Random Ramblings on LabVIEW Design

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Punk Programming

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My formative years were growing up in a fairly poor areas of Wales in the late 70's and early 80's.



Unemployment was high and people were feeling pretty down-trodden. This rippled down to me and my 12 & 13 year old friends in a feeling of hopelessness and it doesn't take much to persuade a teenager from the path of study to the path of fun. At about this time the first wave of Punk Rock hit the UK and jolly exciting it was too (I was actually a year behind the first phase, but Wales was a long way from London). Here was something I could identify with, and I've been one ever since.


But what has all this self-indulgent waffle to do with LabVIEW you may ask.. bear with..


There was a lot of types of Punk and that band that actually got me into punk was a band called the Dickies from the USA.

I liked them because they didn't take life seriously and they made it look easy. Also they were really fast and I got this single on white vinyl*. I moved onto the Damned and another aspect was fixed into my mind. The Damned have never been as successful as they should have been and mainly that was because every album** they made was very different than the last (this is commercial suicide but they weren't in it for just the money). The other aspect of Punk that I liked was where they took on the music industry (music was mostly horrible in the 1970s).

For me the key lessons here were that creativity was a personal thing, and this fixed in my head an admiration for people who create.


So we had the heady mixture of bunking off school, getting mixed up in shenanigans, fast exciting music and learning that the establishment did not have our interests at heart. These all also clicked and fixed in my head.


My parents saw me going off the rails and dragged me back to England, I finished school and started working in a factory aged 16. This is where I discovered I could program and this was an industry that was just beginning to gather momentum (1982). 


Because it was a young industry there weren't many established rules and we could make up our own. It was creative and for a little while we ruled our little corner of the world. Luckily for me nothing in my career challenged my world view, management had a very distant knowledge of what we were doing and generally left us alone. I filled up my mental toolbox and eventually came to LabVIEW around 1996. 


Punk Programming is mainly attitude, it's listening but being sceptical, it's not accepting without reason, it's being honest with yourself (and to your customer). I'm not impressed by large companies or organisations, it's individuals that matter.


At SSDC we pride ourselves in being the Fools in the room (see article 20 - Foolishness as a Software Tool).


A quote from Jonny presenting at NIWeek.

"I call it Agile-lite, it really upsets a lot of people.....I actually don't care"

And I thought then that we were really cut from the same cloth (and you should see Adrian in action too!).


Me and my attitude are presenting in Galway (Ireland) NI Dev Days on 22nd June and I'm going to see a Japanese band called Melt Banana that evening. Some would say I'm too old for such goings-on.......


Actually I don't care........ 


And that was a proper Random Ramble


Lots of Love



*Vinyl - what old folk used to listen to music on.

**Album - Series of songs on a large piece of vinyl, sometimes with a theme or genre running through the whole thing. 

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I like it it. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (and books) from one of my heroes, Richard Feynman. 


"What Do You Care What Other People Think?"



authored by
Christian L, CLA
Applications Engineering Senior Manager - Data Acquisition, Control, and Real-Time Test
National Instruments - Austin, TX

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To tone it down a notch, I am actually interested in what people think, but the great thing about software is that it is practical. The only obligation we have to listen is if our methods etc don't work for us (and more importantly our customers).


So where we struggle we listen to others intently, but this is always tempered by some clinical thinking.


Richard Feynman, what a man! He had a very punk attitude to life (although it's somewhat easier to have if you're as clever as him!). I don't do heroes but he's close.

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I am getting around finally to catching up with your articles. I loved this one, it is a good description on your programming style and I love it. 


I admired you from the moment I read your book and my admiration only grew after I met you. What you see is what you get and that is the greatest trait I can see in a human being. To me, honesty is very important. 


Glad you have found a team that shares your style. As I was reading this weekend, happiness after all, comes from surrounding ourselves with the right people.


As always, thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.



Get Going with G! at G Central GCentral
DQMH Lead Architect * DQMH Trusted Advisors DQMH Trusted Advisor * Certified LabVIEW Architect * Certified LabVIEW Embedded Developer * Certified Professional Instructor * LabVIEW Champion * Code Janitor

Have you been nice to future you?

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happiness after all, comes from surrounding ourselves with the right people.
This is soo true.

An opportunity to learn from experienced developers / entrepreneurs (Fab and Steve amongst them):
DSH Pragmatic Software Development Workshop @ NIDays Europe in Munich on 22nd November
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It's only because I don't have the imagination to be anything else....

You're very kind to me btw!