Doing everything with nothing

Doing everything with nothing

Jun 15

“We the unwilling, led by the unknowing, have done so much with so little for so long, that now we are qualified to do everything with nothing.”
– Harold Jones, Maryland National Bank, 1978

I love that quote (the Mr. Harold Jones version…), it reminds me so much of my early… well, OK, pretty much entire career in software development. I have always had to make do with hardware that was… not strictly as good or as current as it could have been. It probably doesn’t go for everybody but I have seen many programmers make do with second-rate, second-hand hardware to do their jobs. It’s a strange phenomenon really: programmers are regularly expected to be the Picasso’s of their art and make miracles happen with code, but they’re often given shitty brushes, little paint and no pencils. I’m not sure if the lack of decent hardware should be attributed to the price of hardware or the people in control of acquiring hardware but ‘barely good enough’ seems to be a common standard when applied to providing programmers with tools.

To be productive when you can’t run all the tools you need to work at the same time takes real, serious dedication. Even the most serious, most dedicated people eventually get fed up with having to force the dedication for lack of decent hardware.

Getting back to the quote, I will admit that the possibility exists that having had to work with second-rate hardware made me a more resourceful (or resourceless, heh), more ingenious developer or systems administrator, making me qualified to do everything with practically nothing. Fixing problems on no budget at all, every time, forces one to acquire some creativity.

Since I have more creative problem solving ability now than I think I will ever need, I think it’s time I get myself a properly decent laptop. By that I mean a laptop that can run both the database, development environment and play music at the same time.

Leave a Reply