It looks fun ...

I spend many hours every month on the train between Gothenburg and Stockholm. I try to be as productive as I can during these hours so most of the time I sit and work with my laptop.

Yesterday, the train took a lot longer than usual. We had to stop in the middle of nowhere (a small town called Falköping ;-) for one and a half hours. I didn't mind much because I was quite consumed by a little application I'm currently working on.

It's a tool which can be used to define insurance products. It's built around a general data model and some simple rules for how reusable "insurance parts" can be combined in certain situations (terribly exciting, I know).

Anyway, since the train wasn't moving, people started to talk to each other and I noticed that the woman sitting next to me was looking at my screen. A lot. I could sense that she wanted to make some form of contact and start a conversation or something. I wasn't particularly interested because most of the conversations seemed to be whining about SJ (the train company) and how terrible the situation was (for about fifteen minutes there was no air-conditioning).

I was very surprised when she leaned over and said: "It looks fun, what kind of game are you playing?"

I *was* actually trying to work. I was switching back and forth between my application (which uses wxPython), the wxPython docs and my Wing IDE. At first I couldn't understand what could have looked like a game but I guess she must have noticed how my prototype application "grew" to include more and more widgets and data and that I was responding to how they behaved as if I had scored or failed in a game.

I wonder if this ever happens to people in other professions. I don't think so. Some guy (Nat Rochester at IBM) once said that programmers are working more closely than any other profession with what he called pure "mind-stuff". It makes me glad I'm working with Computer Science.

2 kommentarer:

woolfel sa...

that's funny. I used to work on rule engine stuff on my commute into south boston, which was 4.5hrs a day of commuting on the train. rarely did people ask me what i was doing, but when they did they were like "what?"

some people got into it, since they were also programmers, but most just thought i was nuts :)

Johan Lindberg sa...

Yeah, I've experienced that as well. Once I tell them what I do for a living they lose interest; unless they want me to help fix their computer or if I'm working on something which includes graphics.