Do you believe in magic?

Daniel Jalkut, Red Sweater Blog: Magical Code (via Stepwise)

"I thought there were at least three types of code in the world: easy, difficult, and magical. I thought of myself at that time as incredibly good at easy code, and perhaps squeaking by with some panache at the difficult stuff. The magical stuff - device drivers, etc. - I simply hoped nobody would ever ask me to do."

For years I've been thinking the same thing. I had to write some very difficult code, nearly magical, in 2000, and it scared the crap out of me when I started the project, but it wasn't that hard in the end.

One of the reasons I've gone back to school is so I can be prepared for writing the truly difficult code and toss the magical stuff around like a rag doll (the magical stuff isn't very difficult, just clever, and I've discovered it requires a strong background in discrete mathematics and algorithms to fully appreciate).

This term I'm taking a senior-level course in combinatorics. An elective senior-level Math course... can you believe it? Before I went back to school I was counting the days until I'd be done the Math so I could be done with it forever and now I'm taking senior-level Math courses as electives! ROTFL! I told a classmate last week that if my 20 year-old self knew that my 30 year-old self would be taking extra Math classes I probably would have jumped off a bridge years ago to escape that fate.

Now I look forward to the Math classes, and especially the discrete/combinatorial class, and I'm finally able to take the senior-level CS classes too, so I'm learning lots.

Going back to school is one of the best decisions I've made in my life. The next good decision I need to make is getting fit for life.

Written on January 9, 2006