evan was bluffing that he hit a straight ... etc. ... etc. ..." It did not endear him to the crowd.
With No Further Ado ...
Let’s move on to some of the more trivial debates of our time:
Tabs vs. Spaces
Sometimes it takes doesn't take a philosopher to unravel life's mysteries but a considerate software engineer considering all of the options.
What's an example of a "great debate" for a programmer? How about Tabs vs. Spaces? The subject was fantastically captured in an episode of Silicon Valley where Richard makes his zealous impassioned case for using tabs to indent instead of spaces: Watch the highlights here.
By the way, I'm with Richard: tabs are just better. Don't at me.
Sock, Shoe, Sock, Shoe vs. Sock, Sock, Shoe, Shoe
An all-timer of a low-stakes controversy is what's the best order to put on socks & shoes? Is it "Sock, Shoe, Sock, Shoe" or "Sock, Sock, Shoe, Shoe"?
Watch both Mike Stivic and Archie Bunker make the case for each side in a gem of a scene from All In The Family. In life it's generally not a good idea to find yourself on Archie Bunker's but in this case he's totally right.
If you get halfway through your task, with the both socks first approach then at least you’re walking around with both socks on. One foot sock shoe first and you get interrupted, you’ve got one shoe on and the other barefoot. Unless you’re an NFL placekicker from the 80s, it’s a bad look.
Don't just believe Archie and me. Take it from Twitter user @Dilly_Wow: "Doing sock shoe sock shoe is a clear sign of a serial killer." Amen. Now that I've tried to establish my argument settler bona fides, I can put some other persistent debates to bed ...
Which Came First: The Chicken Or The Egg?
Short answer: The egg. As long as you believe in evolution as how we came to get the chicken, then at some point there was a mutated red jungle fowl that technically was the first chicken. But when did this mutation first manifest? As an egg - which hatched to become the first chicken.
You're welcome. Next case!
Toilet Seat: Up Or Down?
Women can make the case that the seat should always be down since mistakenly sitting on a toilet where the seat is up is clearly the worst-case scenario. Conversely, men could argue that if it's such a bad outcome then everybody should "look before they leap." Also, you can make a strong assertion that if we are just talking about economy of movement then nobody should change the seat from the position they just used it, since who knows what the next use will be.
If both sides can't agree, then why don't we put the same burden on both husband and wife that they BOTH should ALWAYS not only put the lid down but the entire toilet seat. It would be equitable. Plus, it's more sanitary. And the kicker is that if you have a dog, then this policy keeps the pooch from drinking out of the toilet. Argument Settled!
Until I wrote this silly post out, I didn't really anticipate that I would end up appointing myself the Argument Settler but it feels good.
In all of these great debates I mentioned, they have persisted because there are very credible positions to be taken on either side. But when you really need to close the book on the issue, call in a programmer ... we will game it out to death.
Or the other takeaway is one last non-debate: People who put on toilet paper rolls where they spool out from UNDERNEATH the toilet paper are terrible people. Bam! Settled!