Python for air traffic control?

Alex Martelli aleaxit at
Thu Jul 5 08:10:58 EDT 2001

"Delaney, Timothy" <tdelaney at> wrote in message
news:mailman.994291089.9857.python-list at
> > But the best & highest-motivated guru can only do so much if
> > hampered by too-heavy process, inadequate tools, &c.  And one
> > can't always choose (client needs given process and tools, but
> This bit I agree with wholeheartedly

Who wouldn't?-)

> > motivation is high anyway e.g. because of VERY good $$ bonus...
> > that still doesn't give the same productivity as when process
> > and tools are optimally chosen).
> And this I don't.

Maybe I didn't express myself well then!  (Or maybe different
people have different motivations:-).

> I've found that I've rarely been motivated to perform well in a project
> based on the $$$ I was to receive for it (when I was a contractor). Once I
> accepted how many $$$ I was getting, that was the end of it (after that,

I'm talking of a _bonus_ -- in the conditional sense of the word; $$$
you aren't going to get unless (insert acceptance criteria here that
are related to quality, performance, timeliness, &c, of the product).

> money is uninteresting and indeed annoying because you have to chase it).

Most people find money interesting _indirectly_ -- for what you can
get by SPENDING it, rather than in and by itself.  In my case, I have
more money than I can spend (with my reasonably-frugal lifestyle), but
it's a family thing -- in a few centuries' of recorded family history,
there's a very clear family-memory of who gave a positive net
contribution to the family's fortunes, and who left the coffers
emptier than they found it -- and I know what side of the ledger
I want to be in when some distant descendant thinks about me in
a few more centuries' time.

Of course it's not JUST money -- one of my great-grandfathers was
a painter, and now that they've restored some of the decoration work
he did a bit more than a century ago in some of Bologna's prettiest
public arcades, I do particularly enjoy going to sit at a cafe there
and slowly sipping a good dry martini while enjoying greatgrandpa's
handiwork on the ceilings -- even though he WAS a rake, and wasted
quite a bundle of money chasing after chanteuses and buying them
jewels &c [they didn't call it "Belle Epoque" for nothing:-)].  But
I doubt any of my actual _work_ will be around for great-grandkids
to admire a century from now, so...:-).

> etc) then I tend to work better. Note: casual clothes is not an option - I
> have *never* worn a tie or trousers in my professional career, and I never

Can't say that myself, since I spent so many years at IBM (but mostly
IBM _Research_, so I stuck out a lot with silk suits & ties -- so call
it a personal quirk:-).  But these days I've changed style...

> will. The most formal I've gone to is to wear a button-up shirt at one
> place, but that won't happen again. Unfortunately, I've yet to find a
> that will let me work in boxer shorts like I do at home ... :)

They wouldn't raise eyebrows here (well, not in the summer -- it
DOES get cold in Bologna in winters!-).

Anyway, my point (money & clothing aside) was intended to be a
pre-emptive move to show one CAN still (sometimes) be highly
motivated DESPITE having to use a too-heavy process and tools
that are far from optimal!-)  Thus separating to some extent
the three classes of factors (that do interplay quite a bit):
    -- individual skill, knowledge, &c
    -- motivational factors (money, project-interest, whatever)
    -- quality of environment/tools (process, language, &c)
I think the magic spot is hit when ALL THREE factors are big
plus, and THEN productivity can soar to crazy heights.

Pity (an aside...) that when we estimate delivery times we
seem to tend to BET on optimal spots for everything & 1/2...:-).


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