Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Artistic Proof 1.1: Maxims

There's nothing like leather.

Paying so much attention to the role of tools in getting work done, I'm especially interested in sayings about tool use. This one's a bit older, but speaks to the tendency to derive one's nostrums from one's (usually limited) experience. It's a lot like a saying by Abraham "hierarchy of needs" Maslow, which is almost annoyingly popular today, especially among programmers:

If all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

It's true we get overly reliant on the tools we know how to use, especially when the learning curve for such specialized tools as software is so steep and their proliferation so tremendous that it's hard to keep learning new tools.

Oh, and this tidbit from Hal Fulton at Rubyhacker is just too good to leave out.
I don't mean to sound like a spammer,
But Ruby has such a neat grammar —
When a task I assail
Starts to look like a nail
Then my code starts to look like a hammer!
One last one:

He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. ~ Confucius

To me, it speaks to both the role of tools in getting things done and our tendency to futz about a good bit before settling in to get work done. ("Hmm... gotta mow the lawn... Wait! I think this mower blade needs sharpening!" Yep, that's me alright.)

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