Archive for May 8, 2015

The art of pissing people off

May 8, 2015 Leave a comment
To provoke is a part of self-examination, education and growth

To provoke is a part of self-examination, education and growth

Ok, I admit it. Part of writing a blog is to be informative, helpful and the whole good guy thing. But another just as important part is to challenge stereotyping, old ideas, new ideas and to basically be a profiled prick. And I admit it, I am exceptionally good at pissing people off — but at the same time I force people to re-evaluate their ideals, tendencies and patterns.

Over the past four years I have pretty much done it all. I have dizzed Delphi on numerous occasions, not because I mean every word of what I wrote (well, the XML mapper is dying for attention, that I meant) but because the only way to create life is to break apart the old, stagnant constructs that is holding an otherwise brilliant technology back.

And look at all we have achieved!

Hate me, love me, It really doesn’t matter. You can hardly say that the Delphi community would be the same without that hyper-active Norwegian who cuts straight to the chase, taking no prisoners and churns out a fair load of code month after month. I even taught Delphi for free in my local community for over 2 years just to make sure I had done everything I could to protect my job and skill-set.

I have been yelled at, thrash talked on forums I never even knew existed, a guy even tried to knock me down once in Oslo after a Delphi meetup (boy was he surprised, I did thaiboxing for 10 years and still remember a few tricks *smile*). I have gotten letters telling me in exquisite detail how utterly retarded I am, but also letters thanking me for helping, creating or solving problems they have struggled with.

I helped this kid in India who could not afford Delphi, so I gave him a copy of Smart Mobile Studio professional. I got a warm letter from his mother thanking me, because using SMS he had got enough object pascal skill to be accepted to the schools computer group. Meaning he would have access to Delphi 2 days a week. And if he works hard he can become a developer as an adult.

You cant put a price on letters like that, it makes you humble. And if everyone in the Delphi community cared enough about our language, our skill-set and the work we do – and help out more, we would have secured our jobs and technical skill for decades to come. I dont make a dime on what I do — I do it because I genuinely care about programming. Programming teaches you to think and to see the world. Cause and effect, potentialities, abstract constructs — the things that makes a mind sharp, insightful and inquisitive.

What better legacy to leave for the next generation of coders? Take responsibility for your profession, because no-one else will.

Paying the devils dues

So do I piss off people on purpose? No, of course not. No sane human being sits down intentionally and plans what to put in a blog. People that insane are usually patients or politicians. No, I tend to wing it as I see it. And I get a lot of things wrong too; Although I tend to get more right than wrongs. Especially when it comes to programming and movements / tendencies in the market.

Lately, especially with the whole freepascal/lazarus thing going on, I just wanted to put this out there. I’m not intentionally out to get anyone or to cause problems “just for the hell of it”. I actually never saw that one coming at all. Which is a shame because had I been prepared I would have served up some cool jokes. It would have been an awesome show. But alas, I was not prepared and hey– i’m only human (well, sort of).

So my stance on blogging goes a bit deeper than just churning out the same boring, superficial crap like everyone else. I dont know, perhaps something stuck with me from art class in my teens, where dialog, free press, the art of writing and human expression was still important.

In other words – If you are going to write, no matter what it is, you are obligated to challenge yourself and others. Conflict is by nature unavoidable because each mind is an island onto itself. It’s impossible to go through life without meeting, eventually, someone who just doesn’t like you. Without any valid cause at all. They just don’t like YOU. And I’m good with that because it goes both ways. It’s fantastic!

But to challenge ideas is important. It’s important because a living, breathing entity – be it a social structure, a metaphysical structure (programming for instance) or a mechanical structure, must be in movement at all times. If death have a property it is the lack of activity and movement. So a dead programming language is one that doesn’t change, that remains static – immutable and unchallenged from cradle to grave.

I kinda enjoy being the devil in the deck. People think the worst of the devil, but they don’t realize just how important his role is in the grand scheme of things. Without the devil there would be no fall from grace, no grace, no distinction, no value and  no peace; nothing to contrast happiness against – nor the notion of positive vs. negative.

Never take anything at face value

Never take anything at face value. Notice the balloon? *smile*

All communities, no matter if it’s programming, social groups and even families – needs a black sheep. A rouge which gives voice to things people would rather not talk about, forget or brush under the table. If there is an elephant in the room, trust the devil to point him out and question why people pretend they dont see it.

In modern society we tend to drug kids that do that, without understanding what a huge loss it is to society. We should be careful of throwing out the devil, because we might just throw out the best in us.

The devil is in the details

Shiva, unbound consciousness

Shiva, unbound consciousness

If all of that sounded a bit religious then relax, I’m not religious. I am a student of tantrika, which is a part of sanatana dharma (hindu esoteric tradition) and buddhism alike. My principal deity is Krishna; The thief, the rebel, the rouge, the best friend to arjun (the mind) who runs into battle to restore order. The maintainer of “that which is functional” in the universe. And my guardian deity is shiva.

Because when things get rough, its shiva the destroyer that swoops in and kicks-ass. And just like Krishna is a part of all human beings psyche, so is Shiva. Who do you think you are when anger takes you over?

And yes, these are psychological symbols which defines aspects of nature. And that includes human beings since we are after all products of nature.

Shiva is a very misunderstood archetype. He is called the destroyer, smears his body with ash from burned corpses, carries a trident — and hence people look at him as evil. But his role and function in nature is to challenge those who think they know it all, break apart structures that no longer serve humanity and ultimately make sure things “work”.

Without shiva, which is the root of the christian devil, there would be no creativity, no new inventions and all would be dull, dark and without life.

If that is to be my archetype in all of this, then so be it. I’m happy to play the devil of freepascal as they now call me; and my work will no doubt insult, scare, impress and help those that use them.

Speak of the devil

Just before we were about to release Smart Mobile Studio (alpha release) a few years back, an individual was so upset with me over that invention, that he actually called me and threatened me on the phone. That’s how protective people are about what they love and work with. That’s how dependent some people are on their habits, their knowledge and their self-image.

Kinda scary don’t you think? Bordering on mental if you ask me. And this is over programming. Not family, children, millions of dollars, your house or the death of a loved one — no, programming (!). Behind it all he was so scared that SMS would somehow kill Delphi as he knew it, that he would no doubt have physically attacked me if he could. People are strange when it comes to their world view. They will do almost anything to protect what they believe is “right” and fight with tooth and claw against “the wrong”.

Little did he know that my mission was not to destroy, but to strengthen object pascal and ensure that his knowledge and expertise would remain valuable and useful in the years to come.

And it has worked like a charm! In the UK kids are learning Smart Pascal thanks to the effort we made, both us on the SMS team and everyone who has helped make it a reality. So kids are growing up and will remember 50 years from now that they learned to program in Smart Mobile Studio. And that is valuable. That means something. And you cant create that without utterly smashing the ideas which no longer works or serve us poorly. And in doing so you will provoke people, like unwritten facts always do.

Devil or not, I am happy I’m not that shy, ego ridden critic that doesnt make a licking difference in his entire life. Death to me is to be stiff and motionless in your work and what you enjoy. To be so utterly boring that you never even speak up when gold is replaced with shit. And to blindly let 15 years of excellence and hard work just fade into oblivion. What did you do to help Delphi remain vibrant and relevant? People who criticize me should ask themselves that before they throw the first stone.

And if that makes me the devil of freepascal, the angry nerd of hades, the emir of forks (or whatever insane title they cook up this week) then I wear that title like a badge – with pride!

Because I did stuff they never dared to do; And brush shoulders with people they will only read about. So bite me.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”