The Art of Software Development

As you may - or may not - know, in my other life I develop software for a living.  It is not something I studied in school nor is it exactly where I intended to go with my life.  I just found out that I was good at it, I enjoyed it and before I had the chance to course-correct my life, it became my career.  Having been in this particular profession for my entire adult life, I think I am somewhat qualified to pontificate on the discipline as a whole.  Before you non-geeks run screaming, I want to tell you up front that this column is more about the esoteric side of software development.  I promise not to digress into a length discussion on ternary operators or anything else that might cause you to reach for the nearest sharp object.

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The Wizard of Woz

So this last week was the 30th anniversary of the Mac and that got me thinking back to the early days.  My first "personal" computer was an IBM 5150 I purchased back in 1982.  It had a whopping 576k of memory, twin 5 1/4 floppy drives (because I was living large) and a Hercules graphics card that displayed all the colors you could want provided all you wanted were black and green.  This was long before there were things like hard drives, and I paid more for this than I did for my car: to wit, my Honda Civic cost me $1200, and the 5150 was nearly $11,000.  Oh yeah, and the thing weighed about 7 pounds less than the Honda.

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Engineering Magic


Most people don’t want to know how their phone works, they just want it to work.  But much like the difference between David Copperfield and your average kid’s party magician, how well each phone platform pulls off the magic is the question.  The answer depends on which platform you have chosen and how impressed you are when a quarter disappears vs. the Statue of Liberty.  And so we come to our latest installment of my Windows Phone 8 series.  Along the way I intend to beat the “magic” metaphor like a cheap mule and stretch it like Jersey shore salt water taffy.  You have been warned.

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