OT: productivity and long computing delays

Paul Rubin http
Thu Sep 28 02:08:30 CEST 2006

beliavsky at aol.com writes:
> Two hours is a long time! Maybe it takes a programmer 10 minutes to get
> his mind focused on a new project, but that still leaves 110 productive
> minutes. I think many programmers in corporate environments would
> regard 2-hour blocks as luxuries. I have wondered the same thing as you
> (how to be productive during "gaps"), but in situations where I am
> often waiting a minute for a program to compile or run, not hours. I
> suggest immersing yourself in the second project during 2-hour gaps.

Yeah, I don't multitask very well, unfortunately.  I think this
specific situation is a little bit more frustrating than usual,
because I don't really have a second project of nearly such priority,
but I can't just go to the beach or something while these builds are
running.  Also, I'm not exactly trying to develop code for this task
(i.e. implement a new subsystem involving writing a lot).  Rather, I'm
trying to make some small changes to a complex existing program, which
means I make a few small edits, then end up having to rebuild, and
take this huge delay before I can find the next bug, and by then I've
lost all my context.  I'm in somewhat of a hurry to finish this, but
I'm slowed down a lot by all these rebuilds.  The 2 hour builds are
actually a big improvement since I chopped out some subsystems that
were taking a lot longer.  There's another issue too, which is that
the codebase keeps changing as other people check stuff in, so by the
time I've gotten done testing my stuff, I have to sync up and test
some more, etc.

I suppose I'm mostly just blowing off steam by posting about this.  I
do think I might buy a Turion X2 1.6 ghz machine soon, which should be
about 2.5x faster than what I'm using right now.

Anyway, my build just finished so I better get back to it ;-).  But I
think the overall task is about done, unless there's another bug.

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