Amateur Hour Over At TechCrunch?‘s recent trashing of Blaine Cook is one of the most egregious pieces of crap I’ve ever read. Here’s a guy who wouldn’t know code from Sanskrit passing technical judgement on one of the most stellar technical people I know based on the following “arguments”:    (MXY)

  • Twitter had scaling problems. Blaine was the Chief Architect there. Hence, Blaine doesn’t know how to deal with scaling.    (MXZ)
  • Twitter hired some new people to work on scaling. Hence, Blaine didn’t know what he was doing.    (MY0)
  • Blaine made a tongue-in-cheek comment on scaling being easy at a technical workshop a year ago. Hence, Blaine is arrogant.    (MY1)

Twitter had scaling problems because it was successful beyond anyone’s imagination. Twitter hired additional people because, well, that’s what you do when you’re dealing with success. If you’re going to criticize someone’s technical skill, do it based on facts, not on irresponsible musings. And there’s never any excuse to trash a person’s character like that.    (MY2)

I would be thanking my lucky stars to have Blaine as my Chief Architect, my Chief Technical Officer, or just on my team period. He’s a great talent and an even better human being, and companies will be lining up to get him now that he’s moving on.    (MY3)

The Thrill of Pair Programming

I have a lot of different passions, which is lucky in a lot of ways, and unlucky in others. It’s lucky because it makes life incredibly fun. It’s unlucky, because life is finite, and I don’t have time to delve as deeply into things as I would like. It’s why I knew I would never become a professional programmer.    (JZB)

This past year, I spent most of my time doing field work and thinking about social processes. When I switched into technical mode, it was as an architect or a pundit, not as a programmer. And that’s the way it should be. It’s the right mode for me professionally and personally. Besides, the less time in front of a computer, the better.    (JZC)

However, that’s changed these past few months, as I’ve had to wear my coding hat for a variety of reasons. And I have to admit, it still gets me going. My skills have degraded a lot over the years, more from disuse than age, but I can still get it done. It makes me feel like one of those clean-cut, Midwestern types who comes home from his nine-to-five job, then plays poker all night at some seedy underground club. It’s liberating.    (JZD)

In particular, I had fun Pair Programming with Peter Kaminski a few weeks ago and with Brian Ingerson last night. Both of those efforts were toy one-offs, but they were great fun nevertheless, and it got me thinking. Coding with others, and pairing in particular, is one of the most intense, enjoyable collaborative experiences one can have. Read Evan Henshaw-Plath‘s account of his recent Ruby On Rails sprint with Blaine Cook and Kellan Elliott-McCrea, and you’ll see what I mean. It’s the sort of thing I never get to do anymore.    (JZE)

I know a lot of great coders, and I love talking shop. And, I still want to spend as little time as possible in front of a computer. But, I’m going to make a concerted effort to pair with folks at least once every few months. If you’re in the Bay Area and are in the mood to code up something that is small, cool, and will improve collaboration some way, somehow, let me know.    (JZF)