Keith Sanborn on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 15:08:01 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> "Modern Computer Systems Are Complex - Film at 11"

Both are good articles. IMHO, yours is the better one as it speaks from grim
experience rather than making a pastiche of famous names and sexy quotes. I
had read your piece when you first posted it. It squares clearly with what I
know from small experience using assembly language years ago and from many 
cautionary tales I have heard over the years: the uncommented code is not 
worth writing.

Funny that programming falls victim to the same pitfalls afflicting natural 
language: even with "fixed" rules, language evolves over time, leaving past 
utterances of doubtful meaning.

And since programming consists of what English Analytic philosophers used to
call "speech acts," cryptic utterances of personal idiolects can become the
equivalent of yelling "FIRE!" In a crowded theater. We are all collateral 
damage in this world.


On Aug 24, 2013, at 12:25 AM, David Mandl <> wrote:

> Lots of interesting things going on here:
> Anyone who has worked on an electronic trading system and didn't
> see this coming shouldn't be allowed to work on electronic trading
> systems. As a technologist I actually found working on these kinds
> of systems uninteresting and often frightening. Its clear that they
> are simply too complex for comfort--I'd say that many of the biggest
> systems are literally beyond the ken of *anyone*, even the smartest
> programmers. There are too many thousands of moving parts, too much
> spit and scotch tape, too many barely compatible components written
> by a dozen people of varying skill levels who left the company three
> years ago.

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