Premature Optimisation Strikes Again

I was always a software developer, it just took me till I was 18 to realise it.

I had always strived for that peculiar blend of abstract beauty and optimisation of tasks that make software geeks peculiarly excited.  As a teenager, I used to attempt to balance out, symmetrically, the movements from one half of my body with the other.  The process of designing and writing software, as well as a way of paying the bills, is a way of getting that kind of need out of my system and allowing myself to be a little less odd.

However, I still can’t just walk from one place to another without trying to optimise the route, by shaving corners off wherever possible, in an attempt to minimise the distance.  When crossing a road, the passage of cars down the road, which might run me over if I try and take the most direct route and hence stay on the road longer, just adds some more variables into the equation, making it a little more interesting.

However, software development has taught us that optimising at a low level, if you don’t know you need to, can be costly.  Catching a train, instead of walking,  is normally worth  doing without any additional information.   Running for a train is only really worthwhile if you know that otherwise you would miss it.

On Sunday I tried to optimise my route to a parking space at the supermarket by nipping through a gap next to a big concrete pillar.  The pillar now has a rather fetching bit of red paint which used to be attatched to my car.


2 responses to “Premature Optimisation Strikes Again

  1. If you will put your shortcut into production without QA sign-off…

  2. Pingback: Most people prefer Safety to Efficiency « Phil Wills’ Approximately Honest Blog

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