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The #1 Programmer Excuse for Legitimately Slacking Off

Today I came across a comic that I just had to share. The fact that it’s too true too often is what makes it funny. The part that’s sad is that it doesn’t need to be.


In today’s day and age, where PC’s are now pretty much commodities, most software shops shouldn’t be able to use hardware costs as an excuse. Hardware is just so cheap in comparison to developer costs. Get a faster CPU, get more CPUs (maybe you do need a quad rather than just a duo). Get more RAM, it’s cheap. Get a high-end hard drive, that alone could double your performance. Get two drives and make a RAID-0 drive to increase the performance. SSD (Solid State Drives) are even affordable now and can significantly increase your performance. Spend the money it’s worth it.

If nothing else, calculate the lost time compiling, starting a server, whatever. Even if it’s just the difference of seconds, those can quickly add up. But when the difference can be calculated in minutes then you really have a case to upgrade your hardware. On top of the time wasted waiting while your box is trashing at full throttle, there’s also the time lost trying to get back into the groove of things, of remembering your train of thought. It quickly adds up and can make the difference between a successful and non-successful project.

And I haven’t even started talking about the advantages of larger monitors!

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  •     Andy Brice
    · August 16th, 2007  · 4:17 am  · Permalink

    I would recommend RAID-1 (mirrored) rather than RAID-0 (striped). RAID-0 may increase performance, but it also increases the chance of losing data from disk failure, and that can be very time consuming to fix.

  •     Steph
    · August 16th, 2007  · 9:52 am  · Permalink

    Hi Andy,

    To be honest, I use both on my box. My C: drive is a RAID-0 system (continually imaged each week in case of failure), and my Data drive (for me it’s K:) is a RAID-1 system. But if you only used RAID-0, as long as you have a backup and quick recovery mechanism, it’s often worth it. As your only personal PC for your home then it’s definitely not a good option. But as a developer box, the cost of recovery is often worth the benefits. Especially if you get into some heavy enterprise applications 😉

    In addition to this, mostly because I’ve experience too many drive failures in the past, everything that’s critical is backed up to an external drive for all machines. We also have a dedicated backup computer that’s got a large RAID-1 system. It’s worth every penny if you have to use it just once.

    In addition to this, we also have an external drive which stores another copy at another location (another part of town). This way should something happen to the building where the computers are stored, then it’s a quick recovery.

    And as if that isn’t enough, we also pay for a service which remotely backs up our critical data at some remote location online. This last part is mainly for things like the code repository, etc.

    For those of you interested, I wrote an article a while back on how to increase your odds of a successful recovery from a disk failure here. For a drive failure, you can’t know how true the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” until you experience one (or many).

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