Definitely the Flu


Last night I realized I DEFINITELY HAVE THE FLU, not “just” an autoimmune attack because the “crushing depression out of nowhere” fell on me.

It isn’t that we don’t have reason to be anxious and depressed right now (long story) but THAT I knew and was dealing with.  It’s more like in the middle of making dinner all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I felt like the world was ending tomorrow. (Yes, I know that can be a symptom of a heart attack. And if I had no other symptoms, I’d go get checked. But I have other symptoms.)

The problem is that, being autoimmune, feeling suddenly exhausted, unable to move above a crawl, feeling like your whole body hurts, having a crushing headache and wanting to sleep the clock around aren’t really symptoms to rush to the doctor.  Instead you take an antihistamine, rest a bit, and check again.  In my case, being all clogged up isn’t even a reason of being actually ill beyond the auto-immune, since part of my auto-immune is asthma.

Unfortunately since I started having symptoms Thursday, there’s no point going in and getting formally tested.  They can’t give me anti-virals which won’t do anything.

Also unfortunately this is presenting exactly like the flu that put me in the hospital with pneumonia, as I’m not coughing at all.  When this happened before, of course, I decided I didn’t have the flu and let it go so long I ended up in ICU for 11 days.

I know better. I’m going to push liquids and see if I can loosen stuff enough I will cough. No guarantees, but I’m going to try.

Also I’m going to find or buy another of the GOOD blood ox meter so that if my oxygen goes down, I will go to doctor.  Right now I have the unreliable oxymeter (note, found the good one. Oxygen is fine.)

I have slept twelve hours. I have almost passed out in the kitchen while making myself tea. No, I don’t know why since blood ox is actually high.

I’m going to push liquids, particularly warm liquids, so I’m on tea and broth for a while.

The problem is this: even though I’ve taken the aderall, my mind is working on 2 minute cycles. If you’re waiting for anything from me that requires any braining (you know, not “Do you like ice cream and chocolate”) be it critiques, image manipulation or writing, please, please, please abide in patience until I’m over this carp.

I can’t tell you how annoying it is for someone of my disposition to not even be able to do the administrivia that comes with writing.  I have a ton of it waiting, from setting up the newsletter at last, to finishing setting up the writing website and blog, to putting the newsletter at the bottom of every published book, to designing new covers for books where they’re dated/inappropriate, to putting out paper editions.

I don’t know which I can do of those, but right now reading the instructions for how to set up the newsletter (in a different site, since the one I first did didn’t work) doesn’t even work, because it’s a paragraph at a time, and then I forget what I just read.

This drives me insane, because if I can’t write, at least I want to do the other stuff.  I might try to set up the writer’s blog, since honestly most of it is just copy pasting text and doing auxiliary pages.

Yes, I know “Woman, you feel like crap, but your main issue is that you can’t work?”  If you saw my schedule, and saw that I wasted most of January on various stupid illnesses and other issues, you’d understand.

Meanwhile I’m going to ask you to please pray (yes, even if you’re a non-believer. Just talk into that telephone. There might or might not be someone on the other side, but it can’t hurt) for my family, because January was a shower of carp, and February has amped it up and if the trend continues we’re just going to be crushed.

Meanwhile, forgive me for whining about my health like an old woman. I know I’m not old enough for that.

If I miss any posts, unless Dan puts up the pre-written, years ago “If you’re reading this” assume I’m not dead, just imitating the vegetable kingdom by drinking a lot and doing not much.

Sorry abouut the non-post-post.


129 thoughts on “Definitely the Flu

      1. Meh. Tyro. That is some very weak whining.

        I am a master at whining whenever the carp hits. In fact, I am masterful even when there is not a bit of carp to be found. (If I’m famous after I’m dead, the family could make a bundle off of my almost daily logs…)

        Take care of yourself first, Sarah. Take care of your paying work after that. Then, and ONLY then, you can pay us some attention. I’d bring you over some of the beef vegetable soup I have simmering on the stove, but I fear it would be stone cold, and you’d be over this whatever and very cross at the interruption, by the time I crossed two state lines.

      2. >> “for some reason I can whine at length.”

        And as I noted recently, you write 2,000-word political tracts in your sleep. There’s GOT to be a way you can harness these powers productively.

  1. New task: Try for the world peeing record due to forcing liquids. Ready…GO!

    Feel better Dona Sara.

  2. Tea and sympathy. Rest. The more you sleep, the faster you’ll heal, and the sooner you can get back to writing. Plus, if you accomplish nothing else, maybe you could have some interesting fever dreams that can turn into book ideas.

    I will add my prayers to those for your family. I’m not particularly good at praying, but I will try anyway.

  3. Sorry you are sick. Sorry things aren’t going well for your family. Prayer’s all around. Here is to you feeling & getting better. Here is to whatever is going on with the family is solved & goes away.

      1. I mostly get trailers or cut scenes set to music: i.e. space torpedo bomber strike to Black Blade (Two Steps from Hell), Sunder (Really Slow Motion) set to a jungle temple turning into Metroplex, an ad for the Aegis Vanguard set to How We Roll by Britt Nichole, montage of a green P-47 pilot’s combat flights set to Legends Never Die (Against the Current). That last one I have ideas for jump cuts on the big percussion hits.

        That sort of thing.

        Fortunately I have no knowledge of graphics or movie making so I can just replay them in my head until I’ve burned it out and move on to other things.

        Harry Voyager

        1. I would write, but I get _scenes_ if I’m lucky. More often I get *gags* (not that kind, pervs…) but I do NOT get story. Mind, I have had times when I’ve gone on (both spoken [Moo!] and written) withOUT a zinger in mind…. and one just naturally +appears+ at the end, not consciously summoned.

          Is that ‘Seat-of-the-Pants’ (SoP) or ‘Stream of Consciousness’ (SoC) writing, or something therbouts? I have, at times, written at speed (my ‘Only Human’ guest post, f’r’ex was written almost as fast as the keys could spring back up), but I’ve had the fugue(?) state where WRITING HAPPENS… and then I ‘wake up’ and read it in wonder.

          Most often, I write/type something.. gaze at it in despair.. and let it percolate… and then delete the atrocity before it can metastasize.

  4. Feel better soon. CINCHOUSE’s school today joined the grow list of local districts that have canceled days due to staff illness. I have doubts that there’s anyone on the other end, but will send some good thought requests that way.

    Just finished Deep Pink last night. Enjoyed it! looking forward to future excursions into that world.

    I also left one my rare Amazon reviews (due to their 20 word minimum. As a rule if “Good product, would buy again” isn’t sufficient I can’t be bothered. They aren’t paying me to pimp their products). I did not have any problem in coming up with enough to write yours.

    1. I have the same problem with Amazon ratings. Stars I can handle. Title of comment I can handle. But the minimum length requirement for the comment itself drives me nuts. This is NOT supposed to be a damn elementary school book report. You don’t want to give spoilers to the other readers. And if it’s a critical review, why wouldn’t I just e-mail that to the author rather than blurting it out to the world?
      Otherwise, you get really bizarre commentary from me.

      Comment title: I liked it.
      Comment: I really liked it. Reminds me of x, Y, and Z. Hoyt always comes through with a good tale, even when they’re weird. So grab a glass of wine, go sit in your comfy chair, and pull up the story to read yourself. BTW, why’d you kill Will Shakespeare in the 3rd book; and how come he wasn’t able to shapeshift away?

        1. Don’t know about Sarah, but I’ve been eyeballing those LED gro-lamps pretty hard.

          If it fools plants, maybe it will fool people….

        1. We’ve already started getting the cold air. The area south of me is supposed to get a big snow dump. We’ll just get rose-killing cold.

          No, I’m not happy with the weather, why do you ask?

        2. I think we’ll be sending more cold weather along. This morning we hit 8F, with a high of 32, and tomorrow’s supposed to be a bit colder.

          Humans are doing OK, but one dog got a pancreatitis attack. (She’ll eat anything she can chew; usually the kennel keeps the worst out, but not always.) Saw the emergency vet yesterday, and have *some* relief, but she still has the runs. I’m afraid to use the Immodium this time (works for the usual problems, but this is a lot worse).

          Currently, we’re going to take her to see our regular vet Thursday. She’s doing better at least.

  5. May your health return swiftly and this period of illness pass. May Himself bless and keep you and yours, both two legs and four. Life can be strange when you live it two minutes at a time (and then it goes away), but it’s hard to keep a good mad on when that’s happening, so at least you have that going for you. *grin*

    I once got terribly ill in the midst of quitting one job (where my immediate supervisor attempted to maim me with power tools) and so didn’t leave with the stompy-footed ire I first intended to. Sometimes I think when He wants to remind me to keep my temper, he’s not subtle. Probably because I’d miss anything less.

    You take care of you, and worry naught about this place. The Huns will abide. I’m sure we will find somethings or other we were supposed to be doing… Non destructive. Or at least, we’ll put it all back so’s you can’t really tell the difference most times.

    1. No, it has occurred to me this might be a blessing from above.
      I read Don Camillo growing up and remember how, in the middle of a crisis, G-d would send him a fever that stopped him worrying or killing someone.
      As I was well on my way to engaging full on mama bear mode and go destroy things, because that’s all I can do, maybe this is a blessing.
      BUT dear Lord, I’m so late on the writing! Couldn’t I at least have enough mind for fiction?

        1. ROFL. No. I can dictate fine. It’s just I’ve yet to find a program that deals with the accent.
          The problem isn’t the accent as such, because some adapt for that. It’s the fact that I can’t — apparently — pronounce the same word the same way twice.
          Weirdly Dragon transcribes my cats’ yelling as words, but most of what I say comes out as nonsense.

          1. Hmm. Have you considered publishing the output from Dragon? “Musings by Greebo” can’t be worse than the works of some other editors that think they can write – and could be better.

                1. I think it’s just dragon interpreting the sounds. Who knows?
                  Pixie who had the most complex meows ever got transcribed as “What you doing? uh uh uh?” and that matched his personality.

                  1. Do not need dragon to know that our cat’s meows mean “oh staff, attend to me, NOW!” 🙂

                2. Actually most cats seem to think we humans are Mommy. This is on of the few strong bonds in the cat world. We’re about the right proportion kitten to mom. You can see this in the interactions we get
                  1) petting feels like being cleaned groomed by mom to them
                  2) Purring and kneading are mostly reserved to get mom to feed them
                  3) Ever wonder why the view you often get of a cat is that little * at the rear? They’re presenting their butt to get it cleaned by mom.
                  In the reverse sense cats are about the size of a human baby, often make noises VERY similar to baby distress sounds in volume and pitch and have physical features (head size, large eyes) that set off our cute baby response. One might think the Author did this as a joke on both species…

              1. Adorable, but I hope he’s letting you some rest. Does he understand when mommy’s too sick to work?

                1. He seems to. He comes down, checks on me, then goes up and curls up on my bed. I must smell wrong. Though he tried to become part of me in the night when I was sweating buckets.

          2. Same problem with a thick southern accent. Which gets worse the less I pay attention to it, even though I was taught better. I was raised by an English teacher who has… ideas about how the language should be spoken, and was not about to have a son who sounded like some country bumpkin.

            Unfortunately, mule-headed stubbornness runs in the family too. Picked a rather dumb form of defiance, I did.

      1. “What happened to that.. city?”
        “S.A. Hoyt usually came down with a cold or flu or something nasty before she could get Truly Riled.”
        “So… wait.. usually?”
        “THIS time, she didn’t. The estimated yield was just shy of 8 kilotons. And NO fissile isotopes were detected.”
        “Er.. where is S.A. Hoyt now?”
        “Wherever she wishes to be, of course. That was merely ‘riled’. We do NOT wish to see ‘incandescent rage’ – we suspect it would blind satellites. Ones looking AWAY from earth.”

        “How’s the space program doing, again?”
        “VERY well. It’s amazing how much effort is being poured into that nowadays.”

  6. Take care. The Diner will still be here when you recover… Or will it? 😈

      1. The aardvark will rebuild, not being afraid of a little hard work. But there’s the question of what he will rearrange to simplify his life.

    1. The Risk and Safety office is all out sick, and the last one asked me to take over as the techs took him to the ambulance. I said “Sure, how hard could it be?” Then the techs got very busy.

      I’ve got their keys, and some of the passwords. I think I’ve tripled their productivity.

      Pretty good for someone who was put on leave for the investigation after that containment breach at the bio lab that everyone kicked up such a huge fuss over.

      RaS is one of groups that will be tasked with that.

      Maybe someone will be able to explain to me what the big deal was.

    2. We always clean up after ourselves. None of us like leaving behind any evidence that might be used against us in a court of law.

      1. * Ponders an ‘undead’ person(age) with a strange note, “In case of my truly returning to life…” *

        And some poor bastard winds up having to read it/having it read to him/her…

  7. Praying.

    Not sure if it’ll help you, but I get comfort from having Catholic radio as background, or even just Father Mitch’s Wednesday Open Line podcast (so you don’t have to brain much)– 90% of it I don’t hear. But his voice is nice. And nothing I hear will be toxic.

  8. Much sympathy, for all the good that does. I hate hate hate being too sick to write! And you’ve had more than your share of that. In a just world you’d enjoy perfect health for the rest of your life.

    1. Maybe I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t been sick most of my life. now being who I am is a mixed blessing, but I’m having trouble finding someone else to be me. No one applies.
      I’ve just decided since I can’t sleep I’m going to write anyway. It might all be crap, but WTH. I haven’t any assurance my “normal stuff” isn’t crap anyway. I mean, look…. my bestselling books are all either written in two days or in three days with concussion, and I don’t consider them my best stuff.
      I’ll go pound keyboard. Who knows?

  9. Given that you cannot be sure how long this infection will last, shouldn’t this topic be headlined: “Indefinitely, the Flu”?

  10. Hang in there – hope this all passes on soon. Ordinarily, I’d say something like it’s a sign from your body saying it needs a rest, but it looks like it’s more of a sneak attack when you were already weakened from previous battle, which happens to me a lot.

    No problems here with you “whining” about it, since your whining is quite entertaining (and, since it’s justified, and you’re taking the right steps, I don’t have the urge to reach through my computer and shake you, like I do with other people. ^_^)

  11. Sympathies. Illness is never fun.

    If you need something to put up, I sent you a guest post last week and was starting to wonder if I should check whether it arrived. If it’s not stuck in a spam-trap somewhere, I can re-send it to you.

    It’s possible that a spamtrap is sending it to the bit bucket — sometimes Yahoo and Hotmail addresses get that treatment — and you may need to specifically whitelist my address.

      1. OK, I’ll try to resend it (would’ve done it sooner, but between regular household errands and trying to get all the stuff in this room packed and out of here so the roof can be completely re-framed, I didn’t see it until now).

  12. Dear Mrs. Hoyt, I know that feeling of Brother Ass, your body and (physical) brain, betraying you. My confirmation hymn was “Here am I; I send me, send me”. You need that bale toted-? That barge lifted-? Any volunteer job, and I”m there-!

    I’m re- learning how to walk, just now. It is driving me absolutely spare! I have no picture I can draw for the frustrating chasm between duty and reality.

    I’ll be praying for healing, wisdom and the good sense to accept the Good Lord’s forgiveness for dropping the balls you normally juggle. If you’d do the same for me, I’d be grateful.

  13. Please take care of yourself dear Hostess. One recommendation from myself and my daughter who both get pnuemonia/bronchitis at the drop of hat is guaifenesin. This is the main stuff in Robotussin/ Mucinex etc. Start treating with those at the first sign of a cold or congestion to head off worse issues. Be careful NOT to get ones with the decongestants as many of those are kissing cousins to adderall and will at a minimum screw up your sleep cycle or make you super jumpy and at worst can cause serious heart issues. It really sucks to be constantly ill and tired and it can be extraordinarily frustrating especially if you have several problems whose solutions cause problems with your other health issues. Spouses, Children and cats are good medicine for those issues of frustration.

    1. The Mucinex people got the extended release variety (known as Humabid LA when it was prescription). The few times I’ve looked at it, they always seem to add something else, none of which are helpful to me.

      Generic guaifenesin products (never found any with extended release) are on the market, with the only downside that you have to take it every 4-6 hours for full relief. I’ve been using it off and on (usually “on”, and twice a day) for a 20-25 years.

      We usually get ours at Costco, but you can find it at a lot of pharmacies.

      1. Generic guaifenesin does come in an extended release. I’m certain of 1200 mg, and think I recall 600 mg.

        The 1200 mg can, or could, be found as Equate’s maximum strength Mucus ER.

        1. Thanks! That’s good to know, though I’ve gotten used to twice-daily immediate release tabs. I’d rather not take any of the versions with other meds, since I usually need the mucus-clearing action each day.

          1. It may be that the pills come with some other active ‘inactive’ ingredient, but the ones I am most familiar with just have the one active ingredient listed.

      2. There are generic just guaifenesin syrups. But lordy they taste awful. and sticking some fake grape flavor on it does NOT improve the situation. Haven’t seen generic tablets in these parts. Mucinex does produce a guifenesin with just dextromethorphan, Not too many side effects with that as long as you stay in the recommended dosage. I think the time release is either patented or more likely trade secret so matching it would take research AND certifying your product. No generic producer wants to invest that much time and money.

  14. Running late. Please take care Milady! May it pass soon as can be.
    I am hoping to not acquire anything myself, trapped in 3 days of HazMat training, with two ladies sharing a box of tissues and a few guys sounding a bit rough.

    1. okay– that made me laugh. I think it is a comedy of errors and it shows really bad judgment on the Dems part. Also we may see a return of this in Nevada. The app is going to be used there. I wish I could eat popcorn.

      1. Ms Bagley I think you were being unintentionally redundant, you said:
        “really bad judgment on the Dems part. ”
        What other kind of judgement would one expect from Dems?

      2. Running an election honestly isn’t difficult; fixing one credibly poses real challenges.

        NOT that anybody would ever believe the Dems tried fixing an election.

        1. RES Said
          NOT that anybody would ever believe the Dems tried fixing an election.
          And no one would claim that Clinton operatives were part of the issue lest they be on suicide watch.

      3. Cyn, I’ve been following this one, and forget Russians: it’s a typical modern software project.

        They had three years to build it; they started less than 6 months ago (I’ve heard figures ranging from 6 months all the way down to 2 months),

        They never stress tested it (which is absurd; they had a finite population of users and there’s no way they couldn’t have simulated it or just had the users do a dry run.

        They had no training of the users at all (see my comment above on how easy a dry run would have been).

        And finally, the testing team raised concerns about the reporting module…. and project management wouldn’t / couldn’t fix it in time.

        I wish I didn’t believe those reports…. but they match perfectly with 30 years in IT.

        1. I told the students, ‘They basically downloaded the boot-legged beta version of an OS and are surprised when it doesn’t function perfectly.”
          Groans, face-palms, and “Yeah, no wonder it broke” came from the audience, er, students.

        2. One could almost with a serious face claim to believe in a Russian conspiracy to make our computer science programs be that bad. But that is kind of exactly like the theory that the Russian ads swung the 2016 election for Trump.

          I’ve never seen evidence that any program could teach software design in any reliable way, and certainly no evidence that HR has a way to reliably hire good managers of software projects.

          Yeah, bad judgement on the Democrats part, but not anywhere near the sort of bad judgement that requires an outside conspiracy to explain.

          1. Problem is most stuff you do in software design school do not get used by anyone other than yourself or your team, & maybe the TA’s who grade it. Even they are not stress testing but seeing what correct results do. Nor does anyone have to deal with long term maintenance. Given I was working, for pay, as a programmer while I got my 4 year degree, in class was at times frustrating; I was an infant programmer, most my good stories happened years later. OTOH when I did speak up in class, in the form of a question, the professors always got a chuckle out of the result. I never did work under a software project manager, that I wouldn’t know personally. I’ve been asked to put out a schedule of the different parts of the software I was tasked with. Mostly I got chuckles from my engineering manager under the section labeled TBD or IDK or, more likely, DIIK (darn if I know). I got told “you don’t have to be that honest”.

            1. There are several possible techniques in between Computer Science and a true engineering discipline based in programming. (Electrical engineers program, lots of engineering graduate students program, but it doesn’t mean that they are competent in making engineering decisions in program design. Of course, an academic degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PE in same does not always indicate a competent mechanical designer. Even in an otherwise good PE; design is one aspect of engineering, and there are a bunch of others. (My strong suspicions of unmet needs in ‘programming as engineering’ do not mean I have any knowledge of the reality.))

              Testing automation is definitely one. Formal methods sound a little interesting.

              Four challenges that may interlock. What techniques? How to you teach them in some sort of reliable way? How do you manage the enterprise? Assuming it is the way to go, how do you separate the work that is engineering from the work that is akin to what trades do for other engineering disciplines?

              All of these are big problems, and the last has a huge if. The status quo for training and licensure of engineering and the trades is a historical artifact, and probably not the only acceptable way of getting the work done. What if the hypothetical programming engineering needs a process combined with that for programming trades?

        3. it’s a typical modern any software project.

          They had Engineering/Programmers told them TPTB/marketing it would take three years to build it; TPTB/marketing said it had to be done in 6 (or 2) months they programmers started less than 6 months ago (I’ve heard figures ranging from 6 months all the way down to 2 months). Marketing demanded it be delivered on their (not engineering, etc.) timeline.

          They never stress tested it (which is absurd; they had a finite population of users and there’s no way they couldn’t have simulated it or just had the users do a dry run. ** Of coarse not, see actual timeline, needed. **

          They had no training of the users at all (see my comment above on how easy a dry run would have been). ** Not true. I bet there is a document, PDF written. Or maybe not given the development team probably didn’t get that far. But if they did, it still has the “cellophane shrink wrapper” on it; or PDF equivalent. **

          And finally, the testing team raised concerns about the reporting module…. and project management wouldn’t / couldn’t fix it in time. what testing team?

          I wish I didn’t believe those reports…. but they match perfectly with 30 years in IT.

          Fixed it for you. For me: 35 years, I agree. All the Russians did was buy popcorn, it was all they had to do.

          1. The thing is, this app needed to do TWO things. One was write data somewhere. The other was have a login and security system. While the latter had to be top-notch, both were among the first functions put into libraries.

            The big issues I see in this project are: Testing. Stress testing for the load. Lag time to get into a proper location for downloading. Forcing the people who would use it to download it in advance — for that I would probably have two dry runs, and the first one comes with the explicit threat that if you don’t do it right, you just lost your position to someone who DOES download it.

        4. Second hand IT, watching Dan’s work? Yep.
          Also, Dan on his own in a month could probably do better. (Sorry, we just this weekend, as he solved something seemingly unsolvable had demonstration my man is a programing god. Now if we can figure out how to capitalize on it.)

          1. While I’d never claim to be a programming god or any other kind, I’ve been making a living at it for over 30 years.

            But the same sorts of issues were around when I was born in OS360. Our industry won’t be an engineering discipline until we start learning from our mistakes rather than inventing new tools that repackage what was there before.

            1. Related question: If I am a young man, unskilled in the art, where do I go to learn to be a programming tradesman, or learn to become a engineer in programing, and how do I know the limits of the skill I learn?

              I think I know where I could find single people who can teach me skills, and maybe even people who can teach the skill of programming as engineering, and the limits. And ‘go find a great expert, and apprentice’, is reasonable for advanced skills that few need. That is basically also true in engineering. Apprentice to a PE getting a PE, apprentice to a professor getting a graduate degree, or asking for tips from an expert in a narrow area you have an interest in.

              The usual Computer Science degree seems good enough for training scientists, but does not seem to develop the engineers to even the same degree that the more conventional disciplines manage. (Usual caveat, you can find a lot of people with engineering degrees with serious flaws in their thinking.)

              I’m not sure the arts of programming have matured to the point that you can formalize a trade school, and not have it be too narrow a foundation for a career. And programming design by directing programming tradesmen sounds like a recipe for disasters.

              1. Programming is relatively simple, regardless of tool. So is design.

                Design steps are:

                1) What result do you want?
                2) What do you have to start with?
                3) How do you get from point 2 to point 1? <— Here be miracles (sorry inside joke).

                Programming has Decisions & Statements. That is it. Now is it a lot more complicated in execution? Heck yes. If for no other reason but to keep people from entering incorrect data types, let alone valid ranges. One example I've given before is a problem end users had where they got bad result, & the program didn't trap for it. -quantity * -cost -end result despite what the user wanted. Don’t know why a warning wasn’t put in or at least trapped for during final processing steps.

                Don’t know if Community Colleges have explicit Programming Programs anymore. That is where I started. Essentially the same concepts but programmed in Cobol, Fortran, RPG, dBASE, rBASE, Basic, Pascal. Now days you’d add, C, Visual Basic, C++, C#, Visual Basic #, & concept of objects. Once you’ve worked in, not just taken a class in, 3 or more languages, another one is nothing. Even data storage is a matter of “how does this tool let me get to it?” regardless of where it is stored.

                The problem comes in because most do not road map step 3. Step 3 can have holes in it, but there had better be a broad over all plan. A HUGE problem with programming & design, is there are a lot of tools that simulate proof of concept, but long term is not robust enough for even a minimal rollout. Most software designers get caught in a catch 22. They know if they do minimal programming for proof of concept, someone is going to grab on to it as being done or almost done, and ultimate failure. But they can’t get approval without proof of concept. Then there is can it be executed fast enough to be relevant?

                In 35 years, I’ve NEVER seen a road map for a design, other than stuff I’ve done. Even then it was broad brush highlight points, with micro design sketched out as I got to different sections. I’ve never seen a formal design, let alone a flow chart outside of education.

                Another problem with programming is the old but good example of a software project being behind, so throw more programmers at it. Nope. Won’t work. Equivalent of trying to speed up a pregnancy from 9 months to 1 by adding 8 more mothers.

                1. Programming small (say under 10k lines of code) is simple. Programming large (1Million lines + of code) is HARD. Partly due to the complexities of getting 10-100 developers to cooperate (herding cats is simple as opposed to being a software manger, trust me I’ve done both), partly due to making all the pieces of a large system play together nicely and testing something like that. Particularly if you have asynchronous real time inputs that are not tightly constrained. Large software projects I suspect have levels of complexity approaching large mechanistic objects (Buildings aircraft, space craft etc) . Of course now software goes in ALL those things…

                  1. Agree.

                    The only way to handle large programming projects is to break it down into small programming projects.

                    Yes. Managing software developers is worse than herding cats. I’ve done both. I’d rather wrangle & herd the cats.

                    1. Even with projects properly dissected (use your favorite method of decomposition they all have different weaknesses) no one person can crank out a large project. As soon as you have 3 people you have politics, and some people enjoy Politics (and watching the world burn) more than they enjoy winning.

                    2. “no one person can crank out a large project. As soon as you have 3 people you have politics”

                      Yes. 100%.

                      I’ve never been on a project from inception that had move than 3 people on it. The last software I worked on was huge. But it grew over time. Started small in ’88, by 2004, when I started it was huge. More of a system. Continues growing, so new parts to existing programs, new programs to subsystems, new subsystems. There were 6 programmers/developers, one major decision maker (boss), based on annual client requests, legal requirements (Obama Care employer tracking/reporting requirements, etc.). Now there are 5 programmers. Hired 4 when I was leaving, one of these quit, one of these moved to sales/onsite-training, another existing programmer “retired”, another existing moved to boss position when boss retired. Another existing programmer is due to “retire”, if hasn’t already. Company was way understaffed at 6 programmers.

                      Obviously can not state to internal politics now. Other than gossip, which has stopped, it has been 4 years. While I was there however, pretty much attitude was “don’t bother me”. If you broke it, you fixed it, even if you didn’t get the complaint; in general. Only had push back a few times (same person oddly) who “was too busy to fix it immediately, it’d have to wait” that I had to push a “no, sorry, needs to be done now & you are the only one that can fix it fast enough, here’s why”. In general there were very few areas only one person could work on. This was his (I can say his, because I was the only one who “hers” applied to).

                      In some ways it was frustrating for me (not because I was the only female programmer), but because for 12 YEARS I was the “newest programmer”. Never mind that I had the MOST programming experience over all!!! Something FYI, I did not point out, until (months) AFTER I’d retired. Before my first 6 month probation was done, it wasn’t the programming or the new (to me) tools that stumped me, but stuff related to software concepts. Some of that was because “Oregon”. What is *Use Tax*? Okay – Client called said “X is wrong, but calculations are right, code looks right, is client right & code is working wrong, or is client doing something wrong?” Wrong = data setup incorrect or they are incorrect on concepts. (i.e.) I’m a designer & programmer, I am not an accountant or bookkeeper; neither were some of the clients, which was a problem.

                      Well I know now. One I had fun with with new users was “What is sales tax?” because they often just didn’t make the connection that firm was based in Oregon.

                    3. Which was Brooks’ point in Mythical Man Month. Add enough people to a project, and the additional communications effort eats up any gain in productivity.

              2. If you want to do programming for a living I think its a dual path. First you should have the formal training. No it is not required by some employers, but it will help get your foot in the door many places. I would tend to stay with engineering schools mostly because they tend to be pragmatic and will force you through less courses that are utterly unrelated to your task (i.e. how many courses in why European Culture and being a white male suck does one really need). I’d avoid Ivy and Ivy like schools due to cost and a real tendency on their part to think anything practical is icky. Their CompSci is aimed at generating PhD students. Not to say one doesn’t need formal stuff. Knowing general computation theory especially things like computational complexity
                is critical to writing decent performing software. Similarly understanding the proper uses of composition and inheritance can help keep you from writing horrific incomprehensible unmaintainable software. It’s nice to learn a language or two, but the deeper stuff is hard to learn from books as expressing this stuff without complex abstraction is hard. This assures you’ll have the basis to talk with other CS types.

                The second part of this practical. Get a small system (E.G. Raspberry PI 3 or 4 or arduino) and USE it and play with it. Find some friends or a mentor and have at it. Challenge yourself with a little project. The PI is great because if you screw up the OS its 10 minutes for a new one. Its cheap a full system can be had for well under 100 bucks for keyboard, mouse case and PI. Also with Linux you have access to darned near everything you could ever want for software for the time to download it and install it. And there’s a plethora of other experimental OSes and software for it. The PI also has excellent ability to access sensors and bread boarded stuff so great for trying to muck with hardware interfaces. Part of the purpose is to make darned sure this is what you want to do ( this is true of almost any endeavor) . If this doesn’t hold your interest (or referably make your hear t sing) find something else.

                Software development takes an odd personality. You need to be VERY resilient and flexible. The field is growing and is changing fast. On top of that in what other career do you know EVERYTHING you do, no matter how hard you try will break somehow and be obsolete in 5-10 years. if you have a weak self image you are going to be second guessing your work constantly. Software engineers tend to have an extreme optimism about their own skills and often times very strong egos (like Fighter pilot /Submariner strong sometimes verging on hubris). If their egos were easily crushed the first time a compiler tossed out more lines of errors than lines of code that went in they’d call it quits. And you will do that when learning.

                1. Bob, I also recommend reading Brooks Mythical Man Month for a look at some of the timeless issues. It’s available on Kindle.

                  1. A second on this. Modern Software development strategies continualoly ignore the lessons it provided in the early 70’s and they continue to pay for it.

                    1. Snelson I can’t reply to you for some reason (WordPress Delenda Erit!) but wikipedia says 1975 for initial publication, though Brooks noted this working on OS360 for IBM so it may have happened in 1961. And I will note thats a fine birth year, I share it with you 🙂

                2. “Software development takes an odd personality. You need to be VERY resilient and flexible. The field is growing and is changing fast. On top of that in what other career do you know EVERYTHING you do, no matter how hard you try will break somehow and be obsolete in 5-10 years. if you have a weak self image you are going to be second guessing your work constantly.”

                  This is a job that perfection does not apply. You will make mistakes. You also can fix mistakes. You will run into problems that occur at absolutely the wrong time. No matter how well the software is tested initially. No matter how stress testing is done. You will have users yelling at you.

                  Normally I am very thin skinned. I love/loved programming & working out design, whether overall or micro within a system. I can be absolutely obliviously ignorant of what is going on around me when I’m in the zone. I learned to ignore screaming by end users & most demands by them.

                  One of my favorites? Payroll report is wrong. Okay. In all probability it is their fault, every single time. Why is it MY problem at 4:55 PM on Friday, 5 minutes before “report must be to payroll”, when it has been wrong ALL DARN DAY, if not the day before? My response. Don’t answer the phone after 4 PM.

                  Another generic favorite? “How long is it going to take you to fix it?” ** Uh, dang if I know. Probably not very long after I figure out what went wrong. Now ask how long will it take to find out what went wrong? **

                  Most of my career, I was my own tester. There were no, none, zip, other testers of my work, before it went to the end users. Fine, at least my first job, the end users knew that, but then they were all internal clients. We worked through it.

                  My last job, most end users did not know that; they were NOT internal clients. In defense of the company, end users would never get changes or releases if every possible permutation was formally tested. OTOH, when problems did occur, they didn’t have to wait for formal releases either … there weren’t formal version releases, ever. Closest to a formal release was to put every client at the same base code level, by dates of system programs.

                  Regarding obsolescence? In spades. Started on main frames. Went to individual programs on PC’s & handhelds. Then to individual program to allow developers to create programs for handhelds, but not directly communicate with other systems. Finally to systems that were on servers that were multiple users working with the same data. From procedural to object technology. Every technology tool I’ve ever used was NEVER the most current, not ever. Every single time a job went away, I was not considered current with technology. My last job, tools were 5 years out of date, the day I started; never was upgraded in the 12 years I worked there. Every job required me to learn something new (even if it wasn’t the most current). Never did get to writing programs that used web. Or accessed remote data VS direct data connections.

                  System I last worked on was headed in that direction, somewhat. There were some major legacy hurdles as well as logistical challenges they had to over come. The ones working out the change options were so not happy with me when I pointed out the clients who had requested a specific explicit feature had communication challenges that most installations didn’t (as in, no way to communicate to data server, no cell, even satellite would be challenging). I got a pat on the head (well sure I was the newest programmer, there … experience however …). I even refrained from telling them “I told you so.” When the client emphatically pointed out the same flaw. I retired not long after …

            1. I can’t explain. Has to do with “what makes amazon go up, other than sales.”
              Right now it’s not ready for prime time, but it’s amazing results for one day of work, anyway.

            1. There have been Democrats that could organize said orgy? Perhaps in the 60’s to early 70’s but once they really started to purge the old blue dogs the competence level went south. Tip O’Neill and Dan Rostenkowski may have been jerks but they could get stuff done and knew what battles to fight. The current set of Democrats make the Kilkenny cats lok orderly and peaceful.

  15. I hope this flu passes quickly. I will pray that it does.

    Fwiw. I read your posts almost daily. They are informative, interesting and encouraging. Build over. Build around. Build under. Never give up. I love it.

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