Rather more of the internet's stuff than of my stuff this issue, which makes me feel like the issue is rather light (of course it isn't, it's more diverse! and in fact previewing the issue I see I've done far more editorial this issue than is usual) but various things have led me to spend less time on making the internet over the last couple of weeks.
One of those things I know I'll be able to share in a few weeks, and the other I hope to be able to share a few months from now. Both continue the mission to help programmers become software engineers, and that's all good, but neither lead to immediate production of Content™. That's got to be OK. It's got to be a good thing to step away from immediate gratification and Wordpress stats, and make some longer-term things that will ultimately have a better pay off. I've talked before about preparing for computing's centenary: none of the things I'm talking about here are on that grand a scale but hopefully the anniversary is marked with more investment than a change to the banner on r/SoftwareEngineering created the day before.
It doesn't feel OK though. It feels like I'm missing out on being incredibly online, and on sharing things with you. I think that's the unnatural shift in dopamine delivery associated with the notification buzz of being online. I remember when I started working full-time in 2004, I would manually refresh my mail client (which was then, as it is now, Apple Mail) twice a day and my RSS reader (which was then, as it is now, NetNewsWire) each lunchtime.
These days I've turned off most of the beeps and red circles, but still aware that they're there in the background, and that I'm not the cause of any of them. Every application wants to be able to send me notifications. I've fixed the demand-side FOMO by disabling the notifications on my phone. If one of about six people call or send me a message, I'll get beeped, or when my alarm clock goes off. But that hasn't addressed the supply-side FOMO: there are conversations whizzing around the interwebs and I'm not contributing.
What I missed the most over the last fortnight was not recording a podcast episode (actually it's been over a month, but that means it probably got mentioned here in the previous issue). Some people would not class my podcast as a successful podcast: it does not have many listeners, I don't get a whole lot of feedback per episode, and I don't have a lot of evidence that people who listen to the show cite the podcast when forming their own arguments about software engineering.
But I enjoy making it, because it's the closest thing my current skills at internet use allow to my absolute favourite way to talk about software engineering: conference speaking. When I write a blog I typically stream of consciousness an outline or a rough draft, then paste it into Wordpress, preview it, and edit it into shape. With a podcast I basically make an outline and the show notes—the list of links I want to mention to support the episode—re-arrange the outline until it's logical, then hit record. It feels more conversational because while I'm not thinking through the argument in real time, I do allow myself to present it spontaneously.
I'm very interested in what you think though. Send me an email and tell me what's good, bad, could be better, or should be stopped about what's going on here. All of this waves hands exists to help you become better software engineers, so if I'm not doing that the best way possible, I'd love to improve.