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What can a programmer do?

ppaulin (167820) writes | more than 6 years ago

Programming 5

ppaulin writes "Maybe it's because I'm 40. Maybe it's because I'm sitting on my couch drinking scotch watching West Wing reruns. The bottom line is that I'm a programmer and I'm lucky to have some free time on my hands. I'm not a rich dot-com guy looking to create a foundation, just a programmer trying to figure out what to do with the next 20 years of my life. I'd like my kids to be proud of me. So I'm asking (and please hold the snark, it's too easy) — What can a programmer do?"

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Scratch an itch (1) (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22705560)

We all have that "gee I wonder if its possible to do xyz better?" in the back of our mind ...

You need a good idea (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22719628)

But perhaps the problem is that you're already old and too indoctrinated. It's not just a myth that programers do their best work in their early twenties. So perhaps what you can do is get a young hotshot to help you out a bit in the idea department while you help them out a bit in the realisation department.

The biggest problem young hotshots have is the wealth of ideas and not enough willpower to stick to one and perfect it, the biggest problem old geezers have is a wealth of willpower to polish and perfect, but not enough ideas.

Re:You need a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736746)

That is total bullshit and you know it. Talk about using an overly broad brush.

Um, kids eh... (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722216)

How about spend time with them? You know, give the gift of parenting. Some sort of activity. Since you're a programmer and spending your free time on your couch, using the stereotype (that's pretty much true), perhaps it'll enable you to loose some weight as well. Even if you're not over-weight, becoming (more) healthy would be something that your kids /should/ be proud of. And it'll be all kinds of that positive role model thing as well (regardless of there age).

Basically, something to be proud of, or doing something for others to be proud of you for doing it, need not involve fame or anyone outside your family (and/or social circle) knowing for that matter. Want some ideas?

Wall climbing
Cooking classes
Jogging/bike riding/roller blading/etc

I'm sure that your local community centre has classes on a number of topics that you wouldn't have otherwise thought of as well. Go check them out.

Short list: Teach them IF THEN ELSE (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732360)

Mostly serious:
  1. Get your health checked, esp. yer cholesterol and blood sugar. seriously. yer entering the "drop dead next step" age. And if your wealthy enough to sit and watch reruns and scotch vanish, yer probably been working hard and ignoring your temporary immortality. Prolly got more in stock options than health insurance. Do you know your cholesterol? betcha don't. "But I'm too young to have a heart attack..." Yeah, that's what the nurses all said about me.
  2. Teach them some programming. That way, they can know if they want to do it. IF THEN Else... For/Next, Show them Try/Catch. It may help them make decisions if they remember the "ELSE". It will also help them understand what you do. "Dad, what do you do?" "I program computers" "Cool, my friend's dad has to work." I started simple "Count to 10" "1, 2, 3..." "NO!" "Ok, ZERO! 1, 2, 3..."
  3. Take them somewhere... else. Amazing world when you look up from the monitor. Turn off the DVD. Getting there is part of the journey.
  4. Have them read your resume. It's sounds lame, but seriously. They don't know what you did for the last 22 years, and frankly, they might be pleasantly surprised. Only a few years ago, I learned that my dad (a successful management consultant) used to program IBM's when "optimization" meant timing the rotation of the cylinder with the write speed. Then we called it interleave. Then we forgot about it.
  5. Make a list of your compiled wisdom. Then they can drive people crazy with "my dad used to say..."
  6. ...
  7. And finally, explain to them some of the tough choices you've had to make. Most kids don't have a clue what goes on in the background. I had to make choices my dad never had. "Do I live with my kids, or keep my house out of foreclosure? Do I work for peanuts near my kids and die slowly, or move to where the money is, live happy and healthy, buy them an iMac and SKYPE them?"

We 40 somethings entered a difficult world compared to our parents. We were forced to make choices they never faced. Your kids are doing it now, harder, sooner, faster, worse. Learning how to make a choice, or to RECOGNIZE a choice is the best thing you can leave them. Everything else is there choice.
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