Thoughts and Rants on Software Design

We’ve had some pretty rough weather recently – an ice storm, snow, and a cold snap that made the North Pole feel like a warm place to visit.
As a result trees snapped and fell causing power outages (some for days!), roads were blocked and some odd things occurred.
Anyway on my travels this weekend took me to an industrial area where I heard an alarm sounding. I didn’t have to investigate but I did.
There wasn’t any signage on the building so I drove around for a closer look… and here’s what I found.

I filmed the above expecting to send this to the local fire department or similar to investigate. I went back around the front of the unit to jot
down the address details and I ran into a guy that worked there. It turns out that the sprinkler pipes broke and the flooding inside was as bad
as expected… he called the sprinkler guy but there was likely another 20 minutes of flooding before they got there :-(.

I’ve still got no idea who the company is, what product they make but I can only imagine that no matter what it is the water damage was extensive and expensive.

What’s the moral of this story?

Well it all ties into programming and code. I saw an issue that was otherwise being ignored (the alarm was loud and could be heard from quite a distance by many people).  Rather than just ignoring it like others were I made an effort to investigate and resolve the issue – I couldn’t as a good citizen just let the alarm go unanswered.

The same goes for code and being a good citizen programmer. If I find an issue in code (bad logic, memory leak, just plain wrong code) I don’t have to be the programmer that fixes the issue (I doubt I would have been able to put out the fire (if there had been one) nor stop the flooding) but I did need to do something!
On the code level I could also just file a bug report or told someone else about it so that it could get the attention it needs.

If you are looking to be a better programmer, be a better citizen (or a combo of both) – the next time you see something ugly in code you’re looking at – don’t ignore it… either fix it or report it.

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