Coding, from 20 years ago

I was updating a few things in the Todo.txt Android app earlier today. I have a second hand Pixel device that I use for testing as I develop. Since I hadn’t used it for a few days, its battery was fully discharged, and it’d be a short while before I could use it to run and test the code. I had the option of using one of the many software emulators, but they are slow on my system1 when run alongside the Android Studio and multiple Chrome instances. Instead, I decided to just code the stuff, document it, and write a few tests till the Pixel was ready for use.

This was different from my usual development practice of writing a few lines of code and then executing to see if it’s working as expected before continuing. I had to think ahead, and structure the code a bit more. I had to mentally execute the method, and its tests. I wrote a bit more comment docs than usual to account for lack of instant execution confirmation. It felt odd and marginally discomforting at times. But it was fun.

Towards the end of the session, I realised that it was also more productive. I had almost completed two of the three planned updates by end of the hour-long session. Not taking frequent pauses to compile-execute-observe-confirm freed me up to continue planning and coding further and faster. It also stopped me from taking detours on updating unrelated or tangentially-related bits observed in the execution.

The session reminded me of how we used to write code when I was studying engineering. Compiling and executing even our C programs was slow on my PC back then2. So, executing was infrequent, and often followed long periods of writing code, and running through the flow manually multiple times. If the program required internet access, it meant even more coding and manual verification before testing it by execution3. Fond memories :)

Anyway, the Pixel is charged now. I can now test the morning’s code and, if it works, commit it, and move on to the third update.


  1. I use a 2015 MBP, though well specced. It has 16GB RAM, 3.1GHz dual core i7, and 1TB SSD. 
  2. I had a best-amongst-peers custom assembled PC. It had 256MB RAM and 8GB HDD. I can’t recall the processor details, but it was a Pentium II. 
  3. This was after I got a PC. Before that, I’d write the code on one of the PCs in the computer lab, print it on dot matrix printers, and take the printouts back to hostel/home. There I’d go over the code, update it with pen, and then go type it in at the lab the next day to execute and debug. It was more fun than it sounds. 

What I want…

A driver. And a million or so quid. And a <3yo kid, preferably Indian and girl. And Brexit reversed. And Trump, Bojo, Modi, Erdogan out of power. And nuclear fusion reactors. And warp drive. For starters.

We’re headed on a day trip today to bring a dog home. A friend asked if we needed anything 🙂

Continue reading What I want…

Garden update

Today…

Two new leaves in one of the hardy geranium cuttings. It’s made it! 🙂

First flowers bloomed in the new viola. Violet and yellow beauties 🙂

Moved the last three yellow begonias and the Dianthus from flower bed to tubs. The snails have been busy butchering them 🙁

The white mustard has flowered beautifully. It was nearly dead in January; now it’s dense and getting whiter all the time 🙂

A rose I’ve been trying to revive/keep-alive for at least 3 years, produced its first bud in many years. It’s a beautiful light pink bud. Rewarding me for the effort, clearly 🙂

Earlier…

Moved all the orange and one yellow begonia from flower bed to one big pot. Two of them were near death, all were suffering. One still might not survive. Damned slugs, snails and earwigs!

The petunias and bidens in the window basket produced their first flowers. Bidens are pretty yellow, petunias surprised with a Burgundy red/pink with veins 🙂

The geraniums are blooming big time! All of them—7 surviving from last year and 8 from this. Loads of beautiful red flowers everywhere 🙂

The three campanulas are all nicely settled in, blooming and growing. Hardy, self-seeding, and beautiful blue and violet flowers. They’re amongst my favourite plants this year.

The lobelias in the other window basket are like one huge (South Indian politician sized) garland of blue and violet.

After mowing the lawn every two weeks, I haven’t mowed it in 4 weeks now. It’s still now growing. We really need some good rain 🙁

Her

Halfway through the sixth book, I’m now sure that the series would’ve been a lot shorter if Hermione had been the chosen one instead of Harry.

Even Ginny might’ve ended it earlier, though not sure which way it’d have gone.

Not just gardening

Yesterday I struggled for a half a day with a work problem. Couldn’t find a decent, acceptable solution. A beautiful solution came to mind later in the evening, sometime between playing with the boys in the backyard and working on the flower bed in the front yard. I implemented and tested it today.

There’s another work issue I’ve been struggling with for over a month. Discovered an elegant solution to this one today, again while working on the front yard flower beds in the evening. Thought it through a bit more in the shower. And wrote down a brief summary while lying on the sofa after dinner.

It’s hard work, gardening. My hands, back, legs are hurting. Arms have scratches from rose thorns, and fingers feel dirty even after a shower and nail trimming.

But the flower beds will look good, come summer. And I discovered elegant solutions to two hard problems in two evenings. The hard work may be worth it.

On murder

On Sunday morning, R casually asked me what would be a good way to kill me. (I suggested a few practical and efficient ones, but she wanted outlandish Villanelle kind ideas)

Last two days she’s been watching a new serial, ‘How to get away with murder.’

If I die or disappear, you know where to look..

Books in 2020

I’ve read 20 books so far this year. Unlike most years, it’s been a weirdly clustered bunch.

3 Harry Potter books, and counting

3 Fredrik Backman books,

2 Hemingway books,

2 John Steinbeck books,

2 John L Parker Jr books, and

3 running related books (not including the 2 John Parker books).

That’s 15 of 20 books I’ve read so far. I’m guessing it’ll be 19 of 24 before the month is over.

Also, unlike most years, my reading list this year is loaded with fiction. Usually there’s an almost even split.