[Confinement] Week 2

As everyone settles down in the new mode of operations, the number of small tasks has increased and the number of big projects has decreased.

The plagiarism tool is in testing among some of the teachers at school, and the funny reaction of my team of developers asking for an API (to avoid going through the web front end that I crafted - probably badly - in React) made me smile.

What fascinates me overall is the inability of "the web" to cope with the sudden influx of having a ton more people working from home. "They" said the web would replace everything, that it was just a matter of scaling up.

Azure seems to be full, GCloud has some issues with the data traffic, AWS is holding but the status page keep showing outages...

Don't get me wrong, I've been working remote for close to 20 years, so I'm not saying office work is better. But I have been working on projects with people who said it didn't matter if the performance was poor, because they'd just order a bigger server or two.

That inability to take into account the physical constraints of our world is one of the things that grind my gears the most: I've been working on embedded software and high-performance backend stuff for a long time, and betting on poor code hygiene to be compensated by someone else is never a good bet. It ends up with re-writing the code again, and again, and again.

When it's not the RAM issues (lookin at you Electron), it's server constraints (oh the surprise when your instance autoscales up), or bandwidth issues (our government is thinking of restricting the use of Netflix and the like 🙄).

This situation will hopefully remove the attention from the people who can talk and present the best, and back onto more objective metrics (aka "does it work under load?")

I don't rent a small server because I'm cheap. I do it because I can't release any software that doesn't work "correctly" on the bare minimum of specs I have decided the users will have. Then again, when it explodes, it's a great opportunity to learn new things about optimization and constraints 🧐

Since the situation will last a while longer, I hope it reminds everyone that what we do isn't magic. It's science, and we can't wave the problems and constraints away.