It’s now late October, the clocks have gone back an hour to GMT. In Scotland the nights are fair drawin’ in—it is getting dark earlier. All the more important then to make sure I look after my sleep hygiene.
For the last 14 years I have been working mostly sitting in front of a PC. I’m also a bit of a geek so I find myself sitting in front of a PC even when I’m not being paid to do so.
For years I found it hard to get to sleep at night. It turns out that staring at computer monitor for hours is not great for your sleep. The blue light emitted by a screen affects our attention, reaction times and mood (Source) and, crucially, our sleep.
In 2009, I discovered an application called F.lux that detects where you are in the world and automatically adjusts the screen colour temperature to gradually remove the blue as the sun is setting.
“An engineer who writes code should also write essays.
“Software engineers should write because it promotes many of the same skills required in programming. A core skill in both disciplines is an ability to think clearly. The best software engineers are great writers because their prose is as logical and elegant as their code.
“[…] Even if nobody reads your essay, writing it will make an impact on you. It will clarify your opinion on a topic and strengthen– or even weaken– your beliefs. The process alone of putting jumbled thoughts into concrete words is valuable.”
It’s a very good essay with a very compelling argument.
At high school I ‘failed’ my English higher the first time round; I actually got a D pass but the school felt that I could do better. They were right: I sat it again in sixth year and got a C.
It wasn’t until I went to university and studied Hebrew that I really began to understand language better. After that I went back to English and read numerous books about syntax, and grammar and punctuation. And I read widely.
I read well-written books and articles and journals. As I read them I stopped to consider why they had been written that way. I questioned why certain words has been used: what effect did they have. I analysed sentence structure. And I observed how simple the best writing was.
And I wrote. I wrote a journal—I still do. And a blog (this one). And a book, which was published in 2007. I’m currently, and slowly, writing another.
Writing helps me to clarify my thoughts. It helps me to express myself better. And if any of it helps someone else, or makes them laugh, or look at something from a different perspective then that’s a bonus.
I suspect that it does also help me write better code. And at the very least: better comments.