Weblog entries for 23 September 2002


My mind has a mind of its own

At lunchtimes I often wander around Borders and HMV. The former is one of my favourite places to go, because it's very quiet and relaxed and it helps my brain unwind from the morning's exertions.

I'm still debugging, which (for the benefit of those of you who aren't programmers) entails looking for patterns in the application's behaviour and trying to match these up with the code, to find the root of the problem. Once that's done it's a case of figuring out what changes need to be made to get the application to behave as expected.

I'm not really sure how my brain works, but for some reason this is what it excels at. If I may blow my own trumpet for a moment, I'm very good at finding these patterns and making the connection to the underlying cause. The really great thing is that I enjoy this too, although it can be very frustrating.

The only problem is that I find it hard to switch off. So in Borders today I found myself counting the number of shelves taken up by fiction authors wihose surnames start with A — honestly, I'm not making this up — and comparing this with the number of authors whose surnames start with B. I also happened to note that these go from Babel to Byers.

Am I the only human alive who finds it interesting that there are nearly three times as many Bs as there are As? Here my brain tries to find the root cause of this pattern. Are there lots more people in the Bs? Or is the sample — that is, fiction authors — not representative of the general population?

When I get home tonight I'll have a look in the phone book and report back. Of course that sample might not be representative either: perhaps people whose surnames begin with A are more likely to request removal from the directory.

Anyway. Back to work before I go completely mad.

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This entry forms part of Stephen Wettone's weblog, published in September 2002.

The most recent entry is Reducing SlimStat's database size.

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