if you keep working on something.txt
if you keep working on something,
going over and over it,
you are left with what's essential.
it takes time, it's a process.
but also you have to be involved.
we have a tendancy to sense platonic
ideals, but only when we get stuck
in does it become clear we have no
idea of the situation.
i am obsessed with complexity.
i am employed to build things
and i can't shake this notion,
actually a knowing, that it could
be easier. that what i've done is
a mess, and beyond that: there
is an object, an approach, a
philosophy that will bring my
blood pressure down. that will
mitigate problems. an approach
i could only ever have understood
from in the inside.
it feels, it really feels as though
there is a clear, specific wisdom
that can be achieved here. a general
tool or set of tools of mind. an
observation that will make obvious
the stress i feel at my having such
low confidence in what i built.
if i had to take a stab: "separate
but ...". what i want is to walk
away from these things. when problems
appear i want them localised. i
want a ship with compartmentalised
hull. i want to know. we have
absolute power here: the universe is
ours to create. surely then we
can arrange it that we can know ?!
what do we know? what don't we?
what systems produce knowing? when
does not knowing come in?
a server: i know everything coming
in as a request. i my mind i can
visualise with total confidence that
everything about what i'm building
can be thought of, accurately and
exhaustively, as a process starting
with that: a request. and we produce
of course, infuriatingly, it's not
really true anymore: for a long time
one could have open connections.
so we don't, in fact, know anymore!
so what do we know about servers?
well, we know it's running on linux
(for example). we can control that.
we know we're communicating with
some device somewhere. what else?
what don't we know? we don't know
what the device is (the http headers
are arbitrarily easy to modify).
we don't know how long it's going
to take to produce a responce. we
don't know where in the world the
device is, how long it will take for
it to get the responce, even whether
it will get the response! (not that
any system designer working today
ever takes that into account!).
also, clearly i don't know how to
we don't know what the device wants.
we don't know what what they're asking
for means to them, what they're going
to do with it.
we know there is a url involved,
and a method (get/post/etc). we don't
know if they're a rouge entity. we
don't know (not a red entity, rather
someone who steals things like pots)
whether we'll get another request from
them or if this is last we'll ever hear
from them. we don't, in fact, know if
everyone we've been talking to have
in fact all been the same person!