On Tue, Aug 9, 2022 at 1:23 PM Marshall Conover <marzhall.o@gmail.com> wrote:
> I've always believed that pic was so well designed
because it took a day to get the print out (back then), so you had to
have a language where you could see what it was doing.

> I'll confess: I was never very good at bench checking batch programs, but only had at most a handful of assignments in college: generally cycles were cheap on time-sharing systems and I quickly adapted to interactive debugging.

Along these lines, if I'm understanding correctly, my hunch would be
that part of the precision being discussed was born out of necessity.
When you can't debug interactively, you're forced to be precise with
your changes, influencing how you think. On the flip side, when
interactive development is an option, there's an easy route to take -
and so that's what ends up informing those developmer's thought

I think it's possible that if you were to force a new generation to
only be able to iterate once a day, you may end up with a new
generation with that precision. Perhaps material for a fun experiment
for the teachers on the list.

I think it was a confluence of many things. Programs had to be smaller (bigger ones didn't fit).
Interactive terminals were non-existant or extremely limited (80x24). Printing out
listings and 'desk checking' the output was something you had plenty of time to do.
Computing budgets were tiny: You had only so many $$$ for your runs and if you made
too many, you'd run out of $$$ before you were done (more applicable as a student than
as a professional post school though). Consequently your time was plentiful and
computer time was scarce. Plus people from that generation tended to think globally
and didn't compartmentalize as much as is done today (where people are told that
everything below you in the stack can be considered hardware don't worry about
how it works). The systems were also simpler to program, since all the 'go fast'
caveats you have to cope with in todays system didn't exists, which also encourage
global thinking.

Plus, computer programmers tended to be the best and the brightest because
they were the only ones that could (a) afford to undertake their study and (b) the
only ones that didn't wash out of very demanding university programs. Plus companies
tended to only trust their super expensive machines to the best and the brightest,
further enhancing their skills (which we now know are built with repetition) while the
less bright tended to be relegated to other machines with fewer opportunities.

(yes, I know the previous paragraph way over-generalizes a very complex and
subtle dynamic that was at play, hence 'tendency' rather than some other more
definite word).



On Tue, Aug 9, 2022 at 3:01 PM Larry McVoy <lm@mcvoy.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 09, 2022 at 02:54:08PM -0400, Tom Teixeira wrote:
> > On 8/9/22 2:49 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > >On Tue, Aug 09, 2022 at 01:42:32PM -0400, Noel Chiappa wrote:
> > >>     > From: Rob Pike
> > >>
> > >>     > I still marvel at the productivity and precision of his generatio
> > >>
> > >>We noticed the same thing happening in the IETF, as the number of people
> > >>working on networking went up. The explanation is really quite simple, once
> > >>you think about it a bit.
> > >>
> > >>If you have a very small group, it is quite possible to have a very high
> > >>level. (Not if it's selected randomly, of course; there has to be some
> > >>sorting function.) However, as the group gets much larger, it is
> > >>_necessarily_ much more 'average' in the skill/etc level of its members.
> > >I used to complain about this at Sun and was dryly told "We get it,
> > >Larry, you are yeast.  You need flour to make bread."
> > >
> > >And as time went on, I found that the smart people tended to find each
> > >other.  So it was fine.
> > >
> > >It is more fun when it is a highly curated group of smart people.  Made
> > >me work hard to keep up.
> >
> > Put another way, "If you're always the smartest person in the room, you're
> > spending your time in the wrong rooms."
> I was usually the dumbest one in the room, I found the right rooms :-)
> I personally like being "dumb", the other people just make you want to
> work harder to reach their level.  Back when I used to play pool pretty
> seriously, I always tried to play people better than me.  You get lazy
> if you are the best.
> --
> ---
> Larry McVoy           Retired to fishing          http://www.mcvoy.com/lm/boat