Check, Show, and Do

I live in a world of technology. We all do, but mine’s a bit deeper than yours, probably. I’m often drowning in the stuff.

When technology started, it was simpler and deeper. Now there’s a statement that’ll probably get me flamed.

But things changed over the years. Early on, it was about discovering magic and creating social movement around a new way of doing things.

Oh, but I guess that’s still the same.

Still, something seems different. It seems like there must have been a time when you could sink deep into a technical problem without simply drowning in stuff that really isn’t very important.

But that’s probably not true. It’s nice, sometimes, to think of the past world romantically as a place where contention with persnickety people and machines just hadn’t been invented yet. To think of today’s difficulties as being somehow new, unique, worthy of new ways of solving them.

The old adage about having learned everything important during kindergarten gives us a good lesson – we can learn new techno-gizardry, but none of it is actually particularly new. Still, it seems to help to have new ways of looking at things – ways that seem to help us grapple with today’s not-so-new problems in ways that make sense in today’s not-particularly-inventive-or-new world.

When looking at a technical system (from a technical point-of-view), there are only three things that matter. (Do you like my reductionism?)

Check. Show. Do.

Check what the system is doing versus what it should be doing. Show what the system’s current state or configuration is. Do something to change something about the system.

That’s really just a (not-so-new) way of saying, “Take your time and pay attention to what’s happening. Think about the darned system and it’s problems.”

In other words, give it all at least as much care as you do yourself when you brush your teeth. If we all paid as much attention to our information and technical work as we do to brushing our teeth, we’d get better results and more enjoyment out of the whole thing.

But who has time for that?