04 September, 2009

Highly Variant Occurances

This is right outside my apartment, where I walk my dog. I heard a big crash while I was playing Oblivion (great game by the way) and saw this outside. A little bit scary.

03 September, 2009

They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way.

If you are familiar with the Ruby programming language and its community, you have no doubt heard of the recent, inexplicable disappearance of the community's most prolific and beloved member, _why. _why brings an artfulness to programming and the science of information in general that I always thought was the exemplar of the best (certainly my favorite) aspect of the ruby programming language, namely, that its simplicity and elegance allow a coder to focus on *what" they are trying to do, not on *how* it needs to be done.
_why did a lot of work that brought new ways of thinking and enjoying coding to people, he wrote a lot of simply sublime code, and his creativity was evident throughout everything he showed us.

So, _why is super great. _why is loved and liked. The outpouring of thanks and admiration for _why that is everywhere in any comment block on any page talking about his sudden disappearance. Is this just the Striesand effect? Maybe. I tend to think of it, however in terms of the plot at the beginning of Superman Returns.

You have somebody whose ability is far beyond that of almost everyone (or at least chooses to exercise it and be known) -- let's not carry the analogy too far, but let's say he does things for people that they would otherwise have to struggle with, or at a minimum expend a great deal of effort, and they are thankful. So thankful, that a certain mystique centers around this fellow and a series of precedents become established which begin to define the superfellow and increase the community's dependence on him. For Superman, this resulted in becoming a bit disallusioned with his role in society and required "leaving town" for a while, letting people bloody their noses, lick their wounds and save their own babies rolling down the hills in their carriages, etc. _why's last comment to the interweb was this:

programming is rather thankless. u see your works become replaced by superior ones in a year. unable to run at all in a few more.

I think that like Superman, _why was fighting with his own uncanny abilities and their application. His role got too well-defined, he got pigeon-holed, precedented, depended upon. As a result, I imagine that he thought that two things were happening: 1. he was getting stale, and 2. the community was suffering as a result. Maybe I'm completely off-base, I don't want to speak for anyone but myself but I see the Ruby community reeling from _why's disappearance, and all of a sudden, the comments are turning to questions like "who will be the bext great coder...", and "what will be the next great thing..." I didn't see these kinds of thoughts before _why's disappearance, and I would venture that he hadn't either. _why, you must be tired. You gave us Cartoon foxes, Hpricot, the Poignant guide, and myriad engaging thoughts. You must be exhausted. I just hope that like Superman, you will come back in our hour of need.

@_why: I wish for you that you are never bored.