Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blogger Finger

Well! I've sure had a nice relaxing blog-free year. No worries, no haters, no Nooglers wandering by my office and staring at me through the window as if they expect me to crap in my hand and hurl it at them. Not that I wasn't tempted.

Nope, it's just been peace and quiet and reading and coding and practicing my guitar and stuff. It's been awesome.

And now that everyone's completely forgotten who I am, or whatever exactly I'd said that made them feel all butthurt inside -- as measured by my incoming email rate, which is finally near-zero -- I figure it's probably safe to get back in the water.

I'm not really sure what my plans are going forward, other than staying employed at Google until the day comes when I need one of their comfy, brightly-colored caskets. Other than that, my plans are flexible. I'm feeling downright leisurely at the moment.

I realize now that I was trying way too hard to change the world via blogging, and it made me care maybe just a little too much. This was bad for my mental and emotional health. Caring is fine. Lots of things are worth caring about. Very few of them merit sacrificing your health.

Fortunately during my ad-hoc sabbatical I was able to gain some new perspectives by distancing myself a bit from the constant storm going on in the tech world.

One nice perspective I gained is this: There is nothing on this earth that can make everyone happy. Reddit is a huge, living, breathing demonstration of this, since essentially no reddit post ever goes above maybe 80% approval, and a "good" post seems to hover around 65%-70% liked.

That made me feel better about the haters. Haters abound. They're just a fact of life, part of the human condition. There's no need to waste energy hating haters.

Another perspective I gained was that decorating your mansion with works of art you know nothing about is amazingly rewarding, as long as you can mix it up by leaping across rooftops and assassinating bad guys and hanging with your buddy Leonardo. I swear, if they ever make a movie about my life, the handsome and dashing actor who plays me, when asked on his deathbed which of life's pleasures had given him the greatest happiness, will say something cheesy that makes the audience ooh and aww with appreciation, but it'll be total Hollywood bullshit, because what I really will have said was "gaming".

Yet another perspective I gained is that I now actually agree with everyone who complained that my blog posts were too long. Reddit has ruined my attention span for online material. There seems to be no such thing as too frequent, but there's definitely such thing as too long. So I'll be better about that.

I used to have this pet theory that the length of my blogs is a big part of why they've been noticed at all. I mean, look at this dude. If he'd written only one or two crazy things, he'd be just another nutjob, but by dint of almost superhuman persistence he's managed to get the entire world to laugh at him.

I was sort of aiming for getting people to laugh with me, but I used the same basic recipe as Time Cube Dude. And the formula seemed to be working, modulo the haters.

However, Dave Barry -- my Personal Childhood Hero (66% liked!) -- always wrote his columns in chunks of 800 words, even if it necessitated inserting filler words such as "booger" and "legislative session" into his articles about wine tasting or car engines or bat guano, or whatever it was that caught his fancy that week.

Overall it seems likely that post-length is less important than factors such as quality, consistency, passion, relevance, and legislative booger session.

So I was originally thinking of writing up to a maximum of 800 words today, and I'm at about 500 now, but I've been really successful at my Not Caring Too Much Initiative, so... later! Nice chatting with ya. Cheerio!


Just to ensure this post isn't entirely devoid of content I'll share something important that I learned last year.

Here's what I learned: after Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the second most common hand ailment is known as Trigger Finger.

Its more formal name is digital tenovaginitis stenosans, which is ancient Latin for "electronic hand inflamed vagina without writing", which I believe is why most people prefer to call it Trigger Finger.

I have it, you know. Trigger Finger, I mean, not an inflamed vagina.

Although Trigger Finger is "idiopathic", a fancy word meaning that doctors don't have a fucking clue what causes it, it is widely known in musical circles as a musician's injury. It happens to musicians who overpractice, usually in preparation for a recital, performance or recording session.

I found all this out after being diagnosed with it.

It is not idiopathic in my case. I have the benefit of hindsight, and I know exactly what caused it. It turns out that if you play a certain right-hand arpeggio on a classical guitar enough times -- where "certain arpeggio" here refers to Hector Villa-Lobos' Etude No. 1, and "enough times" is approximately 650,000 times in a 5-month period[wtf?] -- you acquire Trigger Finger. That's not precisely what I was playing, but it'll serve.

Trigger Finger is a painful, debilitating, demoralizing injury. I highly recommend not letting it happen to you. Your body will begin telling you when it's time to ease up on the practice sessions. Listen to your body when it says that.

As for specifics, there's not much to tell. My hand started hurting. Then it hurt real bad for a month. Ibuprofen and cold/hot packs didn't help. It got steadily worse. Even quitting guitar altogether for another month didn't help. I could no longer use my right hand, and it was beginning to feel permanent. I wasn't even sure why it was happening. I was terrified and I began to despair.

My Google doctor was great. She referred me to a specialist -- a hand surgeon. I told her I didn't really want to see a hand... S-word. I could barely say it aloud. She reassured me that seeing a specialist didn't necessarily mean surgery. They might have other tricks up their sleeves. So I decided to brave it.

My first trip to the specialist only took about 15 minutes. She listened to my disoriented bleating, asked me a few questions, gently felt my hand here and there, and informed me that I had Trigger Finger. She said she was going to give me a cortisone shot. She was pulling out a giant needle as she told me this. It just sort of materialized from under the table, the way a knife appears in a bar fight. It was a very large needle. She explained calmly that the cortisone is a steroid that stays wherever you inject it. They use it on athletes to reduce inflammation from certain injuries.

Then she stuck the giant needle all the way into the base of my right middle finger and squeezed. Compared to the pain of my trigger finger, the injection felt like a mosquito bite.

She told me that I'd start feeling better in a week, and in a month I'd be pretty much all cleared up. If not, I should come back and see her for more treatment. And no, I wasn't going to lose my hand.

It was kind of weird, but on my way back to my car I think someone had been cutting onions in the elevator. A lot of onions. In the last fifteen minutes my whole life had been handed back to me with an almost casual lack of concern. I was overwhelmed with onions.

A month later I was back to see her. The cortisone had helped a lot. I gave it a 66% approval rating. She said she could give me another shot, or do surgery. This time I'd done my homework. I elected for surgery. That was back in September. It was an interesting story in its own right, but the upshot is she did great. And then after that there was a lot of physical therapy.

I typed the word "September" in the previous paragraph three times before I got it right. The word doesn't even have letters that need my right middle finger. My right hand, which had shaped itself into an unusable, agonized claw between March and July, is still afraid to flex and extend my middle finger. It's up to, oh, a 95% approval rating now, which I believe is phenomenally successful. Who could ask more of a hand surgery? It could have been much worse. Much much.

But that last 5% is rough. The haters in my hand are a constant reminder of the old pain. When I type, or play piano or guitar, my right-hand fingers twist and curl in elaborate, incomprehensible dances to avoid a pain that is for the most part no longer there.

Yep, I think it'll be easier to keep my blog posts shorter going forward.

Ironically, some good came out of the experience. I've switched to a sustainable new guitar style and a new repertoire, one I enjoy greatly. And I now pay much more attention to economy of motion in my typing. And I spend more time finding pain-saving Emacs shortcuts. It makes me wonder what I might have achieved had I focused on it sooner.

Surgery notwithstanding, on the whole I still think it was a great year. The year was in fact more complicated and more painful than I've let on here, but that's life for ya.

And now that I'm rested up, I believe I'm ready to start tech blogging again... in moderation, anyway. The rest and relaxation and research did wonders for me. I used to have lot of open, long-standing concerns about the future of programming and productivity, but my sabbatical last year finally brought me some clojure.

[1] Talk about caring too much. I may explain this 650k figure in a future blog post if I can ever get over my embarrassment.


Blogger Josh Smeaton said...

Great to see you back Steve! I'm sorry to hear about your hand troubles, and glad that there's a 95% approval rating.

The interweb just got slightly better again. Welcome back.

4:26 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Paul said...

I missed your posts, welcome back!!

4:40 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Rob Allen said...

What Josh said. Your voice has been missed.

4:40 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Messiah said...

Holy Crap.

I am so happy that i can read your writing again. Awesome. You made my day.

Keep on keeping on :)

Best wishes from far Poland.

4:56 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Russell said...

Yay, Steve is back!

4:57 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yay! I was reading some of your old posts (obviously not all the way through) 2 days ago and wondering what you were up to.

Trigger finger sounds like it sucks. Luckily I get frustrated with my playing far too quickly to run the risk of getting it. (Can you get trigger larynx?)

4:58 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Sean Crawford said...

I'm glad to see you back. Being a non-computer guy, reading you is like trying to read The Jabberwocky, but I still have fun.

I've quoted you three times in the last dozen weeks in my own weekly essay-blog, most notably about your anime experience as I attended an anime convention as (almost) the only old guy there.

By the way, I'm a touch-typist, but right after in April reading your typing rant I switched to dvorak. Now I'm slower, but I feel so cool.

5:03 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Sebastian Morawietz said...

So does that mean that you abandoned your plan to abandon your blog...? (That would be greatly appreciated, by the way)

5:03 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger sapphirepaw said...

Welcome back! I give your return a 70% approval rating.

I guess this lays to rest my hypothesis that pre-announcing the end of your blog killed your ability to publish because of a desire to perfect those final entries.

5:12 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is awesome! I thought you had quit for good, so glad it's not the case. Most of my favourite blog posts are Yegge rants..

5:15 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Once A Day said...

I thought my RSS reader was lying to me! Yay Steve's back!

5:18 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger M.V.K said...

Welcome back! Very happy to see you post after a long time and sorry about your hand problems.

You are one guy who I thought need not care about haters and crap.

Waiting for your post on Clojure.

5:19 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Ravi said...

"I've switched to a sustainable new guitar style and a new repertoire,"

I hope you write more about this some day. Cheers,

5:20 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger janm said...

Glad you're back. I like the long posts, though.

5:20 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Glad to see you back. I really have enjoyed some of your older posts, especially about Java being too Noun Oriented (

Dave Barry is definitely the man. You had a few good chuckles in this article

5:20 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger entsh said...

Steve! I for one, am one of those rare beasts who actually READS - hence your blog, and by extension, your long rants -er, posts - are like getting dessert with my coffee! What a great day this is going to be! Stevey's Back!

5:21 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Shimshon said...

I had trigger finger in my left index finger that kind of built up slowly. The pain got progressively worse until I finally saw a doctor who immediately knew what it was. I ended up needing two shots, as the first wore out. Now I have a developing case in my left middle finger. LOL. Taking NSAIDs for a few weeks to see if that helps, but if not, another shot. I don't play music. I just code. So it's weird that I now have two separate incidents.

By the way, my doctor gave me the impression that the surgery is 100% side-effect free, but my veterinarian father-in-law, who has a human medical background too, told me that isn't the case. You do lose a tiny amount of motor precision.

5:23 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Tartley said...

Hooray! Your timing couldn't be better.

You won't believe this, but I just finished re-reading *all* your old posts, *all* the way through!

I took a month or so over it. Adding books and papers you mentioned to my reading stack; Digging a little deeper into the topics that interested me (Stuff written by Knuth, Turing, etc; Interpreters; Weirdy programming languages; Looking at how you ended up making everything so scriptable in Wyvern)

My point is that even if changing the world is hard, you *can* still change the parts of it that consist of those people who want to listen.

So thanks for sharing. For the record, I like the long posts, but you should do what you feel is right.

5:28 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Jason Baker said...

Maybe now that you're back you can change the Obama '08 tag? Just sayin...

5:31 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger With Respect to X said...

Congratulations on your recovery from what sounds like a quite nasty condition.

More congrats on your return to the producer segment of the blogosphere.

Looking forward to reading this site with a bit more frequency once again.

5:36 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Aviv Ben-Yosef said...

Welcome back! You were missed greatly.

I wish you a full recovery, and many more years of typing and guitaring!

5:42 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Anthony B said...

Glad you're posting again. Don't be shy about long-form stuff if that's what you feel like writing.

5:43 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger MaLKaV_eS said...

Great! Welcome back Steve!

5:48 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Kevin Fairchild said...

Glad you're back, Steve

5:50 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger dave said...

Oh, hell to the yeah! So glad you're back to writing, Steve! You've been sorely missed. Sorry to hear about the health issue too, glad you're on the road back to 100% approval.

Bring on clojure!

5:55 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

I don't know about the haters, but you should know that there are plenty of people who think you're brilliant. You're one of my blogging legends, a great source of inspiration, and, like any good writer, someone whose works I turn to whenever I'm in the mood to learn. Actually, even when I'm just in the mood to have an enjoyable half hour of reading.

Welcome back, and please, whatever you do, don't stop writing! :)

Oh, and write a book (even just a collected essays-type book with an intro), I'd love your writing on my bookshelf (and for you to get some well-deserved money).

5:59 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger JustPablo said...

Nice to have you back!
I want to hear more about your clojure ;)

6:01 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

I stopped reading after you mentioned you are an emacs user.

Unfortunately, that was at the freaking end of the article!

Thanks for ruining my day. Let's do it again sometime.

ctrl-x, c

6:01 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Hamlet D'Arcy said...

To be great, one must have zeal. To rail against zeal is to rail against the desire for greatness. It is zeal that makes you go the extra distance to become great. Robert Martin

6:02 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Raghu said...

Oh my God, its really you again!! I thought my Reader had gone nuts!! Welcome back Steve!!! (From some dude in India!!)

6:04 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Edward Kmett said...

Glad to see you back!

6:06 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Sean Bryant said...

Steve, had a meeting with some friends last night and you came up, as in where the hell were you, and now you're back!

Good to read your words again.

6:08 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Dmitry said...

Welcome back! Don't forget you promised to write another one emacs-related post :)

6:12 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Dan Bernier said...

"When I type, or play piano or guitar, my right-hand fingers twist and curl in elaborate, incomprehensible dances to avoid a pain that is for the most part no longer there."

Almost 10 years ago, I broke both my tibia and fibula an inch or two above the ankle. After the cast came off, I did a lot of hiking to strengthen and stretch the ankle, but it was two years before I was willing to jump down and land on both legs evenly. The good news is, it eventually came back.

Welcome back, Steve.

6:19 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

I feel your pain! 2 months before starting on a major renovation done solely by me (what was I thinking) I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel. Doc said to get it fixed within 6-9 months to prevent permanent nerve damage. I asked him what can I do now so that I can get the addition buttoned up before winter. He stuck 2" inches of needle in my wrist and said "wiggle your fingers". Then he put the rest of the needle in. Holy crap, I wasn't ready for that!

Anyway, I blogged about the project until I had surgery, then my blogging dropped off.

6:36 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Greg said...

Hey Steve, welcome back! Good to have your voice again.

If it's not crossed your radar, I'd encourage you to check out CoffeeScript. It's great. (Clojure on the server, CoffeeScript on the client, for me.)

6:40 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Mikie said...

Welcome back!! Would love to hear a 2010 follow up about Rhino on Rails :D

6:43 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger fREW said...

I'm *pretty* sure that it was emacs that caused your trigger finger. There have been studies linking emacs usage and trigger finger pretty much 1000%, so... there's that.

6:48 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger SulfaInDaHouse said...

Good to see you back. I look forward to reading more.

Not all of us are haters.

6:56 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Dean said...

I'm so glad you've decided to post the occasional rant again!

Every now and again I found myself reading the older posts for kicks. But I kept you blog in my feedreader, just in case... and it looks like my gamble paid off.

7:01 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Welcome back. :)

7:03 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger gene said...

Glad to hear from you again! Sorry to hear about the hand surgery. I had it 15 years ago and it made a huge difference (both hands). I sort of consider the scars the mark of a Real Programmer ! :-)

7:03 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger RD said...

Yay! :D

7:07 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Paul W. Homer said...

Welcome back Steve! We definitely missed you!

800 words is a nice length, lately I've been trying to tone it down too. I decided that it was better reach out to people, then it was to lecture to them.

The haters are the cost of blogging. For every opinion, there is an anti-opinion and if you're reasonable, they're probably fanatical. It would be nice if everybody was constructive, but some people aren't mature enough to understand why that's a better approach.


7:44 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Miles said...

Nice to have you back! Looking forward to some clojure, emacs and other random blog goodies!

7:46 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Jose said...

Great to have you back Steve

7:48 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Welcome back!

8:06 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger wilig said...

I sorely missed your insightful, not to mention hilarious, articles. You inspired me to improve my touch typing, and learn Emacs. I'm now learning Clojure and wondering how I got thru life sans Lisp. It's great to have you back.

8:06 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger brad dunbar said...

Always love your posts Steve. Glad you're back.

8:07 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Pierre Menard said...

Glad to see you back. If the haters start getting to you, just remember the wise words of Bun B: "You're only hating on yourself when you're hating on the next man."

8:08 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Such a nice thing to see in my rss feed reader this morning. First thing I clicked on! I learn something every time I come to this blog. Thanks Steve!

8:10 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Rob Funk said...

Welcome back Steve! I missed ya!

I never minded the long posts (liked 'em, in fact), but can certainly understand wanting to keep it shorter now.

And I thank you greatly for both your Emacs writings and your NBL thoughts (which may have saved me from a career of writing PHP or Perl while pining for Ruby jobs).

A tip: the best way to ignore the Reddit haters is to avoid Reddit entirely.

8:11 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger David Clark said...

Your blog is without a doubt the best programming blog in the universe. I give it a 3.14 x 10^6 approval rating.

Seriously though, I'm glad you are back to blogging. And, I like the long blog posts. Anyone who whines about length can and should be ignored on principle. It's refreshing to see someone think deeply and take the time to express themselves, even though it may result in long blog posts.

8:17 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger James Baker said...

Yay, welcome back! Dave Barry had a great style.

8:24 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger yehnan said...

Glad to see you again.

8:29 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nope. Haven't quite forgotten you :)

8:45 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Welcome back, Steve.

8:51 AM, July 15, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so awesome that you're back.

Your posts are at least 43% more readable than TimeCube dude but his stuff makes for awesome Markov generator input:

hour days within
that Cubic measure of China upon Nature.
rip off the dumb-
Opposite Creation based on Earth.
Jew as a 4th corner head has ever exist.
singularity is composed of singularity idiot who did he is hate for Cubic and indoctrinate
and The Wisest Human
NO God is to 4 Days rotating daily.
an evil belief.
singularity and will
in a wildfire. The primary purpose for both Sun to a Spiraling 4 corners of Opposites - cancelling
mind to kill

9:00 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Dan Lewis said...

I get this thing about gaming. I've spent huge chunks of time on, eg, Team Fortress 2.

Should I feel guilty? Or is everyone who doesn't have Steam installed on their computer a 21st century Philistine, like Roger Ebert before his change of heart?

This is hard to explain to my wife, who plays certain games, but doesn't out and out love them like me.

I'm a well-rounded person. I'm a good parent, I like making music and reading and programming the text editor. But the thing I get guilt trips for, from myself and others, is the gaming.

9:05 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Andrés Freyría said...

So, what is your new guitar repertoire? I'm in need of new tunes that don't bend fingers.

9:06 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Jason said...

Yay! Stevey's back!

As for the hands I know there is a company that makes foot pedals for your control and alt keys. (I think it was kenisis.) Might prevent you from having to do all of that emacs gymnastics trying to hold dow 5 keys at once. :)

9:14 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger john-amos said...

Steve Yegge, you're my hero! I want to be just like you when I grow up (except for the hand thing). You have great insights and today's post made me laugh out loud twice.

9:16 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger bl4ckw4t3r said...

Your posts are one of the only things I care to read online, regardless of size, so...welcome back!

9:19 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger socialprimate said...

I've enjoyed the blog and I'm glad you're back.

In my work life I'm a neuroscientist doing work related to focal dystonia, so your story really caught my interest. I thought you might be interested to read about what's going on in the brain during your kind of experiences. Most researchers in the field agree that "overlearning" like you describe drives maladaptive changes in brain organization that manifest as the kind of movement problem that you experienced.

Here's a recent editorial overview from the journal Brain with some good clinical references:

9:25 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger s450r1 said...

Yay! Welcome back!

Just before I noticed your blog had a new post, I was just thinking how sad it was that you and _why dropped off the internet.

Now if you could just convince _why to come back...

9:30 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:35 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's great to have you back! Like wilig, I was inspired by you to improve my typing skills, learn Emacs, and learn new languages. I'm also learning Clojure right now, and can't wait to see your thoughts about it.

Question: do you think you will allow Wyvern programming in Clojure or Scala at some point?

9:37 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Daire said...

Adding my voice to the choir of welcome-backers. Congrats on the successful recuperation!

9:40 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger h0b0 said...

Nice to see you back here.

9:50 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger fogus said...

originally posted on HN, but felt it was worth sharing here also

I've had my fair share of code reviews, so I had always assumed that I was adapted to criticism. However, in the process of writing a book I've discovered a whole new level of frustration. To be fair, there have been mistakes put down on the page and I fully expect that they be criticized. However, as soon as the face-to-face aspect of criticism is eliminated people lose their damn minds. I imagine 50 years ago there were boundless trolls writing their screeds to local newspapers. However, thanks to the Internet those guys have no barrier preventing their vitriol. As much as you try to avoid letting it bother you, the constant barrage is exhausting. I can't even imagine what it must be like for someone of Yegge or pg's readership.

As a teen I worked at a record shop. 99% of all customers were nice, courteous, or at worst disregarded my existence. However, a single dickweed was all it took to ruin your whole day.

Welcome back Steve. For once the dickweeds have been thwarted.

10:09 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Luke said...

I can't tell you how glad I am you're back. Your blog was highly formative for my early programming days, and actually inspired me to learn Lisp, which cumulated in writing a book on Clojure:

Let me know if you want a complimentary copy, I've got several extras.

10:20 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger John Wells said...

Glad you're back!

10:28 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Paul Hobbs said...

I'm so glad you're back! I can't wait to read your new blog posts.

Also, clojure is indeed great =]

By the way, have you considered using speech recognition software? John Ousterhout, the creator of Tcl, has had to deal with a really bad case:

10:33 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Ax said...

Has it been a year already? Glad to see you back, Steve.

10:41 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Jared said...

If haters gotta hate, fanboys have to fawn. It's great to see you posting again. Welcome back.

10:48 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger eidolarr said...

I have only read your posts in retrospect, but by far the most helpful of them was effective-emacs. At the end you left a list of some 20 or so more tips you planned to flesh out later. Will you revisit effective-emacs, with your new shortcuts as a bonus?

11:46 AM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Pepe Iborra said...

Clojure was just Yegged !!
Welcome back

12:06 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Abhijeet Mahule said...

Great to have you back buddy! Missed you for too long. Let the creative juices flow and have us enjoy your awesome posts...

12:28 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Tom said...

Hey, it's great you're back!

12:33 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Welcome back. You have been missed.

12:59 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Scott Graham said...

Sorry to hear about your injury, do take care.

Can't avoid posting a link to some classic Dave Barry though :)

Q. Please explain the expression: ``This does not bode well.''
A. It means that something is not boding the way it should. It could be boding better.

1:23 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Nadathur Srinivasan Ajay Kumar said...

welcome back! We missed you :)

3:04 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Jorge Mendes said...

Still reading time after time the insightful «The Universal Design Pattern» and many others. The longer the better.

Bring on Clojure, it rhymes with future!

3:20 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Ruben Berenguel said...

Glad to see you are ok again... Now I know what to do if my hand aches... Relax! It can be worse and then better.

3:33 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Thras said...

Never had trouble with my hand after Etude #1. But I use vim.

3:47 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Gavin said...

Because, you know, you're worth it.

3:56 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger 米国人 said...

Welcome back, Stevie! I'd definitely give this post a solid “66%” approval rating. :)

But now what the hell am I gonna do with the next 50 minutes? (I usually budget about an hour for a Stevie blog post, heh)

4:00 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger BlackTigerX said...

like... oh wait, you're still on RT... oh whatever, welcome back

4:08 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Matt Campbell said...

I'm glad you're back to blogging! I'm also looking forward to those final two "Programmer's view of the universe" posts; your short story "The Death of Richard Dawkins" presented some intriguing ideas. But I'll be patient.

6:14 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Loki said...

Just a thought, but perhaps the fan/hate mail tapered off so much because your email is no longer displayed on your profile.

6:51 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger .....according to fletch said...

you'd have to be happy with all those warm & fuzzy comments...I guess i'm happy for you with your optimum blood pressure and improved life expectancy but I suspect I'd have liked you even more before.

8:13 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

I and so glad I didn't remove you when you retired from blogging. Welcome back! You've made my day. Thank you.

8:29 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

so great to know you're back!

when are we going to see you playing the guitar on youtube? :)

all the best!

8:47 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Mike Weller said...

I always liked the length of your posts. Just because lots of people complained doesn't make them the majority.

11:40 PM, July 15, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back Steve , I really missed your rants :)

1:18 AM, July 16, 2010  
Blogger Manrico Corazzi said...

Welcome back. And thanks for your advice about Trigger Finger and guitar practice (not that I'm getting near TOO MUCH of it, anyway)

3:16 AM, July 16, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...


So great to see you writing again. Keep the posts coming and forget the haters.

4:17 AM, July 16, 2010  
Blogger Emphyrio said...

I like your long posts. If someone else's typical blog post is like a slice of whole wheat toast, one of your posts is like a dozen Bavarian cream donuts, only non-caloric.

As for the people who don't like long posts, well, it reminds me of the story about the English academic who posted a sign in his yard saying "Cave Canem" in order to deter burglars. When someone pointed out that many burglars would not understand the Latin, the academic replied, "Then they are not the sort of burglars we want, are they?"

6:21 AM, July 16, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

A quick thought about haters, in t-shirt form.

10:45 AM, July 16, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Welcome back! I always enjoy your posts. Once or twice they have even been educational.

I nearly killed my hands chording. Not to the surgery level, thank God, but I still have to be careful. Doesn't Emacs involve a lot of chords? You might want to be careful with those.

ps. How much for one of those brightly-coloured caskets?

10:47 AM, July 16, 2010  
Blogger Félix Trépanier said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:25 PM, July 16, 2010  
Blogger Félix Trépanier said...

I had almost given up glad you are back!

6:28 PM, July 16, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Did you stick with the Mac?

10:02 AM, July 17, 2010  
Blogger lahosken said...

"trying way too hard to change the world via blogging"

Don't worry, there are still plenty of other ways to change the world. Meanwhile, welcome back.

10:57 AM, July 17, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Despite what you might think, Steve, you _have_ changed the world via blogging, and, you _have_ changed the way some people think about certain aspects of our field.

In terms of thoughtful posts about programming and the life of programmers, the internet became less interesting when you stopped blogging.

Forget the tl;dnr crowd! Blog on!

12:03 PM, July 17, 2010  
Blogger Rahi Jain said...

Great to see you back... I enjoy reading your long posts.

I used to regular look at your feed in my reader, hoping you would start. Finally you did....

waiting for some coding paradigm unraveled in next(long) post.

12:55 PM, July 17, 2010  
Blogger Capt. Jean-Luc Pikachu said...

Welcome back!

6:49 PM, July 17, 2010  
Blogger BB Nadia said...

I've enjoyed the blog.Thank.

3:40 AM, July 18, 2010  
Blogger thelittlelisper said...


You mentioned you thought you should stop trying to change the world via blogging.

But surely the existence of Clojure is evidence that it is working!!!

Steve - please blog some more - you're changing the world!

If that isn't reason enough - then read this:


4:24 AM, July 18, 2010  
Blogger Aristotle said...

You haven't really changed. That was one incredibly long build-up to the bomb in the very last word.

Welcome back.

6:19 AM, July 18, 2010  
Blogger an0 said...

Welcome back

8:46 PM, July 18, 2010  
Blogger Aravind said...

Welcome back, Steve. Like Paul Hobbs suggested, you could try some speech recognition software, but it needs to constantly update its vocabulary of words to catch up with you :-)

9:19 PM, July 18, 2010  
Blogger Dethe Elza said...

I don't hate you, Steve, but when I took time out of my work and hobbies and playing with my kids to try to help you when you asked for some help, and you flamed me for my trouble like I've never been flamed before, it definitely took a lot of my enjoyment out of your writing.

Glad your hand is feeling better.

12:58 PM, July 19, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Why they said your posts are long?, I mean, you've got more words in comments than in the real post (didn't count really). For me it is like a good book, you don't want it to end. By far the best part of my day was reading you again. Keep it up. Oh Ah, really sorry on your Trigger finger matter, hope it doesn't slow you down.

1:00 PM, July 19, 2010  
Blogger Dylan said...

Umm... Those guys, +1

Seriously though, it's great to hear you've decided to return to blogging, but even better that you've almost got your hand back to normal. I can only just imagine what a burden being unable to use both hands must've been to you as a musician, a blogger and a software developer.

4:35 PM, July 19, 2010  
Blogger gws said...

@Sean Crawford
re: Dvorak

I first learned to type on Dvorak because of claims it's faster. Niether 'real' studies nor my own experience have definitively confirmed this, but I used to get stiff/sore/tingly hands from typing a lot^H^H^H^H^Htoo much, and now I don't. YMMV, but it sure works for me.

11:15 PM, July 19, 2010  
Blogger gildedchute said...

This remark about "Compiler as a Service" reminded me immediately of your talk on marketing.

3:06 AM, July 20, 2010  
Blogger mko said...

That's a nice surprise. I just came back from a vacation and found you new blog post.

Welcome back.

12:00 PM, July 20, 2010  
Blogger Laurie Masters said...

Hey, Steve ... you don't know me, but I'm wondering if you'd be willing to write me at I work for someone who asked me to get in touch with you based on your 5/29/06 "Manager's Secret Sauce" post. I'll say more offline.
--Laurie Masters, freelance editor
Precision Revision

4:51 PM, July 22, 2010  
Blogger Russell said...

On the haters thing - this is a thought-provoking essay by Paul Graham:

Summary: we probably only have one highest priority subject of thought at any one time. Make sure it's the one you want.

10:44 PM, July 22, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am so glad you're back! Damn. I laughed out loud for almost a minute over that piece about the needle.
I really missed you.

Don't hold back on the long posts (unless you really really really want to). Don't align yourself with how the rest of the internet behaves, there are still people out here that can focus for more than 180 seconds.

3:04 PM, July 23, 2010  
Blogger ska said...


1. I really appreciate you're being back. When to my astonishment I found a new blog-post in my browser I immediately went to fetch a(nother) coffee to be well prepared for the expected long blog post. Don't make 'em shorter.

2. Since two fellow authors on Clojure books already came along to say hello, please let me add that here is another author speaking. I came to Clojure by reading about it here and over at Bill Clementson's blog. I'm looking forward to read about your thoughts about Clojure.

3. Forget the guitar, take a bass-guitar. ;-)


4:16 PM, July 23, 2010  
Blogger akshaya said...

welcome back steve

1:05 AM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger Sean Crawford said...

If humorist Dave Barry has shorter prose it is because such is the nature of comedy, just as comedy TV is shorter. Milton Berle said that a comedy show could only be a half hour: to go any longer required a variety show.

Berle was big in the days of black and white TV, but since his time I have seen no one hour situation comedies. And when I read prose aloud I have to read at a fast or normal speed: any slower kills the comedy.

For me it would be the opposite of comic if someone gifted thought he had to write short.

7:05 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger Tim van der Leeuw said...

Well Stevey it's great to see you back to blogging! Count me among the 'lovers' (as opposite from haters) -- I've always greatly enjoyed all your blog posts, long & short.

The first one I read was "Execution in the Kingdom of Nouns". After that, I started browsing through all your blogs, old & new, and quite regretted it when you stopped... So yeah, definitely glad to read from you again!

Enjoy life, enjoy blogging, and don't let them get to you :-)

5:26 AM, July 26, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit late to the party, but you've been missed! :)

12:00 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Olie said...

Btw, I forget if I told you or not: Great to have you back posting. Missed your posts terribly.

Regardless of agree or not, bullshit or deep-philosophy, a Stevie blog post always improves my week.

Thanks! :)

5:36 PM, July 27, 2010  
Blogger alang said...

I did the hand surgery thing too, end of last year, for a broken thumb. God it knocked me around, and while recovering I ended up playing a computer game for great chunks of time, something I almost never do. I loved sneaking around Venice.

9:25 PM, July 28, 2010  
Blogger Ron Mitchell said...

Welcome back!

I kept your RSS button on my bookmarks toolbar and kept hopefully clicking from time to time. Couldn't believe it when I saw the new post; made my day.

3:09 PM, July 29, 2010  
Blogger John Fries said...

1) Great to hear you blogging again. I find that when you stop feeding the haters for awhile, sometimes they just shrivel up and die (remember that Scala dude who kept calling you Steve? I don't either...)

2) Also, I'm sorry to hear about your bout with trigger finger. Now might be a good time to switch to a Kinesis keyboard, if you haven't already.

3) Is clojure the NBL?

2:33 PM, August 04, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:59 PM, August 12, 2010  
Blogger Charlie Flowers said...

"the way a knife appears in a bar fight" ... that's an unbelievably good simile. I'm jealous.

10:58 PM, August 17, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

If you're still having problems with that hand, I would strongly recommend the DataHand. While the price (around $995 when I last checked) is steep, it's well worth it if you type a lot and have hand injuries. Ergonomic keyboards don't come close.

It's a shame that most wouldn't consider using such a device because of the price.

6:52 AM, August 27, 2010  
Blogger reine said...

Greatest mix I know of humor/tech/life/fun/prog, and the rest. Your are precious to me cause, with your kind of humor, you gave me understanding of concepts/functions I would barely have grasped elsewhere, and I'have often Rolled On My Bed Laughing,( ROMBL!). Long, good life and keep on trucking. Reine from France.

3:04 PM, September 08, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Steve, this post is golden. I laughed, I... didn't cry, but I definitely laughed.

Very entertaining. Hope to see more in the near future. :)

5:55 AM, December 01, 2010  
Blogger hankie said...

You did change the world. Glad you're back!

9:50 PM, December 23, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well past the post-date, but have you ever considered trying an alternative keyboard? I use a kinesis advantage with ctrl accessible with both thumbs as well as well as the foot pedal and it helps a lot when working in emacs

12:20 AM, April 07, 2011  
Blogger Shredder said...

It's great that your surgery got 95% approval rating. I'm sure it will rise to 100% if you bind the most frequently used functions to the F-keys in Emacs. This keeps the key strokes short and in "inconvenient" positions, so that you have to slow down and rest your hands ;-)

12:49 AM, April 26, 2011  
Blogger renier said...

I stumbled on your blog via the effective-emacs post after starting to use emacs... and the thought that went through my head was, damn this guys hands must hurt like hell.

I started my emacs career via Xah Lee's "ErgoEmacs" which basically boils down to remapping the key combinations based on the amount of function usage.

Sure, some things might break, and it could be difficult to learn because you are used to the way things are currently done, but the amount of acrobatics is drastically reduced.

1:01 AM, May 05, 2011  
Blogger javin paul said...

I came across your blog from your phone interview site just wanted to thank for for putting such a fabulous resource.

10:24 PM, June 18, 2011  
Blogger B-Con said...

I started reading your entries from the most recent, and after the first two I thought, "This guy has some of Dave Barry's style."

He's one of my heroes too. I love his writing.

Good job. :-)

8:19 PM, July 22, 2011  

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