Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

10 Dec 2011, 0:17 a.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2011 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

From some recent explanations of software stuff to nontechnical folks:

Suites like Windows/IIS or LAMP go together the way everything at IKEA matches anything else you buy at IKEA.

Source control is like a wiki.

Virtualization is like Inception.

The IPv4 address shortage, and the switch to IPv6, is like when they had to make new US area codes when we were running out of phone numbers.

Using an interpreted language is like a conversation over instant messenger; compiled languages act more like correspondence over email.

Architecting up-front (waterfall) is good for when you are pretty sure what you want, as when you are hungry and want lunch. You have been hungry many times before and know food in lunch form will work to fix this. You do not need to reimagine the nature of food, hunger, and digestion.

We want people to make stuff that works with our API the way that Apple likes people making iPod accessories.

A database is like a library.

Working on software with other people is like living in a house together. Making your changes in trunk is like moving the shoes from the foyer to the hall closet a little at a time, and (during the changeover) leaving a few pairs out where your housemates will trip over them. In contrast, saving your changes in a branch to merge later, when your change is complete, is like moving all the shoes at once. (Better explanation.)

I beseech you: if you are going to nitpick these, please be funny.


10 Dec 2011, 10:36 a.m.

Your beseeching applies to everything in life.

11 Dec 2011, 0:40 a.m.

I feel like there's the potential for some kind of Ikea lamp assembly joke in the first one, maybe. I suppose that if you're trying to talk someone into leaving LAMP for some other suite, you could tell them that it has no feelings, and the new one is much better.

Speaking of which, have you heard of Ikea Heights, the soap opera shot in a Berkeley Ikea, without the store's knowledge? (Or later on, with the store's knowledge but without its consent.)

11 Dec 2011, 7:16 a.m.

OMG, how did I miss the IKEA lamp joke!

No I had NOT heard of Ikea Heights. Will have to watch!

11 Dec 2011, 9:59 a.m.

Leonard and I just watched the first two episodes of IKEA Heights. "This is a land of convenience and murder." SO GREAT.