The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Programming, up hill, both ways

People would come to us with a problem, and we would figure out a solution. We couldn't just search the web because the web was still being written. And you couldn't just punt a hard question to the engineer in the desk next to you. Why? Because you were sitting alone in a utility closet packed with floppy disks and old tape drives.

I'm a XXXXX­ XX webmaster

Ah, this takes me back. I got my first computer back in 1984, and if I wanted to know anything about it I was on my own. Google didn't exist (the public Internet didn't exist at the time). I didn't have anyone I could ask about computer related things. I did have books and magazines. So between experimentation and learning to read between the lines, I picked up programming.

So when it came time to write a metasearch engine, there were no tutorials. There were no open source metasearch engines to download and use. There was only the problem of writing a metasearch engine, in a language I didn't even know (and which itself was less than a year old at the time).

Fun times.

So I always found it odd when people would go online asking for tutorials, especially for writing metasearch engines (and yes, that did happen back then). So when something like testing a negative comes up, and I can't convince the Powers That Be that it's never a good idea to prove a negative, I can't just look up some tutorial on proving negatives—I just have to figure it out on my own.

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[The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades]

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