Thursday, May 5, 2011

Welcome to the Old Hands Blog

My name is Kurt Guntheroth. I have been a software engineer since, well, lets just say that clock rates were lower back then. You could count the pins on your processor. You could hear the individual bits go out on the modem. If you wanted a PC, you soldered it together. I am what you might call an Old Hand.

For years I've been thinking what I'd write if I wrote a book about software development. I know a little something about programming, about the process of developing code, about managing geeky people, about being a member of a development team, and about being an employee of a for-profit corporation. I wrote a couple of articles in print journals, but then the internet killed print (RIP C++ Users Journal, Dr Dobbs, and the rest). I've been a commenter on other people's blogs. Now it's my turn.

An Old Hand helps the new guys "learn the ropes". Anyone know what that expression means any more? It comes from the days of wooden sailing ships, when the running rigging came down in a complex but well-ordered profusion of identical-looking ropes, and your mates depended on you to know which lines were tacks and which were sheets, and so forth. Guys found themselves on a ship at sea sometimes because they drank too much at the wrong bar. The old hands taught them which ropes were which, so nobody got killed.

I have no pretension to have things of universal value to say. I will write things down that seem to me to be useful to know but not frequently heard. The cool thing about the web is that it knows what is useful. If my voice appears in that list, then I'm successful.

I'm not a high-powered over-achiever, microsoft millionaire, or IBM vice president. I'm a working engineer. I like building beautiful things that nobody else can see. Good thing too, 'cause that's what it means to be a software developer most of the time.

I'm new to social media. When my wife, who is also an Old Hand, hears I have a blog, she'll probably faint dead away. I'm not sure I'll mention it to her. I once argued that social media was all self-promotion. Then someone patiently explained to me why that wasn't (necessarily) true. It's something the new guys have to teach us Old Hands.

Thanks for listening.

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