Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny

I edit the content for this site on one of three different computers, depending on where I am when the fancy strikes me. In order to do this with the least possible strain on my brain cells, I've basically set up all three computers identically, and I use the same least-common-denominator processes from each. Same top-level "lab" directory on the C: drive, same command-line xt tool on each. Same command-line ftp -- I've got WS_FTP, but I keep forgetting to use it. Same horrible mishmash of editing tools: there's something somehow horribly wrong about using the same program to edit Lab entries and write C++ code. The last time that happened, it was freshman year, and Chase was writing all the code for his CS classes in pico.

There's something about the professional programming life that pulls you towards the really crude tools. That may be why I use my code editor for doing site updates, in fact: because it's such an uncomplicated blunt instrument. Sure, it hooks into this crazy-ass development environment and compiler, but, at root, it's a really direct typing program, one that doesn't do much to get between me and the words. In programming, this is nice because so much goes wrong with your code and the development process that you really want to be able to put rock-solid in your infrastructure, just because even the merest doubt that, say, your editor hadn't actually committed your changes to disk or was incorrectly showing your code -- you'd go insane with fear. And while I don't need that level of paranoia in scraping together my thoughts for the Lab, it's useful to use software designed with the developer in mind. Being one, I'm willing to ignore the rather unfriendly user interface; but beyond that, the tool does a great job of getting out of my way and of not throwing any additional headaches into my writing process. It does make proofing something of a chore (which fact, over and above my raw laziness, is partly why my stuff here is so poorly proofed), but it more than makes up for this deficiency by giving me that nice warm feeling of doing something arcane and technically erudite, even though the reality is so totally not.