Tuesday, November 27, 2007

BYU 17 - Utah 10

For some free pass along cards for your U of U friends, click here. (They're double sided!)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Ol' Pigskin

This year I have observed myself becoming a rabid BYU football fan. It's kind of weird, like the designer me is observing myself from the outside becoming this major football-crazed face painter. It's not THAT shocking, since I have been going to BYU football games with my Dad since I was 8. I was at the "Miracle Bowl" in 1980. But there was a definite drought of BYU fandom between about 1997 and 2005.

I find that I haven't gotten this excited about anything for years. I need something to get worked up about. And if it's BYU football, so be it. And if our team is good, all the better. I find myself buying season tickets (with my faculty status, you know.) I find myself yelling at the top of my lungs for three and a half hours every other Saturday. I find myself worrying about the status of the BYU-Utah game, and how it will affect my life for the next year (we live in a Ute-friendly, red-flag-flying neighborhood here in Sandy.)

I got a free "Fully Invested" t-shirt from the Bookstore. It's ugly—it's got this faux grunged-up/ distressed-looking "Y" on it. Perhaps you've seen people wearing them around BYU campus, on non-game days (please.) But I'm wearing it this Saturday to the stadium, and I won't stop yelling until the vocal cords are bleeding and/or silent. I'll probably stop yelling if they bleed, because blood is red.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Programmers rule the world

I just came to a stunning realization: programmers and developers rule the world.

Those who possess the knowledge to create software and databases with scripting languages have a certain power. Those who support the entire infrastructure of an economy, by setting up hardware and software platforms with passwords and 128 bit encryption, which hold all our data, have all the power.

CEOs, managers, and creative directors have always regarded programmers as hired hands. Second-class citizens, perhaps; nerds with few to no social skills. "Oh, we'll just hire a programmer to do that," they say. And it's true, there are millions of programmers in the world, ready to develop your company's webpage, or build a database holding what you deem to be important information. But you must accept that there is a big difference between managing someone while they do the heavy lifting and code writing on a project and doing it yourself.

Have you ever stopped to think of what would happen if all developers, of every computer language, suddenly refused to do the bidding of their uninformed supervisors? The modern world as we know it would grind to a sudden, catastrophic halt.

What if all your company's IT staff, and maybe all the programmers at Citibank and Microsoft and Adobe one day woke up and said, "I don't feel like making you rich anymore, bosses"? Where would we all be? Picking up the nearest O'Reilly book on PHP, that's where. And we wouldn't be ordering on Amazon, if you know what I mean.

It wasn't always this way. There was a time when all the important information in the world wasn't digitized and located on a server somewhere. There was a time when all the financial data for corporations, governments, and individuals wasn't online or on a hard disk.

But that time is over.

There is too much distance (literal and figurative) between those who make all the important decisions and those who enable them (to make millions.) Why are programmers always low-level employees? Do they not realize the power they have? Their boss has no idea how to make their website launch on time. They do. If they decided to hold all the company's information hostage, and turn suddenly evil, they could. They are smart. They know how to do stuff. You don't.

Everyone should know at least a little bit about scripting languages. They are what power our world. Learn how to make computers do cool and exciting things. Learn how to make a web page. Learn how to create a database.

And one day, if you read on nytimes.com that all the developers in the world have formed a union, watch out.