usable in any place a human can be used



[caption id="attachment_284" align="alignright" width="300" caption="was the collander really that hard?"]was the colander really that hard?[/caption]

I am an American, which means that my life is constant bombardment of people offering to make it simpler, faster, easier, and more comfortable. Watch an hour of tv and count the number of times people are trying to make your life easier and more comfortable, its quite a few. The problems they solve aren't even real problems, they are imagined problems that we've been convinced are real. I used to think these problems were real too, I didn't have enough time, I didn't have enough skill, I needed the pre-packaged solution that was quick and ready in 5 minutes.

Then I woke up one day and realized that I had been swindled by a bunch of bullshit.

Who has 15 minutes to make pasta for dinner?! [Show woman dumping pot of scolding hot water and noodles all over herself]
There's just not enough hours in the day!! Buy our microwave-licious pasta bowls!!!

You know who has 15 minutes to make pasta, everybody does. Want to write a comment saying there is no way you could free up such time, well fuck you Mr. I-have-time-to-read-a-blog-and-post-a-snarky-comment-but-somehow-can't-find-15-minutes-with-both-hands-and-a-flashlight. At this point though, we are all thinking, am I trying to make some sort of point about pasta or is this going to get around to programming at some point?

Well thanks for going on that side-rant with me, let's look at what in the world I'm trying to get to. Being a programmer I like to be comfortable, I like to work with the languages I like, and the tools I know, and the frameworks I understand. It makes sense, people are more productive when they are working with the tools we know, that's why we have holy wars about what language is better and which framework to use, we invest some time getting our nice comfy language set-up just the way we like it and we look at people sitting on uncomfortable languages and wonder what the hell is wrong with them.

The problem with being comfortable is that its hard to learn and grow when you are comfy. You know the language, you might learn some edge cases here or there or uncover a new feature or bug every once in a while (and this is important too, its important to be a master of something), but new learning is rarely done this way. Its very hard to learn new things by doing the thing you already know how to do day in and day out. Yesterday I decided to do something new, and it was uncomfortable, but I've started learning and hope to learn a bunch more.

What was this horrible discomfort that I suffered, moving my code for prosper from Google Code to GitHub. You see, I've been using Subversion since college, when one of the smartest software developers I know, Ian Potter, introduced me to it. I had heard some stuff about svn before and compared to the source control system we were using (a folder called test and a folder called production) had determined svn would be a step up. He set up svn and patiently answered my questions of which code was on my machine and which code was on the server over and over again until my brain finally wired it up.

Moving to svn was much more complicated than the tried and true 2 folder methods, but the safety, history, and concurrency that svn offered was more than worth the week or two of learning the new system. In my career so far I've gotten to use cvs, svn, and vss, they are all similar concepts, there is a central repo and you can commit, update, branch, merge, blame, etc. This is how source control works in my brain, and I am completely comfortable with how this all works.

Well svn is no longer the new hotness, git is in big time, and a good portion of its popularity can be attributed to GitHub. GitHub is the facebook of source hosting, its a really great site to host your project on, most interesting new projects are hosted there, and the social aspect allows people to easily interact with you and your project. I've had a GitHub account for a while, and I tried it out before, only to go back to the comfortable embrace of Google Code and svn.

[caption id="attachment_285" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="who could resist octocat?"]who could resist octocat?[/caption]

So why move to git, just because its shiny? Well, GitHub is almost enough of a reason, but the distributed nature of git, the increased popularity of git, and the ability to quickly make new branches and merge them back into trunk, make it worth learning. If I want to continue being active in a community that more and more relies on git, its probably best to learn it.

I've taken the first step, I've moved my stuff over to GitHub and I've got git up and running on my laptop, I've been able to push some changes upstream and over the next few days I will be reading the excellent help that GitHub provides you. It will not be comfortable, I will probably be scratching my head for a while, wishing to go back to the centralized repo that I know and love. I will more than likely treat git like svn for a while until I "get it." But I've decided to stick it out, to live with and own my discomfort and to learn this new thing.

Here is my challenge to you: maybe you've read a few things about a new technology and its interested you, maybe you've even taken a few trembling steps into the new technology, and you've walked away or put it aside. Go back to it, jump in head first, don't look back and don't give up. The great thing about technology is there is usually a manual to read, a community to turn to, and our old friend Google. Make yourself uncomfortable, you might just learn something.

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